Valve and HTC's Vive VR Headset is coming out in early April for a rather large sum of $799. This isn't even including associated sales tax.
While this is all fine and well, I can't be the only gamer thinking the price is a bit on the outrageous side. I can pick up a PS4 and XBox One for about a hundred dollars less then this virtual reality helmet, and still have a hundred dollars left over for a game for each console, just plug and play. The Vive is not even a system on it's own, but rather a device used with an existing PC, meaning this helmet requires additional expensive hardware before you can even begin playing games.
Lets say money is no object, there is still a slight thing that is going to leave many gamers wondering, where are the games? What kind of games will it support? You need a thousand dollar PC to run it, so the base line to use the headset is going to come close to $2000, and for what?
I think the guy on the left might have seen the price tag.
With a quick search for the kind of games I can expect to see from the Vive I came across a lot of titles in the First Person perspective that appear that they will be fully supported and or partially supported at launch, and considering the nature of what one might expect from virtual reality, I imagine a first person perspective will be the most common type of game you find with the Vive. You can find a current full list of games here.
So the type of game you can most likely expect from the Vive is first person perspective games. $800 is a pretty steep price to pay for almost entirely first person game experiences, and needing additional hardware is probably going to put a number of people off from the idea of wanting to purchase it just for that. Consoles like the XBox One are commonly cited by gamers as not being a very choice console simply for the lack of games. With the Vive it seems people are going to only be getting primarily one type of game perspective, the first person perspective. Whether or not people are looking to pay such a high price for almost exclusively that one perspective is still up for debate.
I understand that first person perspective games are enjoyed by millions of gamers out there, with that said, there are several things to worry about in regards to this helmet before we even get our hands on it. How well will we adjust to being immersed into this virtual reality world, what kind of fatigue can this cause the average person using this helmet?
I know for me personally that I get tired and need a rest after about four hours of playing a first person shooter because of all the fast paced action, so what about the additional weight that will be on our heads while playing such games? Try as I might, the official website, wikipedia, various gaming websites that have put out some coverage on the Vive, I can not seem to find the answer to this very important question. How much does the helmet weigh? I don't know about anyone else, but I am the type of person who can sit down and play video games for quite some time and if I am going to be buying a product that puts additional weight on my head and more importantly, my neck, when I am going to be using it for hours on end, it seems like an important piece of information that has not been addressed yet anywhere that I have looked.
Not going to lie, that looks pretty front heavy. Image by AnandTech
This Virtual Reality helmet sounds like a lot of fun for the type of games that will be run through it, but I can not imagine a lot of gamers are going to be ready, or willing to shell out the $800 needed for experiencing virtual reality, for what appears to be a limited selection of gaming experiences, and that's assuming they already have a PC capable of utilizing the device.
I do hope that a lot of my concerns over the Vive are just me not being able to get more information on the device yet, and that many of my concerns will be put to rest in the near future. The cost is definitely one thing I can see making this more a luxury item as opposed to becoming part of mainstream gaming, at least for the immediate future. If this is gaming's future I can definitely see the potential of wanting to be a part of the ground floor, but the cost in the mean time, alongside my other concerns may be one of the things that keeps me away from it until more information comes out and/or the set up becomes for viable to mainstream markets. I suppose we will all get our opportunity to find out all this and more in April.