Sony’s PlayStation VR is no longer the only VR platform with tracked accessory peripherals. HTC is now accepting orders for the Vive Tracker universal tracking device and the first wave of trackable accessories.
At CES 2017, HTC revealed the Vive Tracker, a universal tracking device that would enable you to add SteamVR tracking to almost anything. HTC and its partners showcased a variety of use cases for the Vive Trackers, including several light gun peripherals, a real baseball bat, and a firehose peripheral. The trackers also enable full body tracking for VR avatars, as demonstrated by Cloudgate Studio’s Island 359, and you could even use them to keep track of your pets while you’re wearing your VR HMD.
When HTC unveiled the Vive Tracker, the company said that the device would be available in 2017, but it wouldn’t offer a specific release window. The software and hardware development communities (opens in new tab) have had access to Vive Trackers for the better part of the year (and they took advantage of that). HTC is now ready to offer Vive Trackers to the consumer market. More than a dozen titles now take advantage of the Vive Tracker, and three Vive Tracker accessories will be available in time for the holidays.
“With Vive Tracker, we’ve already seen the tremendous tools and experiences that the development community has created and unleashed into VR,” said Daniel O’Brien, GM US, Vive. “As we launch Tracker to consumers, we’ve lined up a number of developer and hardware partners that are committed to making VR on Vive more immersive than ever before. The Vive Tracker opens up a whole new set of experiences that can take advantage of full body tracking and a number of peripherals that set VR experiences on Vive apart.”
At launch, several games support HTC’s full body tracking system, including Climbey, Holodance, and High Fidelity. Cloudgate Studio is also gearing up for the Vive Tracker launch, with the “Virtual Self” update for Island 359, which should be available on December 1.
To use the Vive Tracker for body tracking, you will need at least two Vive Trackers and a pair of Rebuff Reality’s TrackStraps, which will set you back $25. The TrackStraps package includes a code for a game called Redfoot Bluefoot Dancing.
HTC is asking $99 for each Vive Tracker, which means that you would need to throw down at least $224 to enjoy full body tracking in VR games, and more than $300 if you want the full experience with hip tracking.
You can also purchase Vive Trackers bundled with accessories, which present a somewhat better value. Hyperkin’s Hyper Blaster is a pistol peripheral that pairs with a Vive Tracker to replace one of the Vive wand controllers in FPS games. The Hyper Blaster bundle is available exclusively from Amazon. You can pre-order the set today for $149, and it should ship in mid-December.
HTC said that at launch, six games support the Hyper Blaster, including Arizona Sunshine, Operation Warcade, and Practisim VR. The Hyper Blaster bundle also includes a copy of Stress Level Zero’s Duck Season as a pack-in bonus.
HTC also introduced that Racket Sports Set, which includes a Vive Tracker and two different racket handles. You get a large, weighted racket, which enhances the immersion of tennis games, such as Racket NX, Selfie Tennis, and First Person Tennis. The Racket Sports Set also includes a small paddle, which is perfect for ping pong games, such as Eleven TableTennis VR, and Racket Fury.
The Racket Sports Set is available for $149 at a variety of retailers, including Amazon, Abt Electronics, BH Photo, Fry’s, Gamestop, MicroCenter, and Newegg. Each Racket Sports Set also features a redemption code for Vive Studios’ Virtual Sports: Ping Pong & Tennis.