HTC’s smartphone business might be in a rut but the Taiwanese company is doing one thing right: Virtual Reality. Every year at CES, we get to see some cool stuff from HTC from its Vive headset lineup and this year, things are just as exciting. HTC announced its new HTC Vive Pro Eye VR headset at the event featuring integrated eye tracking. While you could upgrade the old Vive headset with an add-on Eye tracking accessory, native Eye tracking support on the Vive Pro Eye opens up a lot of possibilities.
One of the biggest benefits from integrated eye tracking is higher quality images. This is done with the help of a smart technique called ‘foveated rendering’. The technique prioritizes graphics processing of the content that’s directly in your line of sight while limiting the quality of images in the periphery. Simply put, the native eye-tracking tech in the headset can locate exactly where you are looking in the virtual reality world and prioritize the rendering of the content that’s directly in your line of sight. Since the rendering is prioritized, it reduces the graphics requirement to run apps on the headset.
The improved image quality is not the only benefit from eye tracking on the HTC Vive Pro Eye. The headset allows you to browse and select in-game menus just by tracking your eyes. Further, this opens up accessibility options to users who are unable to use traditional controllers.
The Vive Pro Eye headset also brings the company’s Viveport Infinity service which offers around 500 VR titles for a monthly fee (not yet disclosed). HTC’s Vive Pro series has always been an expensive lineup and we expect a premium price for the Pro Eye VR headset as well. No word on its pricing yet but the company confirms that it’ll be available for purchase in Q2 2019.
While the Vive Pro Eye is targeted at customers who are ready to shell out some serious money for a virtual reality experience, the company’s new Vive Cosmos is better suited for the mass market. HTC hasn’t revealed a lot of details about this headset. However, we know that it will be powered by a PC/ Laptop and will also work with smartphones. There are built-in motion controllers and future modular customization options are expected for the device. The first set of dev kits are said to be released early 2019.