HTC Vive Announces a New Lineup of VR Headsets, Expands the Cosmos Family With Entry and Enthusiast Level Devices

Upcoming HMDs are backwards compatible with older Vive accessories and share a modular faceplate system for future hardware upgrades.

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HTC Vive unveiled three new VR headsets this week as part of their Cosmos lineup.

In a release, the company stated the VIVE Cosmos Elite, VIVE Cosmos XR and VIVE Cosmos Play would “grow with customers over time,” while tailoring itself for every level of VR consumer.

Each headset also introduces a modular faceplate system to increase functionality and bridge the experience from virtual to mixed reality (XR).

The concept was originally discussed last September when HTC Vive’s original Cosmos headset debuted. Its faceplate design is also compatible with the upcoming accessories.

But unlike the 2019 version, its newer siblings sport other features including a flip-up design for quick reality breaks. Each HMD also comes with the ability to use older controllers and base stations.

VIVE Cosmos Elite

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VIVE Cosmos Elite – HTC Vive

The VIVE Cosmos Elite serves as a premium PC-based VR experience of the bunch. 

Taking steps above the standard version, it comes with an “External Tracking Faceplate” and lets users swap inside-out tracking for traditional Lighthouse base stations with SteamVR tracking.

The headset also goes back to a black chassis, which nods to the company’s first Vive released in 2016.

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VIVE Cosmos Elite – HTC Vive

Enthusiasts with a VR-ready PC can get their hands on the Elite bundle “later in Q1” for $899 USD (roughly $1187 CAD). It will come with the new faceplate, two base stations and two Vive “wand” controllers. 

A standalone version of the External Tracking Faceplate will also come out in the second quarter of 2020 for $199 (roughly $262.75 CAD).

VIVE Cosmos Play

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VIVE Cosmos Play – HTC Vive

An entry-level headset called the VIVE Cosmos Play hopes to give new users a gateway into VR entertainment. Its website page states the HMD easily does “plug and play” with VR-ready computers. 

Like the other headsets, the Cosmos Play keeps the Cosmos’ 2880×1700 “combined” resolution.

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VIVE Cosmos Play – HTC Vive

It even includes four inside-out tracking cameras, letting users skip additional hardware setups and go straight into room-scale experiences.

HTC Vive also stated the Play‘s easy-to-use capabilities could be integrated as an affordable public tool “for business or museum environments”.

No price tag or release date was announced while HTC Vive stated there’s more info “in the coming months.”

VIVE Cosmos XR

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VIVE Cosmos XR – HTC Vive

The lineup’s most experimental headset, the VIVE Cosmos XR uses another unique faceplate to bring mixed reality in. 

It will be geared for developers to study and create XR software, with the HMD’s “near-passthrough” FOV that can stretch up to 100 degrees. 

Like the first Cosmos, the XR has six built-in cameras for tracking while allowing users to see their surroundings for mixed reality purposes.

Users can also flip the HMD up for instant communication or to snap back to reality.

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VIVE Cosmos XR – HTC Vive

An increased display range also means XR experiences can add more menus and 3D objects for users to see in the real world.

Vive’s release also noted the XR can be an enterprise tool though “VR-based meetings,” and for design presentations for companies.

No price or release date have been announced and more details are expected to come from HTC Vive’s upcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC) presentation in March.