The HTC Vive launched to the consumer market on April 5 this year. So far, the primary focus for the platform has been gaming, but it appears HTC is gearing up for the enterprise sector to jump on board by announcing the Vive BE (Business Edition), which is intended for corporate and commercial use.
The consumer version of the HTC Vive is now readily available for anyone to purchase, and the backlog of orders has recently been cleared. You can order a kit today and get it early next week, and perhaps even before the weekend. Orders are being shipped within a three-day window, but you still can’t order more than one at a time, which is not ideal for a company wishing to move into VR that needs several units.
The consumer version of the Vive also carries a limited warranty that expressly states that if you use the hardware for any commercial purposes, the warranty will be void. That’s a steep price to pay for a small company that wants to incorporate virtual reality technology. If VR is really going to change the way we work, not just play, businesses need to be able to acquire the hardware and innovate and build.
Thus, the Vive BE also includes commercial licensing, which means you’ll be able to profit from the Vive without losing your warranty coverage. The package also includes 12 months of coverage and a dedicated Business Edition support line. The Vive BE is still subject to limitations that aren’t covered, though, such as damage from mishandling, getting the hardware wet, and even using it outside. The complete list of limitations can be found here.
The Vive BE hardware package is mostly the same as the consumer edition hardware. You get the Vive BE HMD, which to our knowledge is the same hardware as the consumer version; two Vive BE controllers; two Base Stations; and all the cables you need to operate it. The only difference appears to be the addition of two more face cushions. The Vive BE package includes two thick cushions and two thin ones, as opposed to one of each with the consumer version.
HTC is asking $1,200 for the Vive BE package and the privilege to use the hardware in a commercial setting. The package will be available this month in the U.S., Canada, UK, Germany and France, and it will be available globally in the coming weeks. HTC isn't taking online orders for the Vive BE, but you can find the contact information here if you wish to inquire about a purchase.