Tuesday during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, HTC revealed their second-generation virtual reality headset, the Vive Pre. Iterating off of their first Steam-powered VR headset, the Vive Pre will offer users a smaller headset and improved visuals.
According to the press release, the Vive Pre looks to offer users a more comfortable experience with a design that is “more compact and features an updated strap design that provides greater stability and balance.”
The biggest feature that has been added to the new headset is the front-facing camera with room-scale technology. This camera will allow users to see physical objects in the room through their headset. From a practical standpoint, this feature will add a pass-through option which will add a level of safety to the headset by allowing the user to see the room they are in without taking off the headset. Users can “take a seat, find your drink, and carry on conversations without removing your headset” by using the pass-through feature.
According to Dan O’Brien, vice president of planning and product management for HTC Vive, the Vive Pre is only for developers at this point. HTC will be giving 7,000 units to game makers and app developers. Currently, thousands of games are in development including, a Starbreeze John Wick shooter, a Vertigo Games zombie shooter named Arizona Sunshine, Owlchemy’s Job Simulator, and Valve’s Portal and Shopkeeper.
While no price or firm release date has been announced, HTC will begin taking preorders for the first-generation Vive in late February, with the newly redesigned Vive Pre ultimately coming to consumers sometime in the future.