Skip to main content

Hands-On With The HTC Vive

The Wrap-Up

Before trying the Vive, a colleague told me about his Vive experience, so I did know what to expect, and I was worried that I had spoiled the impact of my experience by doing this. However, I had nothing to fear. No words, mine nor anyone else's, no matter how good, can come close to describing the experience of Vive. It is often said you have to try something to truly appreciate it, and Vive is that times one thousand.

Even though I had not used any of the other VR solutions prior to Vive, I wasn’t a skeptic. From everything I had read, I knew VR is real, amazing, and here to stay. But now that I’ve lost my virginity, I’ve moved my enthusiasm to the next level. I want to experience VR as much as I can, and I then want to grab the nearest person and passionately tell them why it is the most amazing thing ever. I’ve gone from being a Christian that doesn’t go to church to a full-on evangelist!

I remember when I got my first home computer as a child, turning it on for the first time, and being in awe at the potential that was in front of me. After trying the Vive I felt that same level of wonder, and I haven’t felt like that about any technology for a very long time. As a long time science fiction fan, I never thought I’d be able to experience in my lifetime the kind of virtual world written about in books like Neuromancer and Snow Crash. While the experience of the Vive is still far removed from what William Gibson and Neal Stephenson described in their books, I now know that it won’t be too long before VR technology will be at that level. That both excites and scares me!

I hope that this article has at least given you a small taste of what it's like to use the Vive. While it’s unknown if HTC and Valve will allow the public to try out what they're are showing now, I’m sure there be a chance for others to experience Vive sooner rather than later [Editor's Note: there actually was such an event in L.A. just recently at the VRLA Spring Expo]. For me, it's jumped right to the top of my must have list, and its release date later this year cannot come soon enough.

You can learn more about the HTC Vive and sign up for updates on the official site here.

Follow Alex Davies @alexbdavies. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • CaedenV
    It is going to be pretty hard to figure out which VR headset to pick up next year. First I need to get a newer GPU to drive one though... no way my old GTX570 is going to be pushing two 1200p+ displays, especially at 90Hz lol.
    Reply
  • vertigo_2000
    I'm sold, take my money.
    Reply
  • spladam
    You cried? They moved you to tears with this tech? It sounds cool, but how do you know you are not still in VR?
    Reply
  • zerghumper
    Ok here's my question and no article on the Vive / Valve VR that I've read so far has answered it:

    Will games have to be written from the ground up to support the Vive, or like the Oculus Rift, can support be modded into a game? I know most of the features Vive brings to the table wouldn't be supported, but what about head-tracking? This is the one reason this decision is so difficult for me. I keep seeing developers being blown away by the Vive, but I wonder, will I be able to use it to go play minecraft, STALKER, Alien Isolation, and other games that already do support the Oculus?

    Either way this future excites me and I can't wait to see what games get made with this system in mind!
    Reply
  • DelightfulDucklings
    The main thing I want to know is if there will be a Vive that excludes the movement sensors as I personally don't have the space where my PC is setup to stand up and move around at all so I will be only able to sit. I'm sure they must have thought of this but I just haven't seen it mentioned much
    Reply
  • Hector M Torres
    Sitting inside a giant MecWarrior or flying a Space Fighter ( with simulated full 360 degree range of view/movement will be awesome ) , Tank battles , flying Jet fighters, i can see a few great games made so much better with this new tech,I can't wait !
    Reply
  • alex davies
    Ok here's my question and no article on the Vive / Valve VR that I've read so far has answered it:

    Will games have to be written from the ground up to support the Vive, or like the Oculus Rift, can support be modded into a game? I know most of the features Vive brings to the table wouldn't be supported, but what about head-tracking? This is the one reason this decision is so difficult for me. I keep seeing developers being blown away by the Vive, but I wonder, will I be able to use it to go play minecraft, STALKER, Alien Isolation, and other games that already do support the Oculus?

    Either way this future excites me and I can't wait to see what games get made with this system in mind!

    The Vive use's Valve's SteamVR platform, which is a set of APIs that any developer can support in their games, and any or all aspects of the platform can be incorporated. So if there is a game that just needs to use the Vive's head-tracking feature, there is no reason a developer can't just support that one feature.

    From what I understand the Vive is the first of hopefully many solutions built on SteamVR. There may be different versions of the Vive from HTC themselves (such as a kit without the controllers etc.), or there may be cheaper headsets from other manufacturers that are built on SteamVR.

    Either way, I think if one is questioning if games that currently support Oculus now will also support SteamVR in the future, I would say most definitely. That is, other than platform exclusives, which there surely will be a few of -- for example, I'm pretty sure EVE: Valkyrie will be Oculus and Morpheus only.
    Reply
  • alex davies
    The main thing I want to know is if there will be a Vive that excludes the movement sensors as I personally don't have the space where my PC is setup to stand up and move around at all so I will be only able to sit. I'm sure they must have thought of this but I just haven't seen it mentioned much

    I'm sure there'll either be a Vive starter kit minus the controllers, or another OEM will partner with Valve to make an entry-level SteamVR headset for sit down only gaming experiences.
    Reply
  • gaborbarla
    Interesting read Alex, I think now you need to quickly go and test the latest version of Oculus and give us feedback on it. I have disappointing review of the Vive before and glad to hear that you found the opposite. I really want this technology to succeed and we need fast and accurate tracking, high Hz, Hi-res screens, and no motion sickness. From your article it seems like they are on track with achieving this. Hope they don't scale it down due to commercial reasons. I rather spend 500-1000USD and get something decent. Anyways a comparison to the competitors from your perspective would be great. If I remember correctly the Vive requires some sensors/reflectors to be installed in the room where you use it which is something that we can get rid of eventually for sure.
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    Ill wait untill there is a comparison by someone who I can call unbiased (dont know this reviewr, but Id better make sure).
    I will buy a VR, no doubt, but want the best one, even if I have to overpay a bit.
    I want to run it at high fps, no motion sickness, etc etc etc.
    Then I will fire up crysis for my unsuspecting new lady friend :D.
    Reply