In an official press release from HTC earlier today, it was revealed the Vive virtual reality headset, created in partnership by Valve and HTC, will ship for $799 when it first arrives in early April 2016. When it is made available for pre-purchase in just a few days on February 29th 2016, the Vive will ship to consumers with two free VR-only games, including Job Simulator by Owlchemy Labs and Fantastic Contraption by Northway / Radial Games. As two of the highest quality and fully-fledged experiences available, these two games are definitely great additions to the pre-order bundle.
Although steep, this price point is actually not too unusual or unexpected when compared to the price of the Oculus Rift announced back in January, which retails for $599 but lacks an additional tracker and the still-unfinished Touch Controllers, which will be sold separately later in the year. In comparison, the Vive will be bundled with all of necessary components and peripherals required for full room-scale use, including two base stations, two Wand controllers, and the headset itself. It has also been confirmed the Vive will be able to further "bridge both realities" by allowing users to respond to incoming or missed calls, to reply to text messages, or to check calender notifications, all from within the headset itself. This is possibly achieved through some kind of Android integration, given HTC's considerable marketshare with smartphones.
With pre-orders opening in just a few days, it'll be interesting to see if HTC and Valve's higher price point but more-complete bundle will have similar success to the lower priced Oculus Rift, and even to the still to-be-priced PlayStationVR. Let the games begin!
While the TF2 Competitive Matchmaking Beta Steam group has been pretty quiet since its creation several weeks ago, that all changed this evening with a new post by Valve's John Schoenick (Steam name: Jill). The post outlines the team's enthusiasm for the upcoming beta before discussing how the slow, gradual expansion of the closed beta will progress. Users invited to the beta will receive an in-game item called the "Competitive Matchmaking Beta Pass", which will grant them access to the on-going and evolving beta program.
Users that meet the following conditions will be more eligible for a beta invite:
- Have either purchased a copy of Team Fortress 2 prior to June 23, 2011, or have made a purchase from the Mann Co. Store. (AKA premium accounts)
- Have Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator enabled.
- Have a phone number associated with your Steam account.
After being removed from CS:GO many moons ago, the recently released and equally overdue "Operation Wildfire" has brought about the return of classic map DE_Nuke, which has received a full visual overhaul and a partial redesign. The new Nuke features the same high-quality visions as that found in the redesigned Train, increasing overall visibility and readability. Also like Train, it features a small number of new routes and paths which can be used whether attacking or defending, including a new Decontamination Room, raised flooring in Bombsite A, and several new ladders around the outdoor rooftops.
The Operation Wildfire included with the update will run until June 17th 2016, can be purchased for $5.99, and features a wealth of missions and objectives in two separate "Campaigns", a new weapon case and 16 community-created skins, and a whopping seven new maps. These maps include Coast, Cruise, Empire, Mikla, Royal, Santorini, and Tulip, all of which are available to play in Competitive, Casual, and Deathmatch modes whether you own an Operation Pass or not. These maps are shown in alphabetical order below.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players enjoyed a new Operation, but Wildfire seems like it was worth the wait!
Despite being a relatively quiet week as far as official news out of Valve, it did see Gabe complete his transformation into the white, male, nerdy version of Oprah Winfrey, while new updates to the HTC Vive Pre and SteamVR helped further prepare the service for launch later this year.
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In this week's Round-Up, we're celebrating Lunar New Year with Valve by checking out a new Steam Sale and a Quest Path for Dota 2, while also bidding farewell to one of Valve's longest-standing animators, Doug Wood, who will retire later this month after 19 years at the company.
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