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After the Oculus Rift’s announcement last week, it’s HTC and Valve’s turn – the HTC Vive pre-orders open in February 2016.

The game of pre-order chicken is over. Last week the Oculus Rift broke ranks, started taking pre-orders, and revealed their price and projected delivery date… or should that be delivery dates? I digress. The Rift is coming and that simultaneously creates a problem and an opportunity for the contenders, the HTC Vive and the PlayStation VR.

Why is it a problem? Because the other players in the space don’t want to be left behind and lose potential customers to the Oculus Rift by dragging their heels. But the opportunity, and the benefit of going second, is that it provides a chance to undercut the Rift in terms of price.

The Valve-backed HTC Vive then is expected to be more of the same as the Oculus Rift: it will be pricey, it will be high-end, and it will be competing in the PC space; so will require a high-end gaming computer in order to run it.

HTC have announced that the HTC Vive pre-orders will open on February 29, 2015. That’s certainly more than the 48-hours warning than we received for the Oculus Rift pre-orders. We don’t know the price yet, but devices will be expected to ship in April.

That April delivery date is particularly interesting, because the Oculus Rift’s delivery date has already slipped from March to June for all new orders under the sheer weight of pre-orders; we’ll be keeping a close eye on proceedings to see if the same problems plague the HTC Vive pre-orders.

It remains to be seen if the HTC Vive will be able to undercut the Rift on price however, as the inclusion of custom VR controllers from day one (the Oculus-designed controllers will not be available at launch) and a front-facing camera – which many poured scorn on, but might just prove to be a standout feature in the VR battleground – might see the price pushed even higher than the $599 US of the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift.

Watch this space for more news on the HTC Vive pre-orders.

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