Virtual reality is a technology that’s been around longer than most of us care to remember. Having said that, good virtual reality is an emerging industry and one that we cannot get enough of. One of the biggest players in the game is HTC with the VIVE that we’ve shown you here. Traditionally HTC have offered the VIVE Pro for developers (or the hyper wealthy) and the VIVE Cosmos, for the consumer.
The VIVE Cosmos has traditionally retailed at $1,299, which is at the higher end of the market. This refresh to the Cosmos brand comes with multiple retail options that make the product significantly more accessible. The differences are primarily in the tracking capabilities of each device;
The first and most likely to bring in the fans is the VIVE Cosmos Play, a device at a much lower price point without the vertical cameras traditionally found on the face plate. These cameras are used for hand tracking above and below the users line of sight – which is to say that if you were playing a game that required you to reach above your head, or have your hands far beneath you, they won’t be detected by the headset unless you look at them. Outside of that tweak, you’ll be able to do everything with the Cosmos Play that you can do with the original Cosmos.
The pricing and availability is still to be announced.
The other product fresh to market is the Cosmos Elite, which presents a tier above the Cosmos in that it supports two external SteamVR base stations. These little black boxes can be placed strategically around the room to know exactly where/how you’re standing as well as where each of your hands are within millimeters to provide unbelievably accurate motion tracking. The Cosmos Elite will retail for $1,699.
I was given the chance to get hands-on with the Cosmos Elite and was astounded by it’s tracking ability. I spent more time than I’m willing to admit bouncing a ping pong ball in virtual reality, an act that in of itself doesn’t sound that wild until you take into account that neither the paddle or ball actually exist and that motion tracking technology and software are artificially creating the entire experience.
Easily the best part of the HTC VIVE Cosmos series is that the entire device is modular. Which is to say you can dip your feet in the VR water by purchasing the Cosmos Play, and over time as you become more familiar with the technology and want to step up your game, you’re able to easily pick up the additional face plates or in the case of the Elite, the base stations.
Alongside the two new Cosmos models is the Cosmos XR, a face plate that features two ‘pass-through’ cameras to allow gamers and developers to experience augmented virtuality.
The HTC VIVE Cosmos is now a full suite of products that are looking to dominate the virtual reality market, one that we can’t wait to watch grow into the future.