HTC Vive Focus standalone VR headset launches worldwide later this year

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The HTC Vive Focus standalone VR headset is going global later this year, HTC announced at GDC 2018 in San Francisco. 

Currently exclusive to China, the HTC Vive Focus is the company's first and only standalone VR headset, meaning it doesn't need a smartphone or PC to operate. Yes, that means there are no cumbersome wires.

HTC didn't offer specifics as to which global markets the HTC Vive Focus will be available in and when. An HTC spokesperson told us the company will announce regional pricing at a later date.

The HTC Vive Focus is available in two colors in China, each at a different price: ¥3,999 and ¥4,299. Converting the prices puts the HTC Vive Focus at about $635 / £460 / AU$815 and $680 / £495 / AU$870, though it's likely going to be much cheaper considering the HTC Vive price is $499 / £499 (about AU$615).

It's been rumored for a while that the Vive Focus would have a broader release, and it was even hinted at by HTC Vive China President Alvin Wang Graylin in early February. 

All eyes on Focus

Releasing the HTC Vive Focus globally is a big move for HTC because it brings the company's portable VR headset to a broader consumer market. It's a crucial step considering Oculus Go, the equally portable little brother to the Oculus Rift, is reportedly launching in May.

The traditional HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift battle is shifting as both companies have lowered the cost of their first-gen headsets while at the same time introduced new variations at different price points. 

In addition to the Vive Focus, HTC launched the HTC Vive Pro, an upgraded headset that costs $799 / £799 (about AU$1,015) and goes on sale in April. 

Oculus, meanwhile, is launching the Oculus Go for $199 (about £150 / AU$255). It also has the more powerful Project Santa Cruz standalone headset in development, though there's no word yet on much it will cost.

In addition to no wires, the Vive Focus features six-degree-of-freedom (6DoF) tracking, allowing for 3D movement and rotation tracking without the need for external sensors. It runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU and houses a 2880 x 1600 display.

Will the HTC Vive Focus set the world alight when it launches globally later in 2018? That remains to be seen, but it's step HTC had to take to keep up with Oculus.

We're on the ground at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this week covering the latest in gaming, from mobile and consoles to VR headsets. Catch up on all the latest from GDC 2018 so far!