With the recent unveiling of a few new pieces of their virtual reality setup at CES 2017, it begs the question: How much is the total cost of an HTC Vive? Let's break things down in terms of cost per item, and let's also take a look at some PC options to run it.
What is the total cost of an HTC Vive?
Without the HTC Vive System you won't get very far, so there's a good $799 right off the bat. The bundle contains the actual Vive head-mounted display, two motion controllers, two Lighthouse base stations, a cable adapter, and all the cables you need to connect and power everything. If you already have a VR-ready PC, this is all you need for an incredible virtual experience. See at Amazon
If you're interested in wireless movement while you're in VR, the Vive's new wireless adapter — what they're calling TPCast — will be available later this year and will cost $249. This piece isn't necessary for a good virtual experience, but it's definitely going to be one of the hottest items out there in the VR world.
If we round up a couple dollars, we're now up to $1050, which is sadly still cheaper than the cost of the Vive starter bundle here in Canada. There are still two other accessories of note, but there hasn't yet been an official price announced for either one.
The Vive Tracker is a small, alien-looking accessory that you can stick onto any real-world object to bring it into virtual reality. We've seen people swinging for the fences with a tracker attached to a baseball bat, and we've seen fake rifles with real kick sporting one of these trackers on the front.
It will be exciting to see what Tracker combinations people dream up, but for now, we're still waiting. HTC said they'd be shipping a thousand of these Trackers to developers all over the world and would make it available to all later this year. There's still no official price, but a soft guess will put this piece somewhere around the $80 mark.
Vive Deluxe Audio Strap
The final piece of the puzzle is the new Deluxe Audio Strap which changes both your level of comfort and your audio quality while in the Vive. It easily clips onto your head-mounted display — after you remove the current elastic and Velcro strap — and sports two built-in headphones much like the Rift's current setup.
Instead of elastic straps all the way around, you now have more of a padded plastic cradle for your head, sort of like what the PlayStation VR has on offer. This new strap system alone is worth the investment, but the added audio really makes it great. You'll have to wait until later this year to have a Deluxe Audio Strap in your hands and there is still no concrete price, but, again, a soft guess puts it at around $150.
The total cost of a Vive — based on two predictions for the Tracker and the new Deluxe Audio Strap — has now crept up to about $1280, and we still haven't figured in the price of a PC to run it.
That's a lot of money considering you can get a PlayStation VR bundle for about $500 or a Rift with Touch controllers for about $800, but neither of these options can do what the Vive can do when it comes to a wireless head-mounted display and near-limitless tracking on your real-world items.
None of the extra accessories beyond the Vive starter bundle are necessary, so you can pay $800 and have an amazing virtual experience, but if you want everything HTC has to offer, you'll be spending a lot more money than you would on the competition.
How much am I looking to spend on a PC?
If you're comfortable building your own PC from scratch, you can probably lower the cost of a Vive-ready rig significantly, but buying a pre-built desktop will probably set you back somewhere around $1000 and up. Laptops are a different story, and if you're looking to cut costs, definitely go with a desktop PC.