An HTC Vive head-mounted display with a camera near the bottom rim; two wireless handheld controllers; and two 'Lighthouse' basestations
|Type||Virtual reality headset for room scale virtual reality|
|Release date||5 April 2016|
|Manufacturer||HTC, with technology by Valve Corporation|
|Display technology||PenTile OLED|
|Resolution||2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)|
|Refresh rate||90 Hz|
|Field of view (Nominal)||About 110 degrees|
|Tracking system||Lighthouse (2 base stations emitting pulsed IR lasers)|
|Weight||470 grams (previously 555 grams)|
|Platform/operating system||SteamVR running on Microsoft Windows in addition to Linux support, with macOS support coming|
|Connection||1× HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 and 1× USB 3.0|
|Controller input||SteamVR wireless motion tracked controllers|
|Camera||Front-facing camera - enabling users to view the external world and a key component of the devices 'chaperone' safety system.|
The HTC Vive is a virtual reality headset developed by HTC and Valve Corporation. The headset uses "room scale" tracking technology, allowing the user to move in 3D space and use motion-tracked handheld controllers to interact with the environment.
The HTC Vive was unveiled during HTC's Mobile World Congress keynote in March 2015. Development kits were sent out in August and September 2015, and the first Consumer version of the device was released on April 5th, 2016.
Prototypes of a Valve-produced virtual reality system were demonstrated during 2014. On 23 February 2015, Valve announced SteamVR and that it would demonstrate a "SteamVR hardware system" at the 2015 Game Developers Conference. HTC officially unveiled its device, Vive, during its Mobile World Congress keynote on 1 March 2015. Preorders started on 29 February 2016 at 10:00 a.m. EST. Valve and HTC have since announced that the headset will be free for selected developers.
It has since been announced that SteamVR 2.0 will feature smaller more efficient lighthouses, new controllers, higher-quality displays and a smaller and lighter wireless headset.
During his Immersed 2015 keynote, Phil Chen, Chief Content Officer for HTC and Founder of the HTC Vive explained that he "stumbled upon VR" and later HTC met Valve, which turned out to be "serendipity". Chen also explained that HTC and Valve don't have a clear dividing line between each of their responsibilities, and HTC is very much a partner in the research and development process.
At Google I/O in May 2017, Google announced a new, all in-built 'Standalone VR' system that would be made by the Vive team and also by Lenovo.. Whilst in June 2017 Valve revealed details of a second variation of Vive controller which utilizes finger tracking called the Knuckles Vive controller.
The Vive has a refresh rate of 90 Hz. The device uses two screens, one per eye, each having a display resolution of 1080x1200. The headset and the controllers are covered with more than 70 infrared sensors and contain an internal gyroscope and accelerometer. Each tracked device uses these sensors in combination with two stationary "Lighthouse" base stations to track the user's movement with sub-millimeter precision. The Lighthouses emit infrared structured light that are effective up to a 15-by-15-foot (4.6 by 4.6 m) tracking space. In terminology, it is called as "Outside-in" tracking technology, comparing to the Microsoft HoloLens which adopts the inside-out tracking.
The HTC Vive's headset also contains a front-facing camera that allows the user to observe their surroundings without removing their headset. The software can also use the camera to identify any moving or static objects in a room; this functionality can be used as part of a "Chaperone" safety system, which will automatically display a virtual wall or a feed from the camera to safely guide users from obstacles or real-world walls.
By March 2016, the time at which the pre-orders for the HTC Vive opened, 107 games were known to be coming to the virtual reality format.
In February 2017 Valve CEO Gabe Newell announced via Reddit AMA 'ask me anything' session Valve is developing three AAA VR IPs alongside the forthcoming "Knuckles" controllers.
An open source program called Revive allows for Oculus Rift games to be used with an HTC Vive. Although it has been patched out before, it came with a large public backlash that forced Facebook to reverse the decision.
Valve released its OpenVR software development kit (SDK), an updated version of its Steamworks VR API with documentation and examples of how to build software that supports SteamVR hardware. It provides support for the HTC Vive Developer Edition, including the SteamVR controller and Lighthouse.
On 30 April 2015, Epic Games announced support for Valve's SteamVR technology, allowing developers to create VR projects with Unreal Engine 4 for the HTC Vive. Epic said that SteamVR is completely integrated into Unreal Engine 4 across Blueprint visual scripting and native code, meaning projects can be built without being dependent on programmer support if needed. Epic's own Showdown tech demo can already be experienced on SteamVR using the Vive headset. jMonkeyEngine, a free cross-platform 3D engine, is also getting support for OpenVR and the Vive.
In July 2016, VR news website Road to VR used game session figures from the Steam VR platform to estimate that approximately 100,000 Vive headsets had been shipped since launch. In the same month, SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), a computer vision company, integrated its eye tracking technology in the HTC Vive to turn it into a dedicated eye tracking solution for research and professional applications. In November 2016, Vive announced that it would begin the first retail sales of its headsets at JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores in Australia later that month.
On 23 November 2016, HTC announced that the Vive was sold at a profit and that HTC Vive sales were "much higher" than 140,000.
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