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HTC Vive Headset Will Take VR Mainstream

BARCELONA -- Move over Oculus. Take a seat Samsung VR. HTC is entering the virtual reality space with its own headset. Announced today and due out before the end of the year, the HTC Vive promises a new level of immmersive education and entertainment, thanks to Valve's SteamVR technology.

At its Mobile World Congress press event, HTC showed off a prototype of the new headset, but offered few specific details about its specs or capabilities. HTC executive director of marketing, Jeff Gattis, said that the Vive has more than 70 sensors and enables 360-degree room tracking, so users can walk around an entire virtual world and see objects from any angle.

Though some previous VR headsets made wearers queasy, Gattis said that the Vive's 90-Hz refresh rate will keep users from getting nauseous. "In other words, you're not going to get sick," he said. By contrast, the Oculus Rift runs at a maximum of 75-Hz. The screen in front of your eyes will offer a resolution of 1200 x 1080 pixels, while the virtual world you will experience will be 15 x 15 feet. 

Gattis said that the headset is "really light," but didn't provide weight or dimensions. He also said that there will be controllers to help you game and navigate on the device.

The Vive is designed to do a lot more than just play games. In addition to Valve, which powers the Steam online gaming platform and publishes several leading titles, HTC will be working with a variety of other content partners, including HBO, Lion's Gate Entertainment, Google and Taiwan's National Palace Museum.

"Imagine walking through the streets of San Francisco, looking at the earth from space or exploring the contents of a virtual museum," Gattis said.

HTC didn't provide any details about pricing for the Vive, but Gattis said that the company plans to ship its developer kit within the next couple of months and deliver final hardware to consumers by the end of the year. He also invited consumers to visit for more details.