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article imageHTC sells 15,000 Vive VR headsets in first 10 minutes

By James Walker     Mar 1, 2016 in Technology
The HTC Vive has established itself as one of the most popular virtual reality headsets around. The company confirmed this yesterday as it saw thousands of the $800 kits fly off its shelves when pre-orders opened online.
As VentureBeat reports, HTC VR exec Shen Ye tweeted the impressive statistic yesterday morning. The company managed to shift over 15,000 Vive headsets in under 10 minutes of pre-orders. The initial batch of devices will begin to ship from April.
In comparison with other new products, the number may not sound that large. The important point is that this is an unproven technology that costs $800 and requires a powerful and expensive gaming computer as a mandatory prerequisite. Given the investment required to start using a Vive, the figure suggests a lot of people have prepared for virtual reality and are eager to get going.
HTC's closest rival is the Oculus Rift. The Rift retails at $600, $200 less than the Vive, and also sold out within minutes of going on sale in January. Oculus' parent company Facebook hasn't disclosed exactly how many units it sold but is currently displaying shipping times of July for new orders placed today. Both VR kits appear to have exceeded initial expectations.
The Vive takes the form of a wearable headset that completely obscures your view of the world. Using sensors and a system of room-scanning lasers, Vive can work out where you are in the space around you and feed this information back to virtual reality content.
The HTC Vive
The HTC Vive
HTC has partnered with Valve's PC gaming platform Steam to ensure early purchasers will have content to play on their headset. Valve is using the Vive as its own testbed for virtual reality technology, working to make it compatible with as many games in the Steam catalogue as possible.
For now, that remains a comparatively limited selection of titles, mostly games that inherently require moment in a physical space as part of their usual gameplay. The Vive comes bundled with a few games out of the box: Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption and Tilt Brush.
Each title brings something different to the table, demonstrating how virtual reality can enhance games regardless of the specific genre. Job Simulator is set in 2050 and is set in a world where human jobs have been largely replaced by robots. Fantastic Contraption tasks the player with building unique machines on an empty grassy island while Tilt Brush provides an empty room in which to paint in 3D with.
HTC is betting big on virtual reality and its Vive headset. In an interview earlier this year, CEO Cher Wang explained how the company is moving to focus on the emerging technology. Wang intends to use virtual reality to prop up HTC's struggling smartphone division, helping the company to recover from its current financial troubles and waning influence in mobile markets.
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