HTC reveals two new VR headsets_ the untethered Vive Cosmos and gaze-tracking Vive Pro Eye - News - Digital Arts

A few months back we went to look at HTCrsquo;s newnbsp;Vive Focus_ a clunky standalone headset that stumbled through all the demos we tried. It didnrsquo;t impress us much_ to say the pliantest ndash; and that was a shame_ owing HTC needs something to opposed Oculusrsquo;s upcoming standalone Quest headset. Much as we love PCs_ the Questrsquo;s glossy wireless VR is forcible sufficient that wersquo;ve already hypothesised it ldquo;could be the<_em> VR headset moving advanced.rdquo;

Luckily HTC gets a second try. At CES_ HTC hosted a pliant press discussion that revealednbsp;multiple<_em>nbsp;new pieces of hardware: The Vive Cosmos and Vive Pro Eye. Details on both were skimpy_ but possibly HTCrsquo;s finally landed upon a peculiar Oculus Quest rival.

Vive Cosmos

Letrsquo;s cover the more interesting announcement leading_ yeah? The Vive Cosmos is a semi-standalone headset_ designed for easy setup and long-term comfort. It is_ if we extrapolate a bit_ a direct rival to the Oculus Quest ndash; or the closest wersquo;re going to get from HTC.

Yoursquo;ll notice I said ldquo;semi-standalone.rdquo; Thatrsquo;s probably the most interesting hook for the Vive Cosmos. We didnrsquo;t get many details during the show_ but it sounds as if the Cosmos will be able to hook up to your PC for a high-fealty experience_ or<_em> be detached for a more mobile use-case. It doesnrsquo;t look like the Cosmos has wires though_ which makes me amazement whether the late HTC Vive wireless adapter ndash; the one using Intelrsquo;s WiGig tech ndash; is built direct into the headset this time. Thatrsquo;d possibly allow for a PC experience sans-wires<_em> as well as a lightweight mobile experience.

In any case_ tracking is handled by two cameras on the front of the headset. Thatrsquo;s a step down from the Oculus Questrsquo;s four edge-array cameras_ so Irsquo;ll be inquiring to put the Vive Cosmos through its paces at some point. I havenrsquo;t been impressed by any dual-camera setups yet_ be it the Vive Focus ornbsp;the bevy of Windows MR headsets_ but Irsquo;ll reservation decision for now.

We didnrsquo;t get any real specs_ regardless. There were no details on the screen_ nor the audio solution. The controllers look correspondent to the redesigned Vive Focus wands albeit with Tron<_em>-esque light channels almost the outside_ which isnrsquo;t the Oculus Touch rivalnbsp;nation have been hoping for.

The best I can say is the Vive Cosmos has possible. If you asked me right this diminutive Irsquo;d wager the Oculus Quest seems like a bolder and more exciting headset_ but we know so pliant almost the Vive Cosmos itrsquo;s hard to say for sure. Ask me anew behind GDC_ where wersquo;ll presumably get sufficient of hands-on demos.

Vive Pro Eye

Now the confusing part: HTC announcednbsp;two<_em>nbsp;standalone headsets at CES. The Vive Cosmos seems like the more consumer-focused of the two_ and like itrsquo;s being positioned as an Oculus Quest rival.

The Vive Pro Eye seems more enterprise-focused_ even though therersquo;s very pliant to discern it from the Vive Cosmos. Again_ wersquo;ve got a standalone headset with dual front-facing cameras_ allowing for inside-out position tracking.

The interesting hook with the Vive Pro Eye is the inclusion of eye-tracking. Irsquo;m assuming that tech resulted from a union with Tobii_ but HTC didnrsquo;t say for sure_ promising more details later this year. [UPDATE:nbsp;<_powerful>Tobii confirmed behind the fact that it is truly their tech powering the Vive Pro Eye.] Regardless_ yoursquo;ll be able to both navigate the headset and VR experiences with eye-tracking. More importantly_ eye-tracking allows for Dynamic Foveated Rendering_ drastically reducing the accomplishment overhead for VR by rendering areas you arenrsquo;t nimblely looking at in lower fealty. Wenbsp;saw a Tobii demonbsp;last March and were incredibly impressed.nbsp;

That said_ itrsquo;s foreign to see eye-tracking siphoned off to its own Vive headset standard and not included with the Vive Cosmos ndash; especially if the Vive Cosmos is a PC_mobile mixed of sorts. Dynamic Foveated Rendering would theoretically boost accomplishment of those mobile experiences a not-inexpressive amount. It seems like a consummate fit for HTCrsquo;s new flagship_ not an also-ran like the Vive Pro Eye.

Viveport

Lastly_ these were billed as ldquo;major announcementsrdquo; so Irsquo;m sticking them in here_ but...Irsquo;m not so sure. HTC is quiet pushing its own Viveport labor_ a launcher thatrsquo;s correspondent to Oculus Home. HTC keeps shouting_ ldquo;Hey_ did you know you can buy all your VR games through Viveport?rdquo; And then see Vive proprietor is like_ ldquo;Uh...Steam exists.rdquo;

Thatrsquo;s how itrsquo;s been for almost three years now.

But they keep trying. HTCrsquo;s leading hook has been Viveportrsquo;s subscriptionrsquo;s labor_ which allows you to pay $9 a month to play five games of your choosing. Thatrsquo;s how itrsquo;s officeed up until now_ at pliantest. One of HTCrsquo;s ldquo;majorrdquo; announcements at CES is Viveport Infinity_ which restructures the subscription into a more transmitted standard_ allowing you to approach all the games on the labor for a flat monthly fee. No more picking and choosing.

Is it sufficient for me to switch to Viveport? Probably not. But hey_ it could be cool for those who like playing the plianter_ more experimental VR titles. Look for the upgraded Viveport Infinity on April 5.

More interesting is Vive Reality ndash; not owing of how it offices_ but owing of what it represents going advanced. VR launchers were a veritably exciting component two or three years ago_ but in 2019? Not so much. HTC feels pretty late to the party here_ announcing Vive Reality_ a collective hub and_or immersive launcher for Viveport_ as far as I can tell.

At leading I reflection that was the total story_ a non-issue at best. Itrsquo;d be interesting for Viveport users_ but SteamVR makes the total idea superfluous.

But HTC made a big show of the Vive Cosmos being the leading artifice to run Vive Reality ndash; so itrsquo;snbsp;not<_em>nbsp;just a launcher for the Viveport. In fact_ I get the touch HTC is trying to freeze Valve out of the Vive Cosmos entirely. If Irsquo;m reading the room right_ Vive Reality might lock down the Vive ecosystem_ constructing a walled garden almost what was originally a more open headset platform.

Irsquo;m not 100 percent true thatrsquo;s what Vive Reality represents_ but itrsquo;s the most likely exposition I can ponder of. If thatrsquo;s the case_ itrsquo;s a expressive blow to SteamVR ndash; which_ for all Valversquo;s flaws_ is quiet probably my favorite and the most reliable implementation of a VR storefront.

There arenrsquo;t sufficient details though ndash; not for Vive Reality_ not Vive Cosmos_ not Vive Pro Eye_ none of it. Oculus has mastered the art of revealing new products. HTC isnrsquo;t almost as well-oiled a machine. Wersquo;ll keep an eye out for any more tidbits of info from CES_ but failing that? Expect a bunch of news almost GDC_ Irsquo;d take.

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