HTC announces Meta Quest competitor — but it won’t be cheap

A photo of a woman wearing the HTC Vive Flow
(Image credit: HTC/Evan Blass)

The HTC Vive may be dead, but it looks like the virtual reality headset maker will be making a comeback next year.

According to The Verge, HTC will be unveiling a flagship mixed-reality headset at CES 2023 on January 5th. Yes, you heard that right — a mixed-reality headset. That means it will be competing with the Meta Quest Pro and not the Meta Quest 2. It may ultimately be closer than not to the Meta Quest 3 (which is rumored to get some augmented reality features to bring it closer to mixed reality) if HTC’s comments are any indication.

In a conversation with The Verge, HTC global head of product Shen Ye seems to be prepping us for a more expensive VR headset. “We’re in an era when consumer VR headsets have been massively subsidized by companies that are trying to vacuum up and take personal data to provide to advertisers,” he says. “We don’t believe the way that we want to approach it is to compromise on privacy.” This is clearly a reference to the Quest 2 and indicates that HTC has no plans to compete with the entry-level headset — at least not with this device.

Instead, it looks like the Quest Pro could be a closer competitor, though we think it’s unlikely the new HTC headset matches the Quest Pro’s $1,499 price point. Ye’s comments on the yet unnamed device feature set certainly sound familiar when compared to the Quest Pro.

HTC VR headset: Specs and features 

The unnamed HTC headset will be an all-in-one headset like the Meta Quest lineup, rather than a tethered device like the PlayStation VR2. Given the aim is a mixed reality headset this makes sense, as tethering isn’t conducive to a good augmented reality experience.

Ye promises a device that can be used for ”gaming, entertainment, exercise, and “even some of the more powerful use cases,” including productivity and enterprise tools.” It will have a depth sensor, something the Meta Quest Pro was unable to provide, and its outward-facing cameras will allow for full-color AR passthrough. These cameras will be both front-facing and side-facing. The headset will reportedly have up to two hours of battery life and “support controllers with six degrees of freedom as well as hand tracking.” 

The use of the word “support” is interesting, as that implies more than one controller will be compatible with the new device. We imagine that the supported controllers will all be made by HTC, but like many other details — such as the inclusion of eye tracking — we will have to wait for CES.

If you don’t want to wait though, you can always get a Meta Quest 2 — or pre-order a PS VR2. The Quest 2 remains our best VR headset, and the PS VR2 could be the future of gaming; though you’ll need a PlayStation 5 to use it.

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.