HTC's next-gen VR headset, the Vive Cosmos, is scheduled for a release in mid-to-late 2019, with dev kits currently being sent out to developers, according to a blog post on the Vive Developers forum.
But the post confirms that the Cosmos is in the finally stages of testing, suggesting the headset could launch before the summer is out: "Since VIVE Cosmos will be available soon, we’re dedicating resources to make sure your content looks great on the new headset. In fact, we’re committing the next two months to comprehensive testing."
- Our first look at the Vive Cosmos
- HTC's Vive Cosmos VR headset is amazing – and frustrating – in equal measure
- What are the best VR games?
As the next consumer-focused headset from HTC, the question is whether a new model will help bring new users to the Vive ecosystem. We know it will feature a new tracking system that allows you to take the headset between rooms (rather than staying on the spot), which could allow for more dynamic and explorative VR experiences.
HTC has also shown off images of the Cosmos cuddling up to a smartphone, suggesting it will be able to work with mobile VR as well as high-powered PCs.
Race to the bottom
HTC's Vive and Vive Pro headsets are currently seen as the gold standard for consumer VR, but that quality ensures a hefty price tag. The standard Vive headset retails at $499 / £499 (about AU$615), while the Vive Pro headset alone (without controllers or tracking stations) costs $799 / £799 (around AU$1,045).
Widespread VR adoption will be difficult while VR headsets remain premium experiences, and it's no surprise that HTC's main competitor – Oculus, which is owned by Facebook – has doubled down on the mid-range VR market.
Oculus' latest VR headsets, the Rift S and the Oculus Quest, both sit around the $399 / £399 mark – about AU$570 – with the company opting to stick with a semi-affordable price point rather than chasing HTC on specs.
While there's no price for the Vive Cosmos yet, the headset seems to be angled towards a more casual market, with HTC stressing the ease of setup, and teasing ability to connect to a smartphone.
We only hope that HTC doesn't end up compromising on its quality for the sake of a cheaper headset: a bargain price won't matter much if the VR itself fails to impress.
- Oculus Rift vs Rift S vs Quest: a battle for mid-range VR