Aside from the new face plate and Lighthouse tracking base stations, this is still the same exact Vive Cosmos headset that HTC put out earlier last year. From the 1,700-by-1,440-pixel resolution per eye to the halo-style headband, this Elite version of the Vive Cosmos hasn’t upgraded anything else.
That’s exactly why and how HTC also plans to release the External Tracking Faceplate as a standalone upgrade for $200. This will allow users to add external tracking their headset simply by switching out the faceplate on the original Vive Cosmos or the new entry-level Vive Cosmos Play—which we’ll get into now.
Lowering the Play Bar
Along with announcing a new flagship VR experience with the Vive Cosmos Elite, HTC is also introducing a new entry-level headset called the Vive Cosmos Play.
The Vive Cosmos Play features a slightly stripped faceplate that only features four cameras for inside-out tracking as opposed to the six cameras found on the Vive Cosmos. With a little less accurate tracking, HTC says this headset is ideal for entry-level VR experience such as Viveport Video, Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets, and A Fisherman’s Tale
That aside, the HTC Vive Cosmos Play isn’t a lesser headset compared to its two higher-end variants. In fact, users who want an upgrade over the basic Vive Cosmos Play experience can spend $200 to either upgrade to a six-camera faceplate of the Vive Cosmos or the External Tracking Faceplate of the Vive Cosmos Play.
Both faceplates will be available later this year in Q2, which should roughly translate into April to June. Unfortunately, HTC has yet to share details of when and how much the Vive Cosmos Play will retail for.
Jumping into X Reality
Lastly HTC announced a fourth version edition of its mainline headset called the Vive Cosmos XR.
This version of the Vive Cosmos gets another alternate faceplate that sees the addition of two XR passthrough cameras for augmented reality experiences. The two cameras allow users to see the real-world with an up to 100-degree field of view, allowing users to view virtual objects in their real-life surroundings for a more augmented reality experience
One of the first uses of this XR system can be found in Vive Sync, which is a collaborative meeting space that allows users to bring virtual objects into their surroundings. All-in-all it looks a lot like Facebook’s Spaces, which allows multiple Oculus users to handout in a VR space. Vive Sync essentially takes this concept and allows you to meld the real world around you while you look at 3D models and talk to virtual avatars.
HTC tells us that it plans to primarily introduce the Vive Cosmos XR as a development tool, but we’re sure any developments made in this space will eventually make its way to the company’s more consumer-facing headsets. That said, we’ll get our first look at these new headsets, their new face plates, and the XR experience at the Game Developers Conference later this month, so stay tuned for more.
Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam