HTC VIVE announces updates to its VR portfolio at CES 2019

HTC Vive

HTC VIVE attempts to redefine the VR experience with new hardware, software and content offerings for its VR portfolio.

Starting with VIVE Pro which is designed for professional VR users, HTC VIVE has announced the new Vive Pro Eye, an eye-tracking headset giving users a new level of accessibility including gaze-oriented menu navigation and removing the need for controllers. This allows businesses and developers to gather more data about their training environments, help optimise computer and VR performance and offer product design and research groups unprecedented levels of feedback. 

Although designed for the commercial space, this does open a new experience for gamers as well. This week at CES 2019, Major League Baseball (MLB) debuted the Vive Pro Eye by integrating the eye tracking into the “MLB Home Run Derby VR” video game experience. 

Jamie Leece, senior vice president, Games & VR, Major League Baseball says: “We’ve invested in VR technology to bring fans a fun immersive experience and connection to our game and deliver a new level of engagement through VR game competitions, at-home play and in-ballpark attractions. By integrating eye tracking technology into Home Run Derby VR, we are able to transport this transformative baseball experience to any location without additional controllers needed. Our fans simply operate menus by using their eyes.”

The Vive Pro Eye is due to launch in the second quarter of 2019.

Also announced is an upgrade to the Viveport subscription service, an unlimited subscription for VR allowing members to discover and explore hundreds of virtual destinations anytime with unrestricted access.

Viveport Infinity means members can download and play any of the 500+ titles in the library with no restrictions compared to just five titles a month when the service was first launched. This service is available on any Vive device plus the Oculus Rift and other devices in the Wave Eco-system. 

As well as the launches above, VIVE has also announced the Vive Cosmos, the newst VR headset, and the Vive Reality System, designed to improve the overall user experience. 

The Vive Cosmos requires no base station allowing owners to use it wherever and whenever they want to, redefining how VR is accessed. 

It will be the first headset to feature the Vive Reality system, a reimagined way to experience the virtual world. “The tools and environments that make up Vive Reality System aim to make spatial computing accessible to everyone, wherever their journey into immersive worlds takes them. We want VR to feel less like launching apps and instead like stepping between worlds,” says Drew Bamford, VP, Creative Labs, HTC Vive.

The Vive Reality System will power experiences across the entire Vive product portfolio and will be available first on the Vive Cosmos when they are released later this year.