Those eager to get their hands on VR systems were doubtless disappointed by the delay to the HTC Vive announced at the end of last year, but it turns out that this has allowed them to make some major improvements to the system. At CES in Las Vegas, HTC have unveiled a new iteration of the system dubbed the Vive Pre, which has a better screen, comes with redesigned controllers and, most importantly, has a front facing camera to allow the system to merge real and virtual worlds.
That front facing camera in particular allows for a major improvements to the room scale VR that the Vive is designed around. For one thing, it will let you see an image of the real world whilst wearing the headset, so you don’t need to take the headset off to see your chair or grope for where you think the controllers might be, but that can then be used to bring real world objects into the game, create an Augmented Reality experience which overlays game elements into the real world, and much more.
The controllers also have a much smoother and more consumer ready form, with softer edges, improved buttons and triggers, haptic feedback and built in rechargeable batteries.
Alongside this announcement, HTC reiterated their intention to make an additional 7,000 units to developers at the start of this year, while still heading toward a commercial launch in April. However, there is still no word on how much the HTC Vive will cost.