One year ago this week, HTC released the Vive VR headset to the masses – and while we're happy to celebrate the birthday, HTC will be throwing its own party on Wednesday.
That's because the company is rolling out promotions that benefit new and existing buyers alike, offering improved, cheaper access to games, not to mention a big, one-day price drop for anyone who hasn't taken the plunge on a Vive. And there's more on the horizon, too.
Stock up on snacks and confetti, because it's about to be party time for Vive buyers. Here's why this Wednesday is the best time yet to buy into HTC's immersive entertainment device.
1) It's £100 cheaper
If you've been thinking of buying a Vive for some time then this week looks like the ideal time to jump on the VR bandwagon.
On Wednesday the 5th – and only Wednesday – HTC will offer the headset for £100 off the standard list price, or €100 off across Europe and US$100 off in the States. Given that the UK price currently sits at £760 following the Brexit vote uptick, that's a pretty significant saving on this mighty piece of hardware.
Of course, Oculus just dropped the price of the Rift by £50 and also took £90 off the price of the Touch motion controllers, so a single day of savings might seem paltry. But we still think the Vive is the superior experience of the two, so it's worth the huge spend if you're serious about VR. And if you can save £100 in the process, why not jump on that while you can?
2) It's getting Netflix-style subscriptions
Last year, HTC announced plans to debut a VR game and content subscription service, and now it's going live on Wednesday. The subscription will be available via HTC's Viveport portal, and it functions a bit differently to the traditional Netflix-style all-you-can-consume model.
For £6.99 a month (or €7.99), you'll be able to pick five titles from a library of more than 50 games – and you can play and enjoy them as much as you want within the month. When the next month begins, you can choose to keep anything you loved or swap anything you're done with for something new in the library. And the cycle continues on and on.
Key launch titles in the service's library are favourites such as The Blu, Richie's Plank Experience, and Fantastic Contraption, plus the first month will be free for all new subscribers. Given that many VR experiences are pretty compact as it is, this sort of model seems to make a lot of sense for anyone who wants a steady flow of experiences without paying full fare for every single thing.
Viveport also sells individual games, as well, and it'll have another perk on day one: a free download of Arcade Saga, which is typically sold for US$20 on Steam.
3) More experiences are coming
We've seen a steady array of Vive experiences hit Steam in recent months, with games like Thumper, Accounting, and Obduction all drawing rave reviews. And there's surely plenty more coming, including exclusive stuff – like a steady stream of Ready Player One experiences releasing in the run-up to next March's Steven Spielberg film, based on the mega-popular gaming novel.
Better yet, HTC has confirmed that its Tracker devices will come to the UK this year, although we don't have an exact date yet. The little discs can be attached to physical objects or limbs, bringing them into your game world, and developers are doing some amazing things with them already.
And you thought room-scale VR was already impressive enough on its own.