After originally promising to ship units before the end of 2015, HTC has now announced that its Vive VR headset won't be available to consumers until April of next year. The company posted a statement on its blog (which is currently offline) attempting to "clear up speculation and misinformation" about the launch, confirming the delay. "We will be starting the new year by making an additional 7,000 units available to developers, followed by commercial availability in April 2016," the statement continues. In a later update, HTC added that pre-orders for the April launch will begin at the end of February.
Introduced this spring, the Vive is a high-end VR headset created in partnership with Valve's SteamVR program. HTC already revised the launch date once. In August, it said that a limited number of commercial systems would be offered by the end of the year, with "larger quantities" shipping in the first quarter of 2016 — the same release window as the Oculus Rift. It's now saying that a second generation of its development kit, which was shipped to game developers earlier this year, will launch at CES; it's not clear how close this will be to the commercial version.
A second-generation development kit will launch at CES
It's not clear whether HTC and Valve haven't achieved the "best experience" because they're still working on the hardware, or whether the issue is getting enough games and other entertainment content to make a full launch. Either way, HTC promises more opportunities to demo the headset, including the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, the Game Developers Conference, and Mobile World Congress. But we don't know what will actually make it into buyers' living rooms later this year, or how much it'll cost — a question that every major VR headset developer has declined to answer.
HTC's full statement is below.
In an effort to clear up speculation and misinformation surrounding the launch of HTC Vive this month, we are excited to give the community an update on the status of HTC Vive. We remain committed to delivering the HTC Vive to a broader group of content creators and partners, and remain focused on delivering the very best experience possible for a consumer release.
Since announcing the HTC Vive in March of this year we have focused on developing immersive content, refining both hardware design and user experience, and building relationships with new partners both inside and outside of the gaming industry. In collaboration with Valve, we have been distributing the HTC Vive Developer Kits to developers and content creators, and are continuing to work with many other innovative companies to create content that spans gaming, entertainment, medical, education and retail. This includes hosting a developer conference in Beijing on December 18th, launching the second generation of the HTC Vive Developer Kit at CES and engaging audiences at key events including The Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, GDC and MWC while expanding our demo tours.
We will be starting the new year by making an additional 7,000 units available to developers, followed by commercial availability in April 2016. We are incredibly excited about the future and look forward to sharing more information as we move forward towards launch.
Update December 9th 11:00AM ET: Added pre-order date from HTC.