HTC Vive Focus Plus Includes 6-DoF Controllers, Zero Wires

Credit: HTCCredit: HTC

HTC today introduced the Vive Focus Plus, a standalone VR headset with 6 degrees of freedom (6-DoF) motion controllers, like the upcoming Oculus Quest. However, HTC isn’t trying to steal a piece of Oculus’ cake this time around. The company sees the Vive Focus Plus as a tool for businesses, not a source of home entertainment.

HTC already has the Vive Focus, a $599 standalone VR headset with a high-resolution AMOLED display and powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile SoC to power it. The Vive Focus Plus isn’t really a new headset, just an upgrade to the Vive Focus. The headset still features the aforementioned specs and a 2880x1600 75Hz AMOLED display. It also has inside-out 6-DoF “world-scale” tracking via a pair of front-facing cameras, which gives you the freedom to move around in the virtual world. However, the original Vive Focus was mismatched with a 3-DoF controller, which limited the type of experiences it could handle.

The upcoming Vive Focus Plus controllers appear to be a combination of the original Vive wands and the upcoming Vive Cosmos controllers. Additionally, Vive Focus Plus controllers feature ultrasonic tracking, rather than a light-based tracking solution. They have two trigger buttons, one of which replaces the grip buttons on the original Vive wands. The Vive Focus Plus controllers also include a trackpad and two face buttons, which gives the Vive Focus input parity with the original Vive headset.

HTC said that it would be relatively easy for developers to port their PC-based VR content to the Vive Focus Plus platform. Like all HTC headsets, the Vive Focus Plus is compatible with the company’s Viveport content distribution system. The Vive Focus Plus is also fully compatible with the company’s Vive Wave open VR platform.

However, HTC built in a handful of features that make the device more appealing for business use than personal entertainment. The Vive Focus Plus includes a Kiosk Mode, which would enable developers to lock the headset down to display specific content only. HTC also created device management tools that allow remote monitoring and control of multiple headsets at once, which would be perfect for a classroom training setting.

HTC didn’t reveal the release date for the Vive Focus Plus, and the company isn’t talking about pricing yet. However, the new device should soon be available for developers, and HTC will begin accepting orders for the Vive Focus Plus in Q2 2019.