It’s quite common practice when selling gaming hardware that systems are bundled with a video game. Later in their life cycle, you might even get a couple of mid-tier titles. Meta recently bundled Beat Saber in with Quest 2, whilst PlayStation 5 has God of War Ragnarök or Horizon Forbidden West deals available. Therefore, HTC giving away five games with VIVE XR Elite pre-orders shouldn’t be that unusual, should it? Considering this is a £1,299 GBP mixed reality (MR) headset, it kind of is.
Not long after Meta released its £1,000+ MR headset, the Quest Pro, HTC began teasing its forthcoming device. An official reveal took place during CES 2023 in Las Vegas, highlighting a compact form factor and all the immersive bells and whistles you’d expect from the company.
As part of the announcement, HTC happily rolled out the £1,299 pre-order availability. It stated that anyone who purchases before 15th February would receive five free titles. These pieces of content were Green Hell VR, Les Mills Bodycombat, Unplugged: Air Guitar, Figmin XR and Glimpse. Each has its merits, with Unplugged great for highlighting hand tracking on VIVE XR Elite whilst Green Hell VR can push the graphical capabilities.
However, how many actual gamers are really going to buy a device like the VIVE XR Elite? At that price high-end users might be interested, yet the main demographic will undoubtedly be enterprise use cases. If the headset was £500 – £600 then sure, why not? But in a cost-of-living crisis, it hardly makes sense to turn your gaming focus towards a very expensive piece of VR tech. Especially when you can get more for your hard-earned cash.
A sweaty immersive office
So, it’s more for the peeps in the office, yeah? As much fun as virtual reality (VR) is, do you imagine once that immersive design meeting has concluded that a suited and booted office worker wants to get sweaty in Les Mills Bodycombat? Hmm…nope. And does the boss (or your fellow colleagues) want you sweating all over the brand-new, expensive headset? That’ll be a double nope, even with alcohol wipes.
Partnering the VIVE XR Elite with collaboration software or something more business-centric would’ve made a lot more sense. There is VIVERSE, of course, but this is a free, hardware-agnostic metaverse from HTC. Hardly a sweetener after paying that much money. Back to the games then. But wait, if HTC really wanted to showcase the gaming prowess of VIVE XR Elite, wouldn’t a free VIVEPORT Infinity subscription be the ultimate cherry on top?
VIVEPORT Infinity seems to be forgotten about. Yet in the era of subscription plans – Game Pass, PS Plus, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime and so on… – surely promoting your new, shiny, state-of-the-art MR headset with your very own subscription service is a no-brainer?
Once again, HTC’s strategy comes across as mixed, unsure of which market will truly accept it.