The HTC Vive virtual reality headset is celebrating its one-year anniversary on April 5. To mark the occasion, HTC is dropping the price of the device by $100 from now until the end of Wednesday. The Vive headset normally retails for $799 but on "Vive Day," as HTC is dubbing it, the headset will be available for $699. That price will get patrons the Vive headset as well as the two wireless motion controllers that come standard with the system.
HTC will also be giving away a copy of Arcade Saga to all Vive owners on April 5. The game offers three action-oriented experiences that show off the capabilities of the Vive and normally retails for $19.99. The free download is only available on Viveport, HTC's own storefront for the Vive.
HTC is also using the anniversary to launch a new service called Viveport Subscription. For $6.99 a month, Vive owners will be able to select five titles from "an ever-growing library of curated content." Viveport Subscription's initial lineup includes more than 50 VR games and apps, such as Fantastic Contraption and Everest VR.
Gamers can choose to keep playing the same five titles month to month or rotate games out in favor of new selections every 30 days. Viveport Subscription will launch with a 30-day free trial.
“The rapid growth of the app market is a win for VR overall yet it can present discoverability challenges that affect both customers and content creators,” said Rikard Steiber, president of Viveport at HTC via press release. “Introducing a subscription model to VR is a natural evolution of where this market is going.”
It's worth noting that even at $699, the Vive is still more expensive than the Oculus Rift headset, which sells for $499. And even factoring in the price of the optional Oculus Touch controllers, that package would come to $598. Of course, Sony's PlayStation VR is more affordable than both systems at $399, but ultimately every gamer will have different needs. For what it's worth, HTC does offer a Vive payment plan, which should still be available even at the $699 price point.
While a $100 discount isn't likely to generate a flood of new sales when the "on sale" price is close $700, it might help entice some people who were already thinking about buying a Vive. Virtual reality fans can only hope this is the beginning of a trend that will see frequent discounts and lower prices coming to all VR systems in the near future. More deals like this one are sorely needed if HTC, Oculus and even Sony want to push back against the idea that virtual reality is too expensive.