HTC and Valve have an interesting collaboration on Vive VR headset that has garnered immense interest across the industry. Now, pre-approved developers are being treated with a free HTC Vive Developer Edition through a closed programme set to begin some time this week.
This will be the first of its kind, where HTC will give away its critically-acclaimed virtual-reality headset for free to developers to create a substantial platform before consumer release.
HTC and Valve have already kick-started the initiative by giving its Vive VR headset, also known as Re Vive, to select developers including Owlchemy Labs, Bossa Studios, Fireproof Games and Cloudhead Games. To be chosen by HTC for the early build testing, developers must wait for the new sign-up programme, which will require them to register their interest in forms.
"More info and 'sign up' forms will be available to all interested developers, big or small, via a new site coming soon," Valve spokesperson Doug Lombardi told Ars Technica, failing to elaborate further.
According to Valve, the Vive VRs will be given for free, at least during the initial run. The shipping for the developer edition VR will start later in spring, HTC noted in its developer page. The HTC Vive Developer Edition kit includes a headset, two high-quality controllers and two base stations, a complete package much needed to create "new interactive VR experiences," Valve says.
HTC has several rivals in the VR category such as Oculus Rift, Sony's Project Morpheus, Samsung Gear VR and LG's Google Cardboard-based VR headset. Facebook-owned Oculus charges $350 for a second-gen Oculus Rift for developers. Sony, however, is giving its VR headset to select developers for free, but only as a rented device. HTC has the best programme in place so far and its Vive has proven great capabilities against its rivals.
Rexly Peñaflorida of Toms Hardware had hands-on with all major VRs and found Vive to be the best of all with beautiful images and nearly flawless interactions.