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About the product
- FLEXIBLE PLAY AREA - Use VIVE seated, standing or in a space up to 15 feet x 15 feet. SteamVR Tracking provides the best experience possible, so play the way that works for you.
- FULLY IMMERSIVE – Realistic movement and actions from precise, 360-degree controller and headset tracking with realistic graphics, directional audio and HD haptic feedback in the virtual world.
- POWERED BY STEAM VR - Enjoy over 1500 games for SteamVR, plus everything you love about Steam, including new releases, automatic game updates and millions of your closest friends.
- FREE CONTENT WITH PURCHASE - On Viveport, HTC's global VR app store, get a free trial for Viveport Subscription plus Google's Tilt Brush, Everest VR, and Richie's Plank with your purchase.
- PLAY SAFER - The Chaperone system warns you when you reach the boundaries of your play area and the headset's front-facing camera gives you a glimpse of the real-world when you need it.
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From the manufacturer
FREE Games and Apps Included with Purchase of VIVE
Fallout 4, the legendary post-apocalyptic adventure from Bethesda Game Studios and winner of more than 200 ‘Best Of’ awards, including the DICE and BAFTA Game of the Year, comes in its entirety to VR.
Coming to SteamVR 12/12/17
Tilt Brush lets you paint in 3D space with virtual reality. Unleash your creativity with three-dimensional brush strokes, stars, light, and even fire. Your room is your canvas. Your palette is your imagination. The possibilities are endless.
On Viveport, HTC Vive’s global VR app store, get a free trial for Viveport Subscription – the most affordable way to experience VR content every month.
VIVE Virtual Reality System
Experience unparalleled, true-to-life virtual reality!
Explore the virtual world with the freedom to move around in a space up to 15’ by 15’.
Don’t have that kind of room? Use VIVE seated, standing, or in a space at least 6’6” by 5’’.
SteamVR Tracking provides 360-degree coverage of your movements to the millimeter.
Don’t worry, VIVE’s Chaperone system warns you when you reach the boundaries of your play area.
Recommended Minimum Computer Specs
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480, equivalent or better
- CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350, equivalent or better
- RAM: 4 GB or more
- Output: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
- USB: 1x USB 2.0 or better port
- OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 or later
Powering the VIVE Experience
VIVE recommends certain minimum component specs for a Windows PC to run VIVE. These components such as your graphics card, processor, and RAM all impact the quality of the VR experience you see inside the headset. Let’s review what makes each of these components important to your VR experience.
VIVE is a first-of-its-kind virtual reality platform developed by HTC and Valve for total immersion in virtual worlds. Using a headset and wireless controllers, you can now explore and interact with VR experiences, apps and games that blur the line between imagination and reality. Enjoy 1500+ games for SteamVR, plus everything you love about Steam in VR. Compatible Windows computer and internet connection required-refer to the recommended computer specs below.
Is your current computer ready for virtual reality? Use the SteamVR Performance Test to check whether your system can handle the requirements of VR, and if not, whether its capabilities are bound by graphics card, CPU or both. Test your computer: http://store.steampowered.com/app/323910/
Top customer reviews
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If you were like me, you might be a little hesitant about tech like this, because you tried a GEAR VR, or think 3d desktop gaming and 3d movies are kinda of cool, but certainly not worth this kind of investment. Get that out of your head right now. This is COMPLETELY different.
First, let me say that I've never been a huge gamer. I've spent many more hours on my 10 year old Wii than I have on newly released console/computer games.
I enjoy the interaction even if I'm sacrificing graphical beauty.
This system is kind of like a 5th generation Wii. They are really selling the experience more than the graphics. And the experience is absolutely something to be had.
Kind of like that first time you picked up that wii controller and "bowled" and thought "hey, this is pretty cool." but on a WHOLE new level.
Once you complete the setup you'll enter the tutorial and blow up a balloon.. You'll (without instruction) think.. What happens if I try to hit this floating balloon.. Probably nothing.. but you'll immediately realize how intuitive and accurate this "new world" is when the balloon flies in the direction and velocity you would expect it to based on your hand movement. And sure there are similar capabilities on other consoles. You separate when you realize you can (literally) walk underneath the balloon, look up at it, jump and swat it down to the floor. then walk circles around it while unrelentingly taunting it for obeying physics.
When you play "The lab" and your hand becomes a spaceship in a (truly) 3d realm, you'll really grasp what this thing is all about. I can't imagine how silly it looks in real life with your hand just jerking up and down, left to right, ducking, spinning.. etc. But in the game it really feels like you're in a serious situation and your hand needs to dodge these incoming blobs at all costs.
The longbow game is fun. And you may realize that the controllers are giving haptic feedback when you "pull" the bowstring and release it to give it that additional sense of immersion.
It's these seemingly small, polished edges that make this an incredible product.
You WILL feel immersed. I 100 percent guarantee it. You'll laugh the first time you try to set your gun down on a table in the virtual world.
The setup wasn't bad. Although I didn't find instructions included. I just googled it and followed the 10ish step process from HTC.
Windows 7 wouldn't install the drivers for the "link box" until I put it into the USB 2.0 slots (as others have stated) - the directions state that it's compatible with 2.0+ though. Maybe in later versions of Windows, or perhaps my BIOS settings are "bad". Either way, simple fix.
I had planned on using the single HDMI port that my GTX1060 has since I saw that some people had problems through other connections. The directions stated that you can use a display port to mini display port on the link box but I didn't try it.
So that makes two display ports out. One to my tv/monitor, the other to my receiver which passes the video to a projector, and then the HDMI to the Vive headset. All very seamless.
When you get to the point of powering on all your components (for the first time) you might need to right click one of the controllers in the steam VR window and click "pair controller" (if the controller shows blue when it comes on instead of green). The walkthrough failed to mention that.
The Steam VR software is very polished as well. Especially inside of VR. You can switch to your desktop and read email. When I realized that I could walk closer to my boundary wall that the desktop was on at that time, and the text got closer/clearer, it was an additional level of "that's friggin cool."
This is NOT for reading text like that though. The resolution just isn't there.
Once you've got a Steam account set up, be careful, it's easy to blow through 80 dollars (of real money) in a 4 minute virtual shopping spree.
You can connect your phone via Bluetooth and get notifications. You can enable the camera and see the room without taking the headset off. Plug in ear buds and "mirror" the sound so you can rock out hard to audioshield without waking the neighbors.
You can control pretty much all of the aspects of the virtual world from your 2d monitor. That comes in handy If someone new is using the headset. So you can control the session for them (get them into a game, get them started, etc) without having to walk them through everything - but again, it is pretty intuitive and should be easy to pick up for 90 percent of people.
There are just a lot of features that you can tell they put thought into.
Some complain that a lot of the games are "demo" types, and while that's true. There are several "full" games available, and I haven't even gotten to them, because The Lab, Zombie Trainer, The Brookhaven Experiment, and (especially) AudioShield have me completely satisfied for the time being.
We're all still waiting on the "major" releases of Doom, Fallout 4, Serious Sam, Arizona Sunshine etc. I am curious how games like Serious Sam will work. You're going to break yourself if you're constantly spinning around trying to fend off hordes of suiciders. The action of "teleporting" in large scale games seems to be the goto method for moving around in the world. It's not as intuitive as I'd like and it takes a split second to load the new landscape when you arrive, so it's a little offputting. But that's splitting hairs at this point. I just feel like it's going to be exaggerated when you're in a true "sandbox" world.
There are a few cons.
1. You're going to have a tough time doing true multiplayer with this. You can't just buy another 30 dollar controller and go to town with your friend sitting on the couch next to you. You're looking at another large investment and the space to set up another system. I'm interested to see how games like "Don't stop talking and nobody explodes" work and bring a "crowd" together with one headset. But it's probably not going to be the excitement of being (virtually) back to back with a buddy fighting the terrorists in a FPS.
2. I hope your friends don't mind swapping a large amount of face sweat.
3. The resolution just isn't what it is on a LED monitor. Obviously you're stretching that image out over a 360 degree 3d environment so it's a little tougher to do. So.. Again, you're not doing this for the "crispness". You're doing it for the experience. When you feel like a freaking rockstar defending yourself from incoming musical notes, you won't be thinking about the slight pixilation, or how the graphics in the background aren't super detailed. I PROMISE.
4. I find it a little bit of a pain to get the headset just right on my head. You need to get the straps perfect (not too tight, or loose) to make the area right in front of your face perfectly clear (especially when you're looking down).
5. I don't think the screens are quite big enough. You will probably notice the black ring around the outside of your vision when you're waiting for a game to load or whatever. You'll forget about it as soon as you're doing whatever.
6. I am seriously matting down the new carpet inside of my "game area."
7. You might think that the real world is less fun.
Keep in mind.. That while the software is pretty polished and works well, this type of thing probably isn't for someone who isn't at least a moderate "power user." I've had some minor issues like weird Steam crashes, VR world disappearing if the CPU is under a lot of stress, computer not completing POST when the link box was plugged in. Just stuff that you wouldn't deal with on a console type system. This "limitation" (not the price) is probably why the world isn't screaming about this from the rooftops. The mass population isn't exactly tech savvy so that excludes a major percentage of potential buyers.
All that said....
Honestly, I've got a lot of cool stuff but this is ABSOLUTELY and UNEQUIVOCALLY the coolest tech I've seen or played with in my entire life. I would still be happy with it if I would've needed to fork out an additonal 800 or so to build a computer. Everytime I'm away from it for a day or so, I think "was it really THAT cool?" and I answer my question as soon as I put the headset back on and enter a virtual world for what feels like the first time, every time.
I have now owned my Vive for 1 1/2 years and while I do not play it as nearly as much as I would like to, it is truly an amazing experience and I love showing it to new people. If you are looking for a productivity VR headset for seated experiences, I suggest looking into Samsung's Odyssey or Pimax's 4/8K headset due to the higher pixel density.
Few things to note since this time last year:
* Price drops!
* Way more games! Check out the /vive Reddit for suggestions, but there are some great ones out (check out Raw Data, Arizona Sunshine, Elite Dangerous, Onward, Doom 3 BFG Mod, to start with).
* Valve has confirmed 3 original VR-made games; albeit, when and what are a mystery.
* Valve has shown off new VR Controllers that are meant to mimic hand-like interaction
* VR is growing with Microsoft Mixed Reality launching and general adoption growing. With this, prices have fallen.
* There are other headsets on the market, but I am still a proponent for the Vive due to its upgrade-ability and overall approach to no-walled-gardens.
* The Deluxe Audio Strap is a wonderful addition and adds comfort and integrated headphones to the Vive.
* Outside of the Rift, do also look into Pimax's new headset (can utilize the Vive tracking and the resolution is higher) for gaming.
* Fallout 4 VR is only 2 months away
* The Rift now has touch controllers, roomscale, and is slightly cheaper; albeit, the walled garden still exists. I find the Rift's controllers to be slightly superior to the Vive's current controllers, but the tracking requires USB 3.0 connections for each camera and can be a bit messy.
Full & Original Review Below:
A wonderful VR experience and be sure to buy it directly from HTC's Vive website. Orders now ship within 2-3 days and you get the bundled games included (Tilt Brush/Fantastic Contraption/Job Simulator).
BIG NOTE: Fallout 4 (the COMPLETE game) is coming to HTC Vive in 2017 :)
Basically, the Vive is a first generation VR headset and while I love it I would only suggest it if you are fine with using a 1st generation headset. No, there aren't problems, but no it is not perfect. Mainly, it's expensive and you need a powerful computer to run it. While there is a large selection of games continually coming out, your options are still quite limited (people are still learning what to create after all). Game development is quite limited to indie developers due to the money AAA studios have to invest. With all this in mind, I love my Vive and I am happy with my purchase and if you would like more details about the Vive, I would checkout their website for explanation videos on Chaperone and what the HTC Vive itself is. In this review, I'm just going to enumerate some points about the Vive and why I prefer it over the Oculus Rift.
A short summary of points:
- $800 includes everything you need including touch controllers and tracking lighthouses that can be over 15 feet apart and are wireless (no USB hookup like Oculus)
- The Vive is currently the only commercial headset supporting room scale VR.
- The Vive is currently the only commercial headset offering manufacturer touch controllers.
- The Vive is anti-exclusive, is completely open to developers, and functions solely on Steam (opposed to attempting to lock users in on the Oculus Home)
- Re-Vive allows the Vive to play Oculus exclusive games.
Why not Oculus?
- They are attempting to buy exclusives through funding of developers (HTC/Valve is funding developers w/o promise of exclusivity). This matters due to the ecosystem and Oculus's ability to undermine a growing ecosystem.
- It is owned by Facebook and its user agreement allows for complete data collection.
- Touch controllers will not be arriving until at least November of 2016.
- Room scale is being promised with the arrival of said touch controllers, but some individuals are skeptical.
- Current gameplay consists of sitting in a chair with an Xbox controller. You will want to walk around in a VR world, it is the first thing you want to do.
- The screen is nice; however, their business practices are appalling and is one of the main reasons I refuse to support them. I do not want to support a company who is actively working to undermine VR - a entirely new ecosystem - as a whole in order to lock developers to their platform (timely or not).
- Even with the promises roomscale, two camera are needed, both needing a USB port (opposed to Vive's wireless lighthouses)
- There is no word on the price of the touch controllers and new camera. $600 does not include anything needing for roomscale or touch.
The Oculus itself is not a bad headset by any means (many reviews say the screen actually looks a little crisper), but it currently lacks in the roomscale which I find incredibly important to VR. This importance is hard to communicate and a quote I read yesterday sums it up quite nicely "attempting to explain VR is like attempting to explain architecture by dancing." Pair this with Oculus's attempting at exclusivity and their data collecting and I want to stay far away.
NOTE: The claims below are no longer accurate. You are able to set up a separate account, but Oculus continues to ask for a wide variety of parameters (as do many other programs).
Also, Oculus Runtime 1.8 requires you to be inter-connected with Facebook. Taken from their update word-for-word:
"By opting to connect, you agree:
Your Facebook friends will become your Oculus friends. As you add friends on Facebook and your friends connect to Oculus, your friend list here will be automatically updated.
Your Facebook name will become your real name on Oculus.
Even if your settings currently restrict your real name privacy, your Facebook friends who connect to Oculus will be able to see and search your real name.”