Last month, at the CES event, HTC unveiled the second generation SteamVR development kit, which was clearly improved, featuring new controllers and a built-in camera. Preorders for the HTC Vive DK2 have started immediately and now the device is being shipped to the new owners. Developers will have plenty time to create applications and games for the Consumer Edition of the Vive, which will go up for preorder on February 29.
The Vive Pre VR headset will be much improved over the first generation Developer Edition, but HTC will bring other changes to the Consumer Edition, which is believed to be shipped in April, after preorders will start at the end of this month. The Pre was a big surprise, because HTC was expected to release the final edition of this virtual reality headset at the end of 2015. Instead, the manufacturer has added a front-facing camera to the device, making it a high-end VR headset.
The new camera has a “chaperone” mode, which is meant to replace the environment with what the camera “sees” and even if the device is not as advanced as the Oculus Rift, HTC says that it can offer a full-featured, 360-degree “room-scale” VR experience which none of the rivals can match.
The second change is the new pair of wand-like motion controllers which connect via wireless and which are made of solid gray plastic, have textured buttons and they’re more comfortable to hold in the hand. Instead of the pyramid of IR lights, now there’s a smooth tracking ring and the new dual-stage trigger will make the interaction with objects more realistic and the users will also feel like they’re actually holding a virtual object in their hands, thanks to the haptic feedback. HTC has included rechargeable lithium batteries and the users will be able to do whatever they want with the controllers for four hours.