HTC Vive Pro Eye hands-on: first VR headset with eye tracking

HTC Vive Pro Eye hands-on: first VR headset with eye tracking

HTC took to the stage at CES 2019 to reveal not only eye-tracking technology for the prosumer Vive Pro headset, but an all-new headset dubbed the Vive Cosmos. The company announced that its introducing fovated rendering software into the mix using Nvidia's new RTX technology to create sharper images in VR by drastically reducing the resolution around areas in the wearer's peripheral vision. The HTC VIVE Pro Eye launches in the second quarter of 2019. HTC did not disclose pricing for any of these new announcements.

The Cosmos has no external tracking tech which will, according to HTC, allow you to move between real and virtual worlds more easily.

As the name suggests, HTC Vive Pro Eye uses built-in eye tracking. HTC has said that it can also be connected to a smartphone and the teaser video in their official tweet suggests the same. The Vive Cosmos looks like that more mainstream kind of headset.

Tracking the movement of a users eyes from within the headset could have a notable impact on the VR experience, namely performance and user interaction.

Instead, we expect the Vive Cosmos to cost a similar amount to the HTC Vive, now priced at £499 in the UK. That'd perhaps allow for a PC experience sans-wires as well as a lightweight mobile experience.

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The Vive Pro Eye natively integrates eye tracking, featuring gaze-tracking menu navigation and removes the need for controllers. The new Viveport Infinity subscription now grants access to its massive game library rather than just giving five at a time.

That said, it's unusual to see eye-tracking siphoned off to its own Vive headset model and not included with the Vive Cosmos - especially if the Vive Cosmos is a PC/mobile hybrid of sorts. The company's original HTC Vive garnered a lot of early excitement, but a series of aggressive price cuts from Facebook's Oculus forced the company into a rough spot trying to find hardware margins in the less price-sensitive enterprise market.

There aren't enough details though - not for Vive Reality, not Vive Cosmos, not Vive Pro Eye, none of it. Oculus has mastered the art of revealing new products. "When we first launched our Subscription service, we gave consumers the ability to try 5 titles a month".

Once again, HTC also didn't disclose the cost of the new service, saying only that it would be available in April.

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