There are really lots of questions about the Vive 2. HTC Vive is a device that completely changed our way of thinking VR, since it introduced for first full room scale (well, actually us of Immotionar introduced it before them using Kinects, but that’s another story :P) and first true VR controllers.
But HTC Vive is still an expensive device and has to face the fierce competition of Oculus: after Oculus Connect 3 and the following release of Oculus Touch, Oculus now has a competitive advantage over them: the ability to use true ergonomic controllers. Vive has already answered in a great way showcasing some new prototype controllers and releasing with TPCast a device to make Vive wireless, but all hype on reddit now is for Oculus Touch. The competition between the two vendors is high and this is giving us lots of fantastic stuff. But now there is also a new competitor: Microsoft, with its announced super-cheap headsets with inside-out positional tracking.
Lots of people is asking when next generation of headsets will pop up. Vive has already announced some improvements that can reduce the cost of the headset and of the Lighthouse stations and showcased their prototype controllers, as I’ve already said. But their problem is that they’ve released their product just in April, so it would be completely crazy to release a complete new version after only 8 months, with virtual reality that is still fighting to become widely adopted… especially if the new device would be incompatible with the previous one.
But there are lots of rumors for the announcement of a next generation of Vive at CES 2017, so I think that something will surely be announced at that exhibition… but I’m still not sure what. The problem is that if they will announce a Vive 2 headset, lots of people will decide not to buy current Vive and wait for next release. There’s already plenty of people asking on reddit if they have to wait for a next generation and the announcement of a new one will let all them to wait for the Vive 2 and would not be a great commercial move. Vive 1 has still not ended its lifecycle… it is still a technology that rocks. So, let’s make some guess… what can be announced?
- New VR controllers, compatible with current Lighthouse system and already ready for the next-generation one;
- Use of frontal camera for something cool in mixed reality;
- New gadgets to be used with your existing Vive, to transform it into something like a Vive 1.5: new wireless transmitters, something for foveat rendering maybe, or tags to be used for object detection and usage inside VR;
- Some vaporware about the next Vive, but without actually having nothing complete already.
I personally think that Vive v2 will come out in second half of 2017, introducing greater resolution, FOV, better crafted design, more ergonomics, wireless capabilities and a lower price point. This unless competition will force them to change the timing.
All these are my personal speculations… I want you to tell your opinion in the comments! When new Vive will be released? And how will it be?
UPDATE: HTC has announced that it will not announce a Vive 2 at CES 2017. More info at this UploadVR article. So… it seems that I was right with my predictions!
(Header image made mixing logo images by CES and HTC)