HTC has discounted the price of its Vive VR headset by $200 to make it easier for fans to get their hands on one. From mow on, the HTC Vive VR headset will be available for just $600. Although this is still $100 more than the Rift/Touch kit, at least the Vive headset has become somewhat more affordable now.
Why a price drop now?
Vive U.S. general manager Dan O’Brien said, “We want to really significantly boost VR adoption now across the globe.” Referring to the Vive’s upcoming second holiday season, the executive said, “We think now is the right time to reset the price.”
O’Brien noted that HTC has made improvements in various areas, such as the cable system. However, O’Brien states that various upgrades, such as the motion controllers, will not be available anytime soon. These motion controllers are still in the prototype stage, O’Brien said, adding that work on the consumer version is still underway.
Rikard Steiber, president of Viveport, told Polygon that the price cut will make the Vive VR headset more affordable and attractive to consumers and businesses and will be a major booster entering the holiday season. Steiber also made it clear that this discount has nothing to do with the Oculus Rift price cut; rather, the idea was to make high-end VR affordable for everyone. To reach the masses, Steiber thinks there are various factors that should be worked upon, one of them being the price.
“That’s been the plan all along. I think it’s good that other players in the market are making similar moves.”
Since its debut, this is the first time HTC has reduced the price of the headset, suggesting that customers were not interested enough in the VR headset yet. Just a few days ago, Facebook also dropped the price of the Oculus Rift in the wake of sluggish sales and shut down hundreds of pop-up demo stations at Best Buy Stores.
Big tech companies are not willing to disclose VR sales numbers entirely. Although Samsung did mention that it shipped over 5 million Gear VR headsets, there is no breakdown of how many standalone units were sold compared to those offered free with Samsung Galaxy phones. Google Daydream is also available at a discount, notes CNET.
Is the HTC Vive VR headset better?
At the beginning of the year, both Oculus and HTC offered their flagship VR headsets and motion controllers for approximately $800, but after the recent discounts, the Oculus Rift is now available for $399, almost half of the debut price. After Oculus’ summer sale ends, the Rift will be available for $499, which is still $100 cheaper than the Vive.
HTC has long maintained that the Vive VR headset offers a better experience than Rift, but third-party insight suggests that the two are more or less similar on the hardware front. Therefore, the HTC Vive VR headset has been struggling to justify its higher price versus its competitor, notes TechCrunch.
Nevertheless, HTC has chosen the right time to cut the price, just ahead of two major Vive exclusive titles: Bethesda: Doom VFR and Fallout 4 VR. There are various other titles in the pipeline, but the long-awaited Valve or Steam announcements are yet to come. HTC has been recommending its $7 per month Viveport subscription service, which new buyers can try free for a one-month trial.