HTC is serial-teasing its next VR headset again, this time hyping the reveal of Vive Flow, which is reportedly a slim and light 6DOF standalone focused on media consumption, casual gaming, and VR experiences.
New information reported by Protocol ahead of its October 14th reveal holds that HTC will be likely targeting consumers with the new lightweight Vive Flow headset, something that is said to contain a chipset less powerful than the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 found in Quest 2 and Vive Focus 3.
Reportedly developed under the code name “Hue,” Protocol maintains it will also ship without motion controllers, instead relying primarily on its built-in hand-tracking to control apps and casual VR games.
HTC also released and new hype video on its Instagram, showing a quick flash of Flow’s hardware.
There’s not much to tell from the eight-second video, however it appears the headset’s temples can articulate, which suggests they may fold to some degree. We’ve seen similar hinges and on the Vive Proton prototype standalone first revealed in February 2020, although we’ve never seen it in action.
A thermos-like container previously seen in other marketing images would suggest Vive Flow can be stored in the carrying case though, which may mean it can cinch down into a fairly compact form-factor.
Light and casual VR media consumption used to be a pillar of Facebook’s modus operandi with 3DOF headsets Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Go, but has since shifted focus to building out its gaming-focused Quest platform in the recent years. This may have left a niche HTC is looking to exploit with Vive Flow.
Should all of the above prove true when it’s revealed on October 14th, the entrance of Vive Flow could signal HTC’s return to consumer VR—provided it has a suitably consumer-friendly price to match, which hasn’t been the company’s strong suit.
HTC has shied away from directly targeting consumers outside of Asia like Facebook has done with its $300 standalone Quest 2, instead focusing on enterprise and prosumer segments with its latest VR hardware, such as the $1,300 standalone Vive Focus 3 and its $800 Vive Pro 2 PC VR headset.
HTC may also be banking on integration with a rumored social VR service called ‘Viveport Verse’, which sounds like the company’s own stab at building out its own metaverse platform. Companies such as Epic Games, Facebook, and Immersive VR Education’s platform ENGAGE have each already invested cash in the millions to ostensibly build out their own platforms with interconnected services.