Earlier this week, HTC surprised the crowd at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with the HTC Vive, a new virtual reality headset borne out of a partnership with Valve, one of the most esteemed gaming companies in the industry.
The first early reviews of the HTC Vive hit the web on Wednesday afternoon, and the consensus is overwhelmingly positive. By almost all accounts, HTC and Valve have created something truly special with the Vive, which many say is the first virtual reality headset that makes you truly believe you are somewhere else.
Just check out some of these headlines floating around the web.
All of these reviews are worth reading, if only to pump you up about the future of virtual reality.
Though most critics said the actual visuals of HTC’s device could improve, all of the reviewers were blown away by how well the Vive convinces you that you’re in another world. It does this in several ways: The Vive has positional tracking, where you stick two sensors to your wall that can track the movement of your head, hands and body, and it comes with two “nunchuk-like” controllers with sensors that communicate with the sensors on your wall, and basically act as your “hands” that you can see right in the game.
The result is immersion unlike anything anyone has experienced: You can even freely walk around the room and you’ll do so in your game — but don’t worry, a grid will pop up on your display to let you know that you’re approaching a physical wall or object in real life.
At Mobile World Congress, critics and journalists got to try a bunch of demos: A game where you prepare and cook virtual ingredients in a virtual kitchen; a demo of an underwater shipwreck populated by fish you could prod and touch; a game where you’re a giant towering over some armies fighting each other, and you can crouch down to get a better look at the action; and, since it’s Valve, a demo of one of the company’s most popular games, “Portal,” where you need to fix a malfunctioning door.
Here’s Business Insider’s Steve Kovach:
Like the Oculus and other VR experiences, it’s impossible to describe what it’s like with mere words. It’s simply one of those things you have to try to believe. In the short term, VR will bring on a new era of gaming. But there’s so much more to it. Virtual travel. Shopping. Social networking. Movies. Porn. Fast forward a few years, once the hardware doesn’t look like a bulky, geeky headset, and we’ll wonder why we ever used a traditional flat screen for any of those things.
Of course, there’s still a lot of work to do. During all the demos, HTC’s hardware, including the headgear and the hand controllers, were hooked up to a PC — and HTC says it wants to make its wall-mounted sensors smaller before they start selling them to the public. But still, HTC and Valve are clearly putting a lot of pressure on other VR makers like Facebook-owned Oculus and Samsung: The Vive sounds like an extremely promising piece of hardware that might finally get people more excited about virtual reality.