HTC and Valve announced today that the initial shipments of the HTC Vive VR virtual reality goggles are going to be limited, and consumer units aren’t coming until the first quarter of 2016.

That’s a setback for the fledgling virtual reality gaming market, as the HTC Vive was scheduled to be the first major commercial platform launch this November. The delay means that the launch of the Vive VR system will come right about the same time that Facebook’s Oculus Rift virtual reality platform debuts early next year.

In some ways, the delay isn’t a surprise. Valve has been exceedingly quiet about the launch, and HTC recently said it would lay off 15 percent of its work force. HTC and Valve are going to show off the Vive VR system at the PAX Prime gaming culture convention in Seattle, which begins today and runs through Sunday. Titles under development include Fantastic Contraption from Radial Games & Northway Games and Final Approach from Phaser Lock Interactive.

The Vive VR system, based on Valve’s Steam VR technology, is one of the best VR systems I’ve tried. It features outstanding visuals, room-based tracking and movement, and dedicated VR controllers for precision input.

Valve said in a statement that the initial shipments of the Vive developer kits will be limited. About 10,000 developer kit inquiries have been received, and more than 80 VR titles are in production for the Vive.

“Later this year, HTC will offer the first commercial Vive units via a limited quantity of community and developer systems, with larger quantities shipping in calendar Q1 2016,” Valve said in a statement.


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