Adventures with HTC Vive Pro

I hear great things about the $800 HTC Vive Pro virtual reality headset -- except when I ordered it, I couldn't install the software.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

I've been experimenting with an HTC Vive virtual reality headset for some time—I think VR is going to be huge, though it's still early days yet. I recall that the system was a pain to install back in 2016, but I finally got it to work.

A couple of days ago, I saw a great review of the new version, the HTC Vive Pro, which is basically $800 (not include the controllers and base stations, which I have from the old system). So I bought it—and now I can't install it. I go into the live chat, and they tell me that I need to install the new version of the software, after uninstalling the old, something the installation instructions were unclear on. I faithfully uninstall the old version, but when I go to the URL I was given for the download, I can't find anything to download there.

I ask the tech support person what to do, and I'm told,

Could you try at a later time? I think we have some technical issues regarding the software and we forwarded the issue to our headquarters.

Really? They're selling the new hardware, but the software for it—which apparently must have worked at some point—is just unavailable, until some unspecified "later time"? Yow.

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  1. Really? They’re selling the new hardware, but the software for it — which apparently must have worked at some point — is just unavailable, until some unspecified “later time”? Yow.

    No. Of course they shouldn’t do that, but I’ve had similar experience with at least one big well-known tech company. The software didn’t work right, and updates were repeatedly promised, etc. I suspect we are not alone.

    1. IT/Computer tech industries have a long history of companies trying to sell vaporware.

  2. Buy a PlayStation 4 and a Playstation VR. Lots of content, easy to install, and its the best selling VR system out there.

  3. I really think people are dismissing VR/AR too quickly. The tech is just not quite there just yet in terms of motion sickness/or AR in general, but it does still seem to be the future of gaming. But saying its dead just because the Oculus and Vive arent doing quite as well seems a bit short sighted like thinking video games were dead and everybody would be watching tv and playing hopscotch forever after during the crash of the 80s.

    1. The main problem with motion sickness (vertigo) comes from the disconnect between the visual vs other senses (especially the inner ear.) I had one freefall where my body said I was standing upright then the back ramp opened and my eyes told me the plane was in a bank. Almost puked in the oxygen mask! The same occurs with pilots in a flat (death) spin; they’ve spun to the point that the inner ear resets while the visual & instruments say they are still spinning.

  4. Having worked for a similar outfit, with poor procedural control of public facing entities like software download pages and poor software quality, “technical issues” are often a symptom. The question is “How often does this happen?” Which a single user on a single visit cannot assess. Everyone has problems, and some are even out of their control.

    Google, Facebook, and Amazon have had some widespread, high impact hiccups. But not very often. Miscrosoft? Constantly.

    Give it a day or two ? if it’s not fixed, I’d suggest abandoning that ship for another.

  5. “Dear Mr. Volokh. Thank you for participating in the beta test of the HTC vive pro.”

  6. Early days indeed

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