HTC Vive Review: The Best VR Experience Right Now

The HTC Vive launches is the most expensive of the consumer VR devices, but is it worth the price? Our review.

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As passionate and enthusiastic as I've been as a VR evangelist, I understand this first generation is meant for early adopters like myself. Even the best VR devices will have some rough edges at this stage. That goes for the HTC Vive, which in my experience is the best VR device on the market at launch, but is still far from perfect.

Valve and HTC announced the Vive at GDC 2015, and at the time I was very skeptical. HTC had been struggling financially in a competitive smart phone market and Valve had launched Steam boxes with multiple manufacturing partners a year before to a lackluster response from consumers. It was unclear how serious Valve was about their entrance into the VR space. I am delighted that my initial misgivings proved to be incorrect as Valve and HTC have launched the Vive within 15 months of their original announcement. They have also shipped multiple iterations of the development kits in that time period to make sure they were bringing what they believed to be the best possible head mounted display to market.

HTC Vive Head Mounted Display

The Head-Mounted Display

The Vive is a solid HMD, weighing in at more than 550 grams. It boasts 32 sensors for 360 degree tracking and a 110 degree field of view. It also has a front facing camera to help detect real world objects. The two low persistence screens in the HMD have a combined 2160 X 1200 resolution that is optimized to run software at 90 Hz or better. The HMD has three cables (a USB, HDMI and power cable) that are fused together with one additional port for plugging in headphones. These cables all come out of the top of the front of the headset and go along the top of the user's head. There is a status light on the left side of the HMD to indicate whether it is properly connected and a knob on the bottom right to control the horizontal spacing of the lenses.

The HMD is counterbalanced much better than past iterations of the Vive, but the wires going along the top of the form-fitting strap remains my biggest gripe with the design of the device. The headphone dongle will frequently move around and even get stuck behind the three fused cables causing discomfort when spending prolonged periods in the Vive. Another problem I noticed was that the Vive's fused cables became twisted pretty frequently during full room experiences. This caused a considerable amount of discomfort after prolonged use and really forced me to become more mindful of where the cables are at all times.

During a few demos, I would have to take off the HMD and let the cables unwind themselves to alleviate the discomfort. This is a problem that all virtual reality tethered head mounted displays face, but Vive exacerbates the problem with the cable that goes along the top of the user's head and down the back. Constantly worrying about tripping over, unwinding, and readjusting the cables remains one of the biggest impediments to full-on immersion. During seated experiences, the user has to be mindful of which side they let the cable lay to avoid discomfort. The ergonomics of the cables in the Vive HMD are definitely among my most serious reservations.

HTC Vive Controllers

The Controllers

The HTC Vive Controllers, on the other hand, are among the best input devices I've ever experienced. They use advanced sensor technology to be visible in VR. Each controller has a circular multifunction haptic touchpad, a dual-staged trigger button, two grip buttons, and two front facing buttons. HTC and Valve have packed advanced technology into a minimal design. Each controller has 24 sensors for accurate motion tracking. Being able to see your controllers in VR with very little lag or tracking error is a truly magical experience. The combination of ergonomics, haptics, and tracking technology has created a delightful user experience in the Vive.

The versatility of the Vive controllers is truly striking. Developers are given a great tool on which to build various immersive experiences. The controller easily transforms into a gun, a paint brush, a pointer or any other kind of virtual instrument that users may require for their experiences. Every button on the controller feels deliberately placed with the intent of making the best possible controller for VR. The grip buttons on either side of the controller take some getting used to at first, but I was able to pick up and play within a few minutes. The haptic touchpads which Valve debuted on the Steam controller are truly amazing in VR. Users can see where their thumbs are placed on the controllers in real time in VR with little to no lag.

These controllers have advanced human interface devices for gaming much like Nintendo's Wiimote did in the past. The haptic touchpads are truly the perfect solution for VR as they are easy to adapt to various control schemes while remaining super intuitive. I cannot praise these controllers enough as I witnessed people who had never used them pick up and play games with them within a few minutes. Valve and HTC have hit a homerun with the combination of minimal industrial design and forward-thinking technology in these controllers.

HTC Vive Lighthouse Sensors

The Sensors

Valve and HTC have deployed some of the best sensor technology they could with their lighthouse sensors. The two sensors require a minimum of 2 meters by 1.5 meters of space for the Room-scale experience. They also need to be mounted at least 6 feet above the ground and in opposite corners from each other to achieve 360 degree tracking of the HMD and controllers. I used two lighting tripods with ball mounts to angle the sensors slightly down. The sensors communicate with each other wirelessly, but HTC has provided a sync cable in case there is any issue with wireless syncing.

Some consumers will mount the sensors on their wall, but I am currently renting and do not want to bore holes in the walls of my home office. The tripods work great, but even the slightest bump can cause the system to lose tracking. This is something that users need to be mindful of when setting up the sensors for Room-scale. The set up of the sensors took about 20 minutes and SteamVR does a great job of walking users through the set up.

The Software

Valve's Steam boasts over 100 million users on their vibrant software platform and SteamVR is a new service that works on top of the existing platform. Valve has rebuilt Steam for VR. Users can chat with friends using a software keyboard in VR or Steam voice chat. Steam notifications still pop up in VR letting you know when your friends have logged on to play a game. Navigating your library or the store is an easy as browsing the Wii home screen with a similar pointer-driven navigation. Steam VR also allows users to manipulate their audio settings as well as enable the front-facing camera. The chaperone feature is tremendously enhanced by the front-facing camera as you are able to see blue holographic representations of real world objects in addition to the virtual mesh wall that indicates your boundaries. This is a killer feature that differentiates the Vive from many of its competitors.

Once users get acclimated with navigating SteamVR, a tutorial is launched to take you through The Lab. This is Valve's first entrance into VR gaming software. I describe it as the Wii Sports of the Vive launch lineup. The pre-release demo features 8 games and demos that Valve has shown off over the last year. The full version of The Lab launches today for free alongside the Vive.

The Lab

Tiltbrush

Another showpiece bit of VR software is Google's Tiltbrush. This is the VR equivalent of 1984's MacPaint. It is important to prove a device's ability to create content for any technology to escape the label of gimmicky and achieve broader market penetration. Tiltbrush is a delightful experience that I believe will be a killer launch application for the Vive. 

The Brookhaven Experiment

The Brookhaven Experiment has yet to release its full version, but the demo is still one of my favorite experiences in VR. The player is standing in the center of a park in pitch black armed only with a flashlight and gun. The flashlight has a limited amount of battery power and the gun has a limited amount of bullets. This game is one part survival, one part horror, and two parts shooter. The gun mechanics are amazing in this game and truly showcases the intuitive, pick up-and-play nature of the Vive's controllers. The game is waved based, with each wave increasing the difficulty and intensity. This game makes the hairs on my arms stand straight up. 

 

There are a number of other titles on Steam VR that Shacknews will be covering throughout the week, but these are some of the highlights. Valve also has a huge head start on their competition with SteamVR also supporting a feature for a 250 inch virtual TV on which to play all your 2D Steam games. I did experience quite a few bugs with games that run at lower than 90 frames per second, but I can confirm that Rocket League runs amazing at 90 Hz in the Vive.

Other bugs I experienced were with the controllers or HMD losing tracking from being slightly out of the field of view of the sensors. I also ran into some problems with audio cutting out. Most of these problems were mitigated by restarting SteamVR or rebooting my computer, but I did run into a problem where the sensors would lose tracking. I had to reprogram the playable area in Room-scale a few times, but the bugs were not cataclysmic or experience-breaking. We did have some demos crash, but for the most part SteamVR is running great. I look forward to seeing how the platform develops.

Viva la Vive

The HTC Vive is definitely a first generation product. It is apparent how much time was spent on making sure this product was as great as it could be, but it has its limitations. Some of them are problems all tethered VR HMDs will face, like the cable breaking immersion. Other design issues could be iterated upon in future versions in the interest of better ergonomics. I would prefer if the cables went along one of the side straps of the HMD as opposed to being on top of the user's head. The front-facing camera could definitely have a better resolution, but there is a delicate balance between the form factor and weight of the device that must be taken into consideration. First generation products are full of difficult decisions, but I am glad that the Vive went with a front facing camera as it allows users to check in on the real world with a push of a button. Many of our readers ask me if they should buy the Vive right now, and my answer will always be that it depends.

Purchasing the HTC Vive is a no-brainer if you already have a PC with the minimum specifications and have the $799 to spend. If you are more conscious of cost and are not usually an early adopter, this may be a good time to hold off on a purchase. Another crucial consideration for consumers to remember is that the most impressive Vive experiences require room-scale VR. If you don't have enough space in your home, you may be disappointed by many of the missed room-scale experiences. Right now, the HTC Vive has over 30 titles available on SteamVR that are ready to go. This is truly an exciting time in technology and HTC Vive definitely offers the best VR experience out of the box so far.


This review is based on a retail unit provided by the company. The HTC Vive is available now for $799.

Asif Khan is the CEO and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    April 5, 2016 10:42 AM

    Asif Khan posted a new article, HTC Vive Review: The Best VR Experience Right Now

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 10:46 AM

      Totally unbiased ;)

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      April 5, 2016 11:00 AM

      Good article!

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      April 5, 2016 11:18 AM

      Watching the Giant Bomb all day long Vive stream.

      Some of the stuff is kinda neat.

      http://www.giantbomb.com/chat/
      https://www.twitch.tv/giantbomb

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:51 AM

        Yea I saw the other thread about that, thanks.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:56 AM

        Their lack of ability to work with Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades was pretty sad. It seems like Anton needs to work on teaching new users the ropes in-game.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:57 AM

        "eat moons, hahaha" - Drew in VR

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 11:18 AM

      Is there a technical reason for the circular hole in the top of the Vive controllers?

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:33 AM

        That's where your dick goes. you made this too easy

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        April 5, 2016 2:05 PM

        I saw some early pic where the guy was holding it with one finger through that hole. I'm not sure that wouldn't block some of the LEDs but maybe the hand model guy didn't know wtf.

        I'm thinking the hole is just to make the thing look lighter, since they were going to have the round part anyway for the leds.

    • rms
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      April 5, 2016 11:20 AM

      Giantbomb just stated the vive & and oculus both aren't worth buying. Hang it up Sharknews, back to reality with you!

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        April 5, 2016 11:38 AM

        Oh well, they must be experts in sucking. Cuz VR is awesome.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 11:43 AM

          awesome and worth buying aren't always the same thing!

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            April 5, 2016 11:44 AM

            "If you are more conscious of cost and are not usually an early adopter, this may be a good time to hold off on a purchase."

            - from my review

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              April 5, 2016 11:57 AM

              there we go, perfect

              • reply
                April 5, 2016 11:59 AM

                Jeff basically said the same thing heh. He was saying how awesome he thought VR is but feels like its a bit lacking in terms of game offerings. There are things and games he really liked but over all, had the same attitude as Asif.

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                April 5, 2016 1:55 PM

                Maybe you should have read the review before commenting on the thread?

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                  April 5, 2016 2:05 PM

                  You're asking a lot of us.

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                    April 5, 2016 2:06 PM

                    Also I have no idea how much 550 grams is. Is that like, 550 bags of weed?

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                      April 5, 2016 2:29 PM

                      Depends on the size of your bag:

                      157.14 1/8 oz bags = 1 Vive HMD

                      78.57 1/4 oz bags = 1 Vive HMD

                      39.29 1/2 oz bags = 1 Vive HMD

                      19.64 1 oz bags = 1 Vive HMD

                      4.91 1/4 lb bags = 1 Vive HMD

                      2.46 1/2 lb bags = 1 Vive HMD

                      1.22 1 lb bags = 1 Vive HMD

                      Anyway you slice it, the Vive is a better buy pound for pound.

                      You happy, stoner?

                    • reply
                      April 5, 2016 3:33 PM

                      About half a liter of water in a light container, or about 6 apples, or about three iphone 6/nexus 5 phones and an iphone 6p, or about one 3DS XL and a 2DS.

                      My favorite though is that it is about the weight of a dress shoe filled with an apple which is then tied with shoelaces to your head.

                  • reply
                    April 5, 2016 2:19 PM

                    You wanna get banned again?

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 2:07 PM

                  I did read the article, but I read a lot of things throughout the day and didn't retain that particular part of the article. And I was commenting on a comment, not the thread in general.

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              April 5, 2016 2:06 PM

              That's like thoughful and measured though. That's like the SmallishFirecracker style of writing.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:55 AM

        The Giantbomb guys were wrong about der_Witcha 3. How could I trust their opinion on VR?

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 11:59 AM

        Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one, be careful who you share yours with, and be very cautious when sharing someone else's.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 3:44 PM

        I can just imagine Jeff delivering the news. He gets so excited about everything new.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 11:33 AM

      Nice! I super excited to try the Vive, but I ordered a day late so I won't see it for a month yet.
      What tripods are you using?
      Also, what's the face sweat situation like? I saw some reddit posts about these guys, https://vrcover.com/shop/ selling headset covers and I'm wondering if they are needed. If I'm going to show this thing off to a bunch of friends, I don't want the foam face gasket getting all nasty.

      Finally, Did you get your hands on a Rift CV1 yet?

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      April 5, 2016 11:41 AM

      I hope they have something at quake con

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      April 5, 2016 11:49 AM

      I told you guys it would 0wn your arse.

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      April 5, 2016 11:50 AM

      "I can confirm that Rocket League runs amazing"

      Glad I could help you unlock the true potential of Vive RL :)

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 12:30 PM

      Still waiting for the killer app. Until then it looks great but I'll hold off.

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      April 5, 2016 1:30 PM

      Great article. Watching Greg play though was kind of hard though. He seemed sort of clueless and didn't have a lot of patience. Watching him play would be the worst way to sell someone on the experience :P

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        April 5, 2016 1:32 PM

        *Great article, though watching Greg play was kind of hard.* haha my brain refuses to edit my grammar.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 1:42 PM

      Why is buying it a no brainer? Just to try a couple tech demos /dk2owner

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 1:49 PM

        Did you miss the part about playing Rocket League on a 250 inch TV?

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        April 5, 2016 1:51 PM

        Also, this pervasive attitude implies that there will never be any software to come out on these platforms. In the meantime, I enjoy The Lab a lot. I will play Xortex everyday and I look forward to more cool software to come from Valve.

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          April 5, 2016 1:56 PM

          Yeah it seems weird that people are acting like the launch titles are literally the only games that will be available for the platform until the next generation.

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          April 5, 2016 2:02 PM

          I'm not implying that at all, you say it's a snap buy...and I think it's a buy if you want a great VR experience in a few small demos and a snap buy when the AAA titles are actually out?

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            April 5, 2016 2:31 PM

            VR enthusiasts have been waiting years for this day. If you are a VR nut, Vive is a buy right now. I guess I wrote more to the perspective of someone who is interested in VR?

            • reply
              April 5, 2016 2:50 PM

              You are right your opening paragraph well qualified the recommendation

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 2:40 PM

          I think that makes it less of a no brainer. Waiting to see if any sort of killer app (and I'd probably need more than one for the price) seems like the no brainer. I've yet to see anything in particular that makes me want to actually buy any of the VR systems or any announcement of future games that really make me want to spend money on it.

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        April 5, 2016 1:56 PM

        Because who doesn't come home after work, hop out of their Telsa, put on a pair of $300 jeans, burr grind some rare indonesian coffee, wander around their spare empty rooms, boot up their $1k plus PC, and think, "I wonder how I could spend $800 on an sensory depriving and isolating entertainment experience that will likely be involved in a coming console war for exclusive content despite the hardware being obsolete within a year?"

        No brainer.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 1:59 PM

          All hardware is obsolete in a year, and there won't be any exclusive content from the valve side (which is why they should be supported). It's $800 for a holodeck. Sorry about your poor.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 2:01 PM

            It isn't exclusive, it just requires X feature of Vive for the full experience. Which means that either developers ignore X feature get the largest market share, take kickbacks from HTC/Valve a la Nvidia/AMD wars, or it is essentially a console exclusive if it makes use of them.

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              April 5, 2016 2:02 PM

              Oculus will have touch later this year. It's a non-issue.

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                April 5, 2016 2:05 PM

                Of course. And then it won't be an issue because we will get all those awesome control agnostic titles like the Wii, Kinect, Move got. (yeah, there were a couple...not exactly game changers).

                Non-issue.

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 2:07 PM

                  I have no idea what you're going on about. Please stop. I'm sorry an HMD murdered and raped your family in front of you, but you have to let these things go.

            • reply
              April 5, 2016 2:08 PM

              The Vive roomscale lighthouses and the Oculus optical sensor perform basically the same task, it's just the optical sensor doesn't have as big of an area. You can still get up and move around with the Oculus. So they wouldn't have to ignore anything, you just wouldn't be able to utilize the space around you as much if playing on an oculus.


              Also, it's been stated by Oculus devs that oculus is capable of roomscale just like Vive. If it turns out being the HTC's killer feature and is more successful than the Rift, I'm sure Oculus will work on and provide an option for consumers to upgrade to roomscale capabilites. Along with Rift's motion controllers, it will pretty much put it on equal footing with the Vive.

              I understand that it's a lot of money you don't want to spend but the developers already thought of these things you're saying.

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                April 5, 2016 2:10 PM

                If you are a game developer though, how do you design your game around that? Around the Occulus promises? Around the Vive capabilities? As a bonus feature of your game that is largely inconsequential to how it actually plays?

                They can think out all they want. It doesn't change the effect of market share on software development. I could pitch you on how great an idea developing for Windows Phone is too, doesn't change how few developers think it is worthwhile.

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 2:13 PM

                  What you are saying doesn't exist. Games developed in something like Unreal or Unity are trivial to make work on either headset.

                  • reply
                    April 5, 2016 2:15 PM

                    Show up on their screens is not exactly the same as making the mechanics of the game work for optimal experiences on both.

                    • reply
                      April 5, 2016 2:17 PM

                      Actually, in this case it is the same. So just stop it.

                      • reply
                        April 5, 2016 2:18 PM

                        Link?

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                          April 5, 2016 2:21 PM

                          I'm not going to link you the history of VR development. Go do some research and educate yourself.

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                            April 5, 2016 2:23 PM

                            So as a potential consumer this is a no-brainer because I should have read up on the programming development of VR and portability of code related to game mechanics which somehow aren't tied to hardware limitations.

                            Good to know. No brainer sure is a broad phrase.

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                              April 5, 2016 2:24 PM

                              Read the article posted. Purchasing the HTC Vive is a no-brainer if you already have a PC with the minimum specifications and have the $799 to spend. If you are more conscious of cost and are not usually an early adopter, this may be a good time to hold off on a purchase

                              You very obviously fall into the latter catagory, so move the fuck on and stop posting.

                              • reply
                                April 5, 2016 2:28 PM

                                You will notice my parody.

                                Someone with a $1k plus pc, extra rooms in your house, and can live a life with luxuries for this type of experience.

                                Pretty much what I wrote. The article just softens it so more people think this applies to them.

                                Most people should probably stop reading after "I understand this first generation is meant for early adopters like myself. "

                                Because in more blatant terms that says "If you don't have $800 to piss away on entertainment that might not be worth it in a year, you probably shouldn't be buying this."

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 2:01 PM

          That last part is basically every game console except they're usually obsolete when they're released.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 2:02 PM

            I wouldn't classify consoles as no brainers either.

            • reply
              April 5, 2016 2:10 PM

              Sorry, also pretty much every piece of technology is obsolete within a year of buying it. Might as well not buy anything ever.

              • reply
                April 5, 2016 2:12 PM

                The question is how long they will keep developing software for your outdated expensive tech. Otherwise it is a toy for those with a lot of disposable income. AKA not a no brainer for most people.

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                  April 5, 2016 2:23 PM

                  It's a no brainier for people with jobs, who are interested in VR, and have a computer capable of supporting it. It's a niche product right now, and if anyone bothered to read TMWTB's review he says just that.

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                    April 5, 2016 2:39 PM

                    I have a job a computer that can handle it and am interested in VR but it's hardly s no brainier. Software is king plus motion sickness. I can easily wait more years for things to standardize.

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                  April 5, 2016 2:24 PM

                  The games are actually being run on a computer that can be upgraded independently from the headset. The headsets are basically just the control input and video display. I don't really see the general concept of how VR is controlled or displayed changing drastically in the near future.

                  What I'm saying is, newer headsets will obviously come out, and they'll likely have better screens, lighter weight, less cable management, etc, but I highly doubt that they'll significantly change the way that VR games are played as established by the Rift and Vive. You'll probably still be able to play newer games on it, just maybe not as crisp/lightweight/wireless as a newer headset.

                  Of course I'm not a prophet and this is a new technology in video games that's really unlike anything I've seen since I've started paying attention to video games (late 80s). We don't know how well it will catch on, but at the same time I've seen pushes for VR in the past and none have even come close to what we're seeing now. I really don't think VR is going away though.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 2:19 PM

            Yeah like the PS2 that was selling like hotcakes for 10+ years.

            It's not really a solid prediction that these things will have a vast software library that works forever like a console. Many of these comparisons are all pretty apple's and orange-like.

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              April 5, 2016 2:21 PM

              Sony didn't obsolete their hardware with a new product at a comparable price nearly as fast as we expect VR manufacturers to do.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 2:05 PM

          My friend, you are projecting!

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 2:07 PM

          Wow your bias makes my post positively sound like a VR fanboy

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          April 5, 2016 2:13 PM

          little too close to home there

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          April 5, 2016 2:19 PM

          so contrarian, so enlightened

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 2:26 PM

          are you sure you're not the Archvile?

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          April 5, 2016 2:46 PM

          "Many of our readers ask me if they should buy the Vive right now, and my answer will always be that it depends.

          Purchasing the HTC Vive is a no-brainer if you already have a PC with the minimum specifications and have the $799 to spend. If you are more conscious of cost and are not usually an early adopter, this may be a good time to hold off on a purchase."


          - from my review

          1. I wear cargo pants that cost 25 bucks.
          B. I drink green tea and mint tea mixed which I buy at Von's.
          III. I don't think you are gonna last here much longer.
          Four. It is spelled Tesla.
          Cinco. I work from home.
          Six (in French). All consumer electronics are planned obsolete.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 2:53 PM

            * R E K T ' D *

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 2:54 PM

            Yeah, I had two typos. It wasn't meant as a personal attack on you. I included a lot of the usual Shack-elite cliches.

            My point about obsolescence is that these manufacturers are planning on obsoleting this product quickly. Not uncommon sure, but most products are not as software dependent as VR. No one would recommend buying the PS5 if it was going to have a PS6 coming a year after it. No one.

            I think a lot of your review is excitement about something you personally find incredible. While that's fine (it is your website man, I can't tell you what to do with it), running a review like this for a something like a Titan X would be pointless and you don't see shack doing many if any high end tech reviews.

            My post was meant as a snide parody of the set of standards you set up for this to be a no-brainer. You set it up in the first paragraph saying this is an early adopter product. There is no way this is a recommendation for the majority of shack readership to buy if we add up all the qualifications you put on no-brainer. That was the point of my parody. I am glad you like it and I look forward to reading more about your experiences, but I don't think the evangelizing is realistic for at least this generation and your list of qualifications supports that.

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              April 5, 2016 2:55 PM

              The headset isn't the same as a console. It's a display device, not the hardware responsible for running the games.

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              April 5, 2016 3:00 PM

              Why do you think not many people on this website have a powerful gaming PC and 800 bucks to spend on a piece of technology they might have been waiting on for years? Tons of people on this website have 970s, 980s and powerful processors. Is that really so hard to believe?

              The qualifications in his no-brainer statement are pretty clear. Your post just came off as supremely dick-ish. If nobody understands your intentions, then maybe you should reevaluate your intentions.

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                April 5, 2016 3:01 PM

                Have shack (not chatty) throw up a survey. Let's see.

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                  April 5, 2016 3:08 PM

                  Also, high end pcs will be far more common here than

                  "$799 to spend" on such a limited piece of hardware (by its library, intended lifespan, and motion sickness related issues, etc).

                  and

                  "enough space in your home."

                  Remember to include those in the survey.

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                    April 5, 2016 3:13 PM

                    I'll get right on that, champ.

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                    April 5, 2016 3:18 PM

                    Here, I think this is your wheelhouse.

                    http://www.wsj.com/articles/oculus-rift-review-vrs-rising-star-isnt-ready-for-the-mainstream-1459173888

                    But that isn't the audience Asif was writing for.

                  • reply
                    April 5, 2016 3:22 PM

                    You keep talking about the space. You don't have to utilize the entire roomscale space with Vive. Most games I've seen take play space limitations into consideration and give you alternate methods of moving around.

                    I'm assuming you didn't watch any of the giantbomb livestream since you seem pretty set on convincing yourself that VR is going to be a failure. They actually didn't move around much while playing. Spun around in circles mostly.

                    As for price, it's all subjective. In my opinion, $800 is kind of a bargain for the experience Vive provides. I've been looking forward to something like this since I was a kid. I also put video games above most things in life so there's that. If something better comes in a couple years I can see myself buying that also, just like I buy a new cellphone every couple years. For me, it's worth the price. But I can understand some people who aren't as taken in by the novelty of it all and don't feel like it's worth it.

                  • reply
                    April 5, 2016 5:26 PM

                    You're right, I don't have 799 to spend on a vive or occulus rift. I did, however, just spent around 750 on a Brazilian Pernambuco bow two weeks ago :)

                    People might not have money to spend on computer gadgets, but it doesn't mean they don't have money period, or that they don't want to read about it.

                    The shack is a diverse bunch - some are oldies at the end of their careers with a ton of retirement money. Some are midcareer, launching games, browsers, coding sites, fixing things. Some just mow the lawn at home and watch netflix all day.

                    Why does it matter whether anyone on shack can or want to buy this thing or not? Reading about it is part of the joy.

                    Have some fun TraptNSuit. Maybe someone ought to white elephant this guy and send him 5K worth of computer gear.

                • reply
                  April 5, 2016 3:34 PM

                  Man I live on here and you act like a dick sometimes. You might want to calm down on it. Everyone here is usually excellent to each other so maybe you should follow suit. Get it? Suit. I've made some of the best buds in the world on here and I think you'd get a lot more out of this community in terms of good conversation if you maybe read over what you type before you post and ask yourself "Does this come across as smarmy, condescending, or asshole-ish? Would I want somebody to say this shit to me if I had posted some random comment?"

                  I get what you were saying about how it's a toy for rich folks and that's fine but you need to consider that lots of people on here are well off and have the money to blow on frivolous things such as the Vive so your comment isn't going to be well received. I'm poor and I throw jabs at the baller crew on here but I try to be subtle about it and not cross that line in to personal attack territory, if that makes any sense.

                  • reply
                    April 5, 2016 5:41 PM

                    I'm pretty poor but I'm going to make it work, which means selling my body. 40,000 or so more gigs and I'll have enough.

              • reply
                April 5, 2016 3:03 PM

                His intentions are to very clearly to upstage the "How many dumb posts can I make in a thread" record, something he will have to pry from my cold dead hands.

            • reply
              April 5, 2016 3:02 PM

              U wut m9

            • reply
              April 5, 2016 11:18 PM

              You're making a lot of justifications for a silly, pedantic argument. He's not evangelizing it, he specifically stated if you have the money to spend. That means spare cash you can throw at fun shit and not worry about it. So may wasted words.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 3:25 PM

            1. I wear cargo pants that cost 25 bucks.

            Nice humblebrag

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 4:22 PM

            hashtag rekt

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 4:27 PM

            Post of the day

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 3:00 PM

          Rude.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 3:21 PM

          Damn it my TraptNSuit filter broke again.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 4:01 PM

            Arguing with him is always the first mistake.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 4:16 PM

            His shenanigans are too entertaining for me to put him on a filter.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 9:22 PM

          Isolating... just like the internet is isolating?

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 10:03 PM

          I don't get why you keep coming back if you hate the community.

        • reply
          April 6, 2016 12:55 AM

          I think your $1k PC is the only spot you missed the mark. I mean, my tower alone is worth more than $1k and I'm a poor. Bump that to $5k+ to match the rest of your demographic here.

        • reply
          April 6, 2016 1:13 AM

          1) For.someone who doesn't want an isolating experience you do a pretty good job of isolating yourself from the pack

          2) Indonesian coffee costs like $2 a kilo (I'm in Indonesia right now)

          3) Asif doesn't wear any pants when home.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 1:52 PM

      All vive games look like cheap indie titles, Oculus has the best VR games out there (although they're not perfect but still better from what we saw so far for the vive)

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 4:50 PM

        I think Oculus did that on purpose- they really pruned out the shaky glitchy apps so new people wouldn't form an opinion based on that. The result is there's not very much on the store right now but it's all solid. At least they put a settings option to allow outside apps or not.

        Steam VR needs someone to go through the apps and check all the tags, because there's stuff on the Steam VR store tagged as Rift compatable that doesn't work on 1.3 oculus sdk. (not that Valve has any motivation to do that right now of course)

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 2:06 PM

      The software library doesn't seem to be quite there yet to justify a purchase. Most of them seem to be glorified tech demos and proof of concepts so adopting VR right now is kinda like getting in on early access. I bet this time next year we'll have some solid stuff and the price will come down. I'm still waiting to see the day we see a major AAA developer get behind a VR project and make a full-on game, not just indie stuff and sandboxes to play around in.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 4:44 PM

        They're coming. I know Ubisoft has stuff in the works. But I'm with you. I'm going to wait it out till next hardware cycle. There will be more (full) games and hopefully video cards more easily capable of running them without issue.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 2:08 PM

      All this is making me sad with my Rift CV1 and no motion control. There's only like 4 things on the SteamVR store that will load with only a xbox controller TT

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 2:39 PM

      Great review! Just noticed a typo in the second sentence of the second paragraph in the HMD section - " pronlonged periods in the Vive."

      pr0n hehehe

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 2:58 PM

      Asif, did you ever ask vive or rift about my WiFi router backpack question?

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 3:33 PM

      Excellent review

    • Ziz
      reply
      April 5, 2016 4:19 PM

      So what's your field of view when wearing em? Do you see the black around the screens or just see screen?

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 4:56 PM

        The specs state 110 degrees FOV. I don't notice any black space. I do notice the screen door effect in some titles running on the 2D display mode. I couldn't make out the Rocket League chat last night, for example.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 4:56 PM

        I would imagine it's similar to the dk2 if you used that. So it's gonna be like you're wearing glasses. Hopefully the second gen of the device will fix that, but you're looking at another year or two before that will happen.

    • rms
      reply
      April 5, 2016 5:15 PM

      You mention weight at 550g, presumably without all of the cable. Is there an official weight for the Rift?

    • rms
      reply
      April 5, 2016 5:32 PM

      BTW, some typos noticed while reading:
      pronlonged
      exaccerbates
      full on (full-on)
      VR .
      differeniates
      (no comparison of SteamVR with Oculus Home UI?)
      (Also, $799 is not a total cost. My US pre-order is $890, almost 50% higher than a Rift)

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 5:42 PM

      HTC vive is very very good. I still love Eve and Lucky's tale but damn room scale > *

      Also cannot get the damn phone to pair to save my life O_o

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 5:45 PM

        Looks like eve will be on the vive:

        http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/5/11370324/eve-valkyrie-htc-vive

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 5:55 PM

          Oculus needs some BIG exclusives if they are going to keep their store closed.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 6:20 PM

        Me neither!

        I get stuck on the last step. The Windows app says Finishing Up and tells me to go back to the Vive iOS app. I do so, then click Next, but the app just stays on the screen that tells you to open Settings.

        iPhone 6S here.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 8:36 PM

          Is there a Vive iOS app?

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 9:24 PM

            Looks like it got pulled...

            • reply
              April 5, 2016 10:18 PM

              Yeah, probably because it doesn't work. :/ .. but small potatoes, more shooting things kthxggbye

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 5:48 PM

      Just got Fedex notification for Thursday delivery! Excitement is bittersweet since I have to catch a flight at 6:30pm that afternoon and won't return until Sunday but OH WELL YAY VIVE.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 6:09 PM

      I did not see a sick Greg, but angry Greg was worth it! Good review, looks like everyone is having fun with it.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 6:31 PM

      I need to ask some VR dudes something:

      Every VR demo I've seen for the Vive usually has you staying somewhat stationary, or within the confines of a small area that matches your potential room area, or that one game that uses teleporting to get around.

      If a proper FPS comes out for the Vive, is the idea of standing , but using a direction button on the control pads to move forward a recipe for getting instantly sick? Or if not sick, does it just feel wrong, as though you're a kind of floating head?

      I'm just worried about the movement limitations that seem to be present within all these vive games.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 6:52 PM

        You get sick and this is not a Vive problem, it's a VR problem, sitting down makes no difference. I don't think teleporting is bad, you'd do it IRL if you could.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 8:36 PM

          Not everyone gets sick from moving around...I've had 3 people use my DK2 and none of them got sick from it (though I'm not sure that I count since I seem to be completely immune to the whole motion sickness thing with it).

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 8:38 PM

          I hear this, and then I see people catapulting themselves around with grappling hooks in windlands. I think most developers are probably just being intentionally cautious at launch.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 9:28 PM

          Jeff (of GiantBomb) said this isn't so, for him at least. So many of the room experience games are just elaborate shooting galleries with no depth.

          • reply
            April 5, 2016 10:08 PM

            yeah they are hardcore gamers, though, and happen to be mostly immune to motion sickness.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 7:07 PM

        The current touch solution is to teleprt your play area to where you want it to be. An example would be budget cuts

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwtEw2ggPnA

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 7:18 PM

          Holy crap. That game looks like it would be amazing in VR.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 8:01 PM

          That looks super cool.

          • reply
            April 6, 2016 4:28 AM

            There is a demo out and I played through most of it. I thought I would be clipping through everything but you'd be surprised how much your brain stops you.

            Video doesn't do it justice.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 7:10 PM

        I played Half Life 2 VR while standing and used the analog stick to move. I think most of the time I was fine, although certain motions did lead to motion sickness. For example, there was this bobbing elevator that I was on which really turned my stomach. However, most of the experience was fantastic, especially the gunplay with the motion controls (Razer Hydra).

        I think the omni-directional treadmill solution is one avenue to address movement in VR, although I only know of the Virtuix Omni, which is still has not been released except for beta testers.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 7:11 PM

        Look at the hover Junkers video on shacknews YouTube. It lets you move around a large space by carefully controlling acceleration and giving you a reference for your motion. A "pure" FPS won't be possible any time soon.

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 10:05 PM

        Proper FPS have no business in VR.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 11:23 PM

          Hover Junkers is an FPS. At this point it Quake/CoD/Battlefield/etc. would be a clusterfuck. Maybe the qualifier is competitive FPS games?

          • reply
            April 6, 2016 2:52 AM

            That's no proper FPS where it's all about speed and jumping and turning. I mean a "pure" FPS.

        • reply
          April 6, 2016 2:55 AM

          That's disappointing because I thought that's what it was going to be used for. Most of us here love FPS games and it just seems like it'd naturally be a fit for VR.

          • reply
            April 6, 2016 4:06 AM

            Classic FPS games that you'd otherwise play with a controller or mouse+keyboard feel plain weird with VR.

            A bit part of what's awesome with VR is the natural head motion, being able to look around and turn your head freely like you can do in real life. When you add in a controller and the traditional dual stick layout, suddenly you're moving your head around without actually moving your head. It feels super odd and not natural at all.

            Standard center-of-screen-as-aim doesn't really work either, you expect to be able to look in one direction and shoot in another.

            Situations where your body is mostly stationary work great, on the other hand - i.e. anything that has you in a driver or pilot seat is pretty fantastic.

          • reply
            April 6, 2016 4:38 AM

            Dude, the most exciting thing about VR is that completely new genres will emerge. Stop trying to drag everything existing into it (with the exception of sandbox games and simulators with cockpits).

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 10:36 PM

        You get sick if you are a pleb. If you won the genetic lotto like I did you can sit, stand, lay down and even hang off the couch upside-down and be a'ok.

        So the answer is yes VR will evolve for now to be a predominantly sitting affair, 8-10 years from now when movement in games has been completely redesigned it will return to a standing experience.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 7:45 PM

      Is this by one of the new writers? ; )

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 8:38 PM

      Watching my wife play space pirate trainer is hilarious...

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 8:52 PM

        That game is far more awesome than I expected. I have no idea where the shield is or how to get scores as high as the leaderboard.

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 9:19 PM

          You get the shield by grabbing it from your back over your shoulder like an arrow. Apparently

        • reply
          April 5, 2016 10:17 PM

          I couldn't figure out the shield either! Man is it fun though. I accidentally unplugged the vive from the breakout box I got so worked up. That is the one thing about this thing, not designed for high speed movements :|

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 9:23 PM

        My wife is playing theblu every other word is "oh my god" and "what the fuck"

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 10:03 PM

      One thing I'm curious about is has either company talked about when they will release new hardware? Is there a plan for an yearly cadence like most electronics nowadays?

      • reply
        April 5, 2016 10:08 PM

        Nobody is going to do this. If they did they would erode sales on current products that they need to make back their investment on

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 10:29 PM

      Yo briefcase man. I agree the Vive is better overall, but man, I wish it had integrated speakers, and was as easy to take on and off compared to the Rift. The comfort and image quality are just slightly better on the Rift. But the Vive has a wider field of view, and your choice of headphones (which I guess is good). But the rift's headphones are freaking awesome for how small they are.

    • reply
      April 5, 2016 11:18 PM

      Awesome review man! Damn this review has a lot of content, vids and info its super in depth thanks for all the effort. You put a massive amount of work into this, thanks.

      So I take it you really happy right now with your Vive? :)

      Man can you imagine what the next hardware will be like and by that time what GPUs and CPUs we will have to drive it? Its going to be amazing.

      I really hope someone makes VR gloves that you put on like a Spider Man suit but just the hands or upper body. Really there should be a whole full body top that you put on and the long sleeve shirt and gloves that are the controls that monitors your movement(aka VR motion controls). To me this has to be the number one priority next to take VR to the EPIC level and 100% what I think is lacking. Or make some sort of mesh thing you put on that stretches on your upper body and can map the dimensions of your upper body into a 3D mess and then sync to the game as a control interface. This would work really well. So like plastic stretchy chicken wire but its not wire.

      Also everyone should be forced to show your entire hands in VR FPS games and they should be mapped to your real hand movement(hence the jacket hand controller). WTF is up with just your hands cut off or no hands at all and just floating items that is pretty mental :(. I think this is a big issue right now. Does that bother you at all?

      Anyways sounds like awesome first gen tech, enjoy!

      • reply
        April 6, 2016 3:12 AM

        I remember F.E.A.R. by Monolith being one of the first (that correct?) games to show the full body. That was pretty cool. Not perfect - but still something. I hear what you are saying.
        If they were to build such a 'jacket hand controller' - then the next obvious step would be to include tactile feedback! Once we get these two things working properly, then VR will be taken to the next level for real.

        http://allaboutroboticsurgery.com/forcehapticfeedback.html

    • reply
      April 6, 2016 1:17 AM

      This makes me feel like my purchase decision has been vindicated.

      As the Vive is basically at price parity with the Rift in Australia, the small number of exclusives are all the Rift has going for it over the Vive.

    • reply
      April 6, 2016 2:51 AM

      Nice write-up

    • reply
      April 6, 2016 9:24 AM

      No thank you.