It’s starting to feel less and less likely that even the earliest of adopters will have a chance to get one of the big PC-based virtual reality devices in their home before the end of the year
HTC, the Taiwanese hardware manufacturer, is staying quiet about its Vive SteamVR device. It hasn’t shared anything new about the motion-tracking head-mounted display since revealing in August that it needed to delay the full consumer release into 2016. But at that time, the company did not slam the door on 2015 completely. HTC and its partner, Valve, which is responsible for much of the technology powering the Vive, said that they would have a “limited quantity” of Vive devices for sale “later this year.” When we asked for an update about those units, HTC said it had nothing new to share. We’ve also asked Valve for a comment, but it has not provided a response.
But time is running out on 2015, so what’s the deal? As a reminder, here is what HTC and Valve said in August via a spokesperson:
“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.”
Clearly, developers are already getting the Vive. You can see plenty of unboxing videos and posts on Reddit about the device from game-making studios.
It’s not surprising that developers are getting systems. They need them to start producing software. Oculus has sold Rift development kits for years. But that doesn’t explain what “community” means.
We asked HTC and Valve to define what it meant when it said it would ship community systems before the end of 2015, but we have not received an answer from either company. And the longer we go without concrete information, the more it feels like that community won’t include you and me.
You should, however, expect more info at some point in the future — a lot more. HTC has previously told GamesBeat that it won’t send out review units until it reveals the final consumer version of the Vive. And it is not saying when it will do that.
So, for now, we wait.
2016 isn’t that far away, and now HTC and Oculus VR are both promising to release their devices in the first quarter. Sony will follow up quickly with PlayStation VR in the “first half” of 2016. That’s all exciting, but the wait also makes it painful.
See you in the metaverse next year, I guess.