While we saw oodles of new gizmos and gadgets at CES 2017, a quiet show stealer for many was what was on show at the HTC Vive booth – namely the Vive Tracker and Vive Deluxe Audio Strap. Now we have prices and release dates for both.
The Vive Tracker, which can be attached to real-world objects that designers have programmed into a game or application, will be released in two stages: 27th of March for developer purchase, and later in the year for general consumers. The company hopes that the tracker will open up the VR space and says that it has already received 2,300 applications for the first 1,000 trackers. And this isn't just for gaming; HTC Vive says that 60 per cent of applications that will use the Vive Tracker will be non-gaming – ranging from education and enterprise to training and wellness.
Speaking to PCR in the latest issue of the magazine, Vive senior manager of product management Graham Breen said: "One of the more interesting examples for me out of CES was what somebody was showing from a university in Australia. It was a firefighting trainer. So what they did was that they put the headset on you and then they attached the tracker to the end of a fire hose. So you stood there seeing the fire blazing around you and you had the fire hose and it was training people how to put that out because of course you don’t really want to train people on the job in that stress situation."
The other first party peripheral for the VR headset that was announced at the show was the Deluxe Audio Strap which combines integrated audio with new comfort features, in an effort to ensure users are more comfortable during long sessions. The Deluxe Audio Strap will be bundled all Business Edition (BE) sales going forward. As far as general consumers go, the strap will go on sale through pre-order on May 2nd with an expected delivery date.
Both the Vive Tracker and Deluxe Audio Strap will be available for £99.99, which, don't forget, will sit on top of the Vive's already high price of £759. This is a price point that the company believes presents good value said Breen: "We think it’s actually a very competitive price for what we’ve got now."