At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, HTC has announced some introductions and revisions to its slate of VR headsets. Not only will some of the headsets get new features, but HTC plans to introduce a new more comfortable headset as well.
The new headset, called the Vive Cosmos, is a more consumer-friendly headset. Unlike other freestanding headsets, the Cosmos still needs to be connected to a PC to function, but it will work with much lower specs than the higher-end VR headsets on the market, to the point where HTC suggests it could even work with a smartphone powering it. While there aren’t release or pricing details, Vive has said that they aim for Cosmos to be more comfortable for a less tech-savvy audience, as well as easier to set up.
On the opposite end of that announcement is the reveal of a new Vive Pro, which has eye tracking in it. What this means is the headset can read your eye movements and use them as another movement for, as an example, aiming in a shooter. It basically opens up a whole new world for hands-free VR usage and is a major leap forward for creating VR software possibilities.
While HTC has dabbled in eye tracking before as an optional addition to previous headsets, but seems to be going full-steam ahead by making it a core feature of the new Vive Pro. But it’s still not exactly consumer-level, as evidenced by the name, with the Vive Pro still demanding $800 from users, so eye tracking might still be a long way off for mainstream VR headsets.
I think we’re on the cusp of major consumer breakthroughs for VR. It’ll never be incredibly huge, but I think with these more consumer-friendly headsets from Oculus and HTC, as well as an inevitable new headset from PlayStation, I think we’ll start seeing cool new innovations in the space. I once tried out an eye-tracking version of inFamous: Second Son and have really dug the idea of the technology since.