Valve and HTC’s Vive is the most immediately impressive (and imposing) VR headset on the market. It comes with a price to match: $800. For comparison’s sake, the Oculus Rift is $600, though it will get touch controllers later this year that will probably bring it a lot closer to the Vive in terms of price and functionality. And of course, the Vive’s $800 price tag doesn’t include the powerful gaming PC required to operate it.
Once you’ve got the Vive headset, room sensors, and remote-shaped controllers synced and working, you can walk through a virtual space with your own legs and grab things with your own “hands.” That’s the key differentiator here: while the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR have so far been largely focused on seated experiences, Vive is more focused on standing, walking, grabbing, and bopping.
For the past five days, I’ve spent nearly as much time in virtual reality as real reality. With the Vive set up in my living room, I’ve been everywhere from outer space to Aperture Science’s stark white labs to a quiet beach where I just sat on the ground and listened to the waves. Like, I actually sat on the ground. With my own butt.