Two New HTC Vive VR Headsets Announced At CES 2019

The Vive Pro Eye incorporates eye-tracking.                  HTC

The Vive Pro Eye incorporates eye-tracking. HTC

It opened the conference by revealing the Vive Pro Eye - a take on the existing Pro headset but with foveated rendering and eye tracking - but closed the conference with the Vive Cosmos, a completely new VR headset. This implies (but doesn't confirm) that HTC will make tools available for developers to marry the Vive Pro Eye's eye-tracking sensors with 3D-rendering engines. Sporting the deep blue of the Vive Pro and Eye, the Cosmo looks familiar and foreign from anything HTC has previously released.

This was the first of many announcements made during HTC's presentation.

Like the Vive Pro, HTC is primarily pitching the Vive Pro Eye at enterprise customers, rather than gamers at large.

Cosmos, which appears to be a middle-of-the range headset, will be HTC's third line of Vive-branded headsets, following the Vive (and Vive Pro and Vive Pro Eye) and Vive Focus. It's called Vive Cosmos.

The Cosmos also sports a flip-up design, so users can quickly and easily switch between the virtual world and their real-world environment. If you asked me right this minute I'd wager the Oculus Quest seems like a bolder and more exciting headset, but we know so little about the Vive Cosmos it's hard to say for sure.

Major League Baseball debuted eye tracking on the Vive Pro Eye at CES in Las Vegas.

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The technology also allows for an easier gaming experience. There is also a privacy concern however because the headset is tracking your gaze is real-time plus it is storing that information as data-points for analytics. The Vive Cosmos employs the new Vive tracking system with support for gesture controls and 6 degrees of freedom (6 DoF). And it is so confident in its VR ecosystem that it's opening up an unlimited subscription tier for all the VR experiences you can get.

Last year, HTC unveiled Viveport VR subscriptions, which let you download and play with up to five titles a month for around $9 a month.

Amazon SumerianAs part of this relationship, HTC Vive is teaming up with Amazon Sumerian to bring true web VR to the market. Lockheed Martin is using the Vive Pro Eye to help train student pilots, for example.

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

But no matter how great VR may be, we have to come back to reality sometime.

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