HTC is cutting the price of its Vive VR headset by $200, reducing the suggested retail price of the high-end VR device to $599. The move comes after Facebook announced last month that it was cutting the price of the Oculus Rift VR headset to $499.
HTC first began selling the Vive headset for $800 16 months ago. Since then, the company has made significant inroads with developers, who have built more than 3600 games and experiences for the device.
However, Viveport president and HTC virtual reality SVP Rikard Steiber acknowledged that headsets like the Vive haven’t been able to break through to massive mainstream audiences just yet. “We need to make this more affordable for the mass market,” he said during a recent interview with Variety.
HTC has yet to release any official sales numbers for the Vive. “We have been very happy with the traction this year,” Steiber said, without sharing any additional details. Market researchers pegged the company’s product second among high-end VR headsets last year, ahead of the Oculus Rift, but handily outsold by the much cheaper PlayStation VR headset.
Steiber said that he’d expect a significant sales uptick in the coming months and into the holiday season, and added that HTC has gotten a lot of interest from enterprise customers as well. The company’s biggest challenge going forward could be to compete with Facebook, which seems to be willing to subsidize its hardware in order to increase reach. Throughout the summer, the Oculus Rift headset has sold for $399 as part of a limited-time sale.
HTC is set to also introduce a standalone VR headset together with Google later this year. There’s no word yet ion how much that device will cost, but it will likely be just as expensive as high-end VR headsets like the Vive or the Rift. Steiber wouldn’t comment on the price of the standalone device, but said that the “total cost of ownership” will be lower due to the fact that it won’t require an additional PC or a phone to run games and experiences.