HTC's Vive VR headset is officially becoming a consummate ecosystem with today's announcement of the HTC Vive Tracker and HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap, and is becoming more affordable upfront with new financing options. Both accessories have found themselves teased or leaked online in some form or another over the past few months, and will soon find themselves available to developers and consumers through HTC. The Deluxe Audio Strap is set to become available for pre-order in May and begin delivery in June, with a price tag of $99. The HTC Vive Tracker will sport the same price tag, and will be available to developers beginning on March 27. A promised wireless dongle for the headset will be dropping later in the year. As for Vive Financing, it will be available immediately to US and Chinese consumers on 3, 6, and 24 month terms.
The HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap is a bit more than just another pair of VR-friendly headphones; it's a specially built strap for the HTC Vive with the headphones built right in. This means that the headphones share the Vive's connection to the action, rather than relying on a separate 3.5 millimeter jack, USB connection, or Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, making for much smoother audio. HTC did not mention much about the quality of the headphones themselves in the press release, but did note that the new strap features a quick size adjustment dial for comfort, and will be packed in with all future purchases of the Vive Business Edition kit. Consumers will have to buy it separately, unless HTC outs a deluxe bundle in the near future.
The HTC Vive Tracker is aimed at developers, rather than consumers, and allows an extremely easy way to motion-capture a given object; simply stick the small tracker onto the object in question. This beats current solutions like specifically tracking the object with the Vive's cameras or building a tracker by miles, and since the tracker is reusable, can help with development across a number of objects to be captured. HTC has had an application program going for the first run of trackers for a while now, and of the 2,600 odd applications received for the first 1,000 units, about 60% of the applicants have had non-gaming purposes in mind, showing the versatility of VR as a medium, and the potential of HTC's new Vive Tracker.