HTC Vive: Virtual reality headset finally delivered to customers

Although the Vive wasn't hit with the same production problems as the Oculus Rift, shipping issues have persisted

Doug Bolton
Tuesday 05 April 2016 17:18 BST
A woman uses the HTC Vive at Mobile World Congress in February 2016
A woman uses the HTC Vive at Mobile World Congress in February 2016 (JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

The first HTC Vive headsets have been delivered to customers, a week after the Oculus Rift began shipping.

The Vive began life as a prototype created by developers at the Valve game studio in 2014, and has been highly awaited ever since.

To mark the occasion, HTC hand-delivered the headset to their first Taiwanese customer, Professor Lin Xuan from Taiwan's National Chengchi University, a stone's throw from the company's headquarters in Taipei.

HTC successfully managed to ship a lot of headsets to some pre-ordering customers in time for the 5 April launch day, but large numbers of Vive fans, especially those in Europe, have no idea when their devices will arrive.

At the very least, the Vive doesn't seem to have been afflicted with the same production problems as the Rift - Oculus emailed customers last week to say a "component shortage" may delay some deliveries, and a number of people have criticised the company for poor communication.

However, the Vive's launch isn't going entirely smoothly - some pre-ordering customers complained their payments had been declined by their banks and cancelled by HTC, a fault which the company put down to a processing error.

Shipping problems have persisted, especially for customers who paid by card, rather than PayPal. HTC has been hit with complaints about poor customer service, seemingly non-existent 'express' delivery and a lack of shipping information. The Independent has contacted the company for more information.

Priced at £689, the Vive is more expensive than the Rift, its main rival in the high-end VR market. However, it comes with two motion-tracking controllers which players can use as 'hands' during games, rather than the stock Xbox One controller bundled with the Rift.

The battle between the Rift and the Vive is VR's first platform war, although the different headsets may appeal to different consumers.

Based purely on the list of launch games, the VR experience on the Rift is more grounded in traditional gaming. Games on the Vive, on the other hand, seem to take more advantage of the immersive possibilities of VR, even if they don't have quite as much depth.

But there's more similarities than differences between the two, and the gap should be narrowed further when Oculus releases its own motion-tracking controllers later this year

This article was updated on 6 April to add more information about shipping problems.

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