First the bad news, Steam/HTC Vive virtual reality systems are in fact delayed. Pre-retail units for the new VR entertainment systems were originally meant to start shipping before this holiday season. The shipping schedules have all been pushed back. With certain units shipping early 2016 and full retail launch by April 2016. However instead of being disappointed for missing this deadline, HTC is assuring everyone, that this wait will be well worth it.
At Vive’s Unbound conference CEO Cher Wang stated that the delay is due to a “a very, very big technological breakthrough”. It appears both Valve and HTC’s design teams discovered this breakthrough together and are rushing to include it in their SteamVR/Vive product lines. Final images of the hardware suggests that the motion controllers have undergone significant changes, which could indicate a smoother input performance for gamers.
Pricing is another aspect still shrouded in mystery. This is a complete system for PC gamers, helmet and two motion controllers with object tracking, meaning it will be pricier than other headgear devices. Early 2016 is already shaping up to be a hardware defining year for PC gamers. Valve’s solutions could prove dominating in the months to come. With relatively inexpensive Steam machines, SteamVR, Steam Link, the versatile Steam controller, and the already PC dominating Steam platform; 2016 could be a year in which the term “next generation” goes beyond simple resolution improvements and instead brings true leaps in immersive gaming.