The new model will use the Viveport Store as the official content platform for Chinese audiences.
Standalone HTC Vive headsets appear to be all the rage lately based on several reveals made by HTC over the past couple of months. This past May saw the reveal of a standalone Vive for U.S. & European audiences that runs on the Google DayDream platform. Now it appears as though our new wireless device we’ll be getting a cousin in the form of a different Vive standalone headset exclusively for Chinese consumers.
In an announcement made yesterday by HTC, the Taiwanese electronic company revealed a partnership with Lenovo to release a new untethered Vive headset extremely similar to the upcoming U.S. & EU version. Both self-contained devices are expected to feature the same specs, such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835. The device is also expected to feature identical, or near identical, physical designs.
However it appears the similarities will end here. Whereas the US & EU version will run off the Google DayDream platform the Chinese equivalent will instead operate on the Viveport content store. This makes sense, as while Viveport usually takes a backseat to Steam for most US & EU VR-users, the HTC platform plays a much bigger role in China.
It’s also unclear what kind of tracking will be implemented into this Eastern equivalent. The Western model has already been confirmed to support WorldSense technology, a form of inside-out tracking that will allow users to move about in a 3D space. This is a massive upgrade from the current smartphone-supported DayDream headset which is capable of only tracking the player’s head rotation. Anyone that’s transitioned from mobile VR to PC VR recognizes the substantial difference positional tracking makes while in VR, so leaving out WorldSense in this Chinese rendition would be a questionable, if not poor, decision to make.
“Building up a rich library of VR experiences for the standalone VR market,” HTC said in a statement regarding the announcement. “China is the leading mobile market in the world today, and has the momentum to lead the global VR market as well,” said Alvin W. Graylin, China Regional President of Vive at HTC. “Partnering with Qualcomm to deliver an easy to use and more affordable Vive VR system will enable us to make premium standalone VR widely accessible to the masses in China.”
HTC has yet to announce price for the Chinese version, nor a release date (The US & EU model will release late 2017). However, we can expect the headset to fall into a similar price range as the Western headset, which HTC confirmed would land in the range of current desktop headsets – minus of course the cost of a VR-ready PC.