HTC Confirms Abysmal Vive VR Price For Australia

After a little bit of confusion, HTC has cleared up the cost of the virtual reality headset it has built in collaboration with Valve. It was US$799, but for the privilege of buying the Vive in Australia, you'll get slugged US$100 more.

In a new blog post on its website, titled "International Pricing For Vive Pre-Order", HTC has confirmed that Vive pre-orders will open at 10AM EST on the 29th of February in the US — 2AM AEDT on the 1st of March in Australia. In addition to that, though, HTC has also confirmed the price — and if you're an Australian, it's higher than the US$799 price for United States buyers.

In Australia, we'll pay US$899 for the HTC Vive pre-order. Yep, that's still in US dollars, so you can tack on whatever currency conversion fee and shoddy exchange rate that your bank or Paypal will slug you with as well. At current (optimistic) exchange rates that's $1260 including shipping, so you'll probably be paying in the order of $1400 Australian dollars once Customs adds a 10 per cent GST to your purchase.

If you still actually want to spend that much money on the Vive, shipping for the new VR headset begins on April 5th. Newly included in the HTC Vive pre-order package, at least, is Google's Tilt Brush:

[HTC Vive]


Comments

    I really hope that Sony doesn't follow this trend. Being able to make up the lose on software gives me hope...

      I think Sony will be in the same ball park, I was hoping for around $3-400AUD, but I'm starting to doubt that now.

        In recent history, which technology at this level have you seen sub $1,000 to give you that expectation?

          To give what expectation? That it will be in the same ball park as the HTC?

          Well they did state it was to be priced for less than the console at one stage. Given they have actual production facilites and distribution networks I can envisage walking into JB and picking one up much like any of their other accessories. (Obviously supplies might be short to begin with.)

      I'm not too confident they'll price it low and allow software to recoup the cost, not at the ticket price these are going for and the unproven record regarding VR will actually sell any more software to owners vs people who buy a PS4 but not the headset.

      That said, compared to HTC and Facebook, Sony should be far more experienced when it comes to manufacturing and Sony owns its own component divisions. That might allow them to cut some cost associated with dealing with other manufacturers.

    RIP VR. We hardly knew ye.

      I really doubt that high prices on the first generation of hardware will affect the long-term VR market in the slightest - that certainly hasn't been a problem for every other tech market.

      So long as the headsets do their job well and provide a unique experience, people will want one. So long as demand exists, scale will go up and costs will go down. The disappointment you're feeling is merely the result of unrealistic expectations, and will pass in time.

        Fewer buyers mean fewer developers willing to commit.
        Fewer developers’ committing means less games.
        Less games mean fewer buyers.

        Why do you think it took so long for developers to port games to Mac? It's the same thing for h Windows Phone. Developers are going to spend money where they can get a better return.

          This is the same chicken/egg issue faced by every new format. It's usually solved by a combination of subsidised initial content (check), and the expectation of future sales, as evidenced by strong consumer interest. If enough people think VR looks cool enough to buy into when the hardware gets cheaper, then developers will be interested too, expecting that prices will come down soon. In this case, the developers themselves often think it's cool enough that they want to develop for it.

          The difference with the Windows Phone case is of course that the market was already well-served by two existing strong platforms. Microsoft didn't make a strong enough case about the relative advantages of WP for consumers or developers to show much interest.

            I see HTC as potentially having the biggest challenge to build the value proposition for consumers and developers.

            Sony will be the last one to the table, but they will bring with them a lot of committed developers already building to a platform, and may have incentives already in place.

            Occulus have been in development for so long, they have already gotten a lot of consumer and developer interest through Dev Kits, pre-sales, and expos.

            So In the span of 12 months, we will have gone from 0 consumer VR platforms to 2 on PC, and one on console. The real winners here will be people making high-end computers to support VR.

              Don't forget the low-end VR too - Google Cardboard (and similar plastic knock-offs) is everywhere, Mattel are selling their ViewMaster VR, and Samsung is handing out GearVR with every flagship phone. Hopefully these will give consumers a taste of what "presence" in a virtual world feels like, keeping interest up until quality VR is possible on mid-range hardware with less-expensive headsets.

                I think cheaper VR will outwin more expensive offerings.

                There must be something I'm missing if one is willing to spend the same amount of money on HTC's VR alone over a well specced smartphone and use Google Cardboard instead.

                Either way, I can see VR taking off in marketing, especially in realestate 'virtual' tours.

                  Well, the experience is pretty dramatically improved with a real VR headset. Much better tracking, much better immersion, much better graphics (driven by a high-powered PC). Cardboard is a taster at best.

                  There's a middle ground as well, though - Razer's OSVR, which is US$300 and still pretty decent. It does positional tracking and low-persistence screens, 1080p resolution is less than the Rift & Vive but still decent.

            M$ where trying to make that case by shoehorning the Windows experience onto other form factors through a kind of mundane and shallow experience.

            You can see this thinking reflected in the partnership with Nokia.
            There are fans of both but not for the same reasons that say, Apple and Samsung enjoy.

    Campbell. If you looked at the original leaked price list it said "all prices below include VAT". At the bottom of the HTC list is even says it includes all "sales taxes". That's GST!

    The extra $100 is a very lazy GST calculation, but if HTC are using their own logistics company, shipping should be cheaper than the rip off Oculus are charging.

    Last edited 29/02/16 10:59 am

      That eases some of the burn.

      I'm actually considering this buy. It comes with loads of VR specific peripherals, it's far more of a value proposition than the oculus. And it's probably going to ship first.

      Going to have to clear it with the boss though.

        I do think that the Vive controllers and spacial tracking are worthwhile and could make it the better option but the Rift does include an audio headset that's supposed to be pretty good quality and they aren't necessarily cheap to pick up separately.

          But who doesn't have a headset these days? Or a xbox controller? I'd rather have the option to buy them if I didn't than have a pile of redundant copies of things I own.

            Yeah but it does include it's own DAC and for 3d positional audio will the headset you have be good enough for an immersive aural experience? Could be but I don't know.

      I hope you're right (and I see where you're coming from), but I'll believe it when I see it. Pricing on these is going to be the make or break part of the whole process for me. Too expensive (as they are appearing to be) and they risk taking too long to get a foothold.

      $1000 plus for a peripheral is going to be a hard sell.

        Is it? Top of the line video cards are that much. I spent over $1000 on a 2x CD-ROM drive and Sound Card when they were new on the market. Gen-1 kit is ALWAYS expensive. Prices will drop as the components become cheaper. That's how it works.

      So, my quick check with Customs said that they would still add a 10 per cent duty on the Vive -- because it is a >$1000AUD purchase coming in from overseas. Simple as that.

        They do that for purposes of GST. If GST is already charged, they don't.

        What lichbane says - if GST is charged, Customs shouldnt be hitting it with a duty. Issue is more whether that supplier is registered for GST, with an ABN, etc, and paying it to the ATO. Pretty sure HTC would be registered.

        This is going to be a grey area until it starts to happen though, as none of us know for sure, and what Customs says is just a generic answer. Bit vague on the issues these days (its been a while since I wrote rulings), but it basically comes down to whether you're buying from an Aussie company or foreign company.

        If you get an invoice with an ABN, and GST listed as a separate cost, there shouldnt be anything more to pay. If you dont, Customs probably gets involved, but as HTC has an Aussie presence, my educated guess is that GST will be sorted before it gets to you.

          To be clear, Campbell says duty - not tax.

          It's not the GST, it's an import duty.

            I said duty, and from that point onwards its GST but as they are mutually exclusive, its kinda moot. Customs clearing houses give whats known as an N10 document which lists the imports, the deemed value, customs charges, and assessed GST. It even lists it as GST on the document.

            After that, the importer, if they are entitled to, can claim that customs duty as a GST credit. Its how imports work. Business imports a product, Customs values it and charges a duty, which takes the place of GST, and the amount is paid for the product to be released.

            What this is going to come down to is whether you are considered to preorder through HTC head office, or HTC Australia. If its HTC Australia, you should get an invoice, with an ABN (a quick search suggests ABN 26 127 273 125), with GST listed. If its HTC head office, Customs SHOULD identify the value (US$899), convert that to Aussie dollars, and charge 10% for GST. And thats where it gets messy.

            If you're buying one for business purposes, that Customs documentation becomes the relevant info for tax purposes, and something that would need to be supplied in an audit.

              Sorry, I dont know what happened, but I wasnt replying to your response, and I dont see the response I replied to now

                All good. I've worked in GST since before it started, so have a far better than average understanding. Sometimes people get caught up in technicalities and details, without understanding how it really works, so I try to educate where I can.

                Technically, what Customs does IS a duty, its just that it becomes GST from that point onwards for every other purpose under GST law.

    How can anyone be annoyed with this price. Have you seen all the bundled hardware, not to mention the quality of the screens it uses. Considering this is cheaper than iphone 6 plus, I think it is farily reasonable. Especially considering this is brand new hardware.

    Better than paying $500 AUD and getting Xbox One level of tech.

      How can people be annoyed? Its a peripheral, not a primary device. Its intended to be plugged into something else to be used, meaning its not critical, and that makes a big difference.

      Would you pay $1000 for a joystick? Thats basically what this is.

      Comparing to an iphone is misleading. Thats a primary device, necessary to do its job - communicate. A peripheral is something added on to that primary device, and in that relationship is the problem.

      I truly want these VR products to work, but they need to drop in price, and drop very fast before families start justifying the expense.

        Hardly fair calling it a peripheral. People have paid through the nose for peripherals for years. Go look up decent driving or flying sim gear. Not only that, look at all this can offer and it is a 1st gen hardware.
        This gear definitely isn't family ready yet, anyone that expects that is living in a fairly land. Early adopters only. This is a free country, if you don't like the cost don't buy it.
        I will buy one, I won't pre-order, but i will have one by the end of the year. Why? I am a massive nerd and this shit is cool. $1200 is a decent price and if more games are out by the end of the year, or at least on their way, I am in.

        Imagine playing Doom in VR. I would shit my pants. Can't wait. I feel like I will be rediscovering gaming all over again.

        You can wait for a cheaper shittier version come out and complain about why it isn't as good as this tech later. Hell go buy the Samsung VR headset, or google cardboard. They offer shit VR and all you have to do is have a phone that supports it, oh yeah that costs $1000 bucks anyway.

          See I think its perfectly fair to call it a peripheral, because it is. You cant just pick it up out of the box and use it, it needs to be plugged into something else first. Thats what a peripheral is. As for paying through the nose for other stuff, fair call, but thats hardly indicative of the market in general, and the items you talk about cater to a very niche market.

          What percentage of gamers spend $1000 on a proper flight kit or racing rig? Most people that buy them are deep into the genre, and can justify it, while most other people wont, and are satisfied with the normal controller, or at a stretch a $200 flightstick or steering wheel.

          The point about early adopters is a good one, and part of what I'm trying to say. If the product doesnt move fast enough from early adopters to common market, it fails. Its that simple. Like every other attempt, as good as it seems (and again, I REALLY want these to work), a few things have to go right. Not the least of which is cost.

          People look at this from just their own perspective, and thats fair, but to imagine this is just going to work because you want it to doesnt make it work. There needs to be content worth it, which is up to the studios. There needs to be availability, which is up to the manufacturer and retailers. And there needs to be affordability, which comes down to the price tag.

          Me and my family have spent more than our fair share on early adoption of tech, and been burnt more times than I care. So I go into these new fads these days with my eyes wide open, and to me, this comes down to the cost, and how fast it can drop.

            Keep in mind that a graphics card is also a peripheral, and people frequently pay big bug for Titan X's etc.

            I think the flaw in your original argument is that a "primary device" is somehow special.
            A mobile phones primary role is making calls. Mobiles used to be far cheaper, but now we pay a for premium for additional features like screen size/res, storage, etc which are secondary features really.

            I think this really comes down to what matters to the prospective buyer. My Dad just wants to make calls, trying to sell him a top spec iphone just doesnt work, but he will snap up a low spec or hand me down in a flash. I on the other hand use my phone for a variety of tasks, so i chose to spend upfront for a no contract phone with a bunch of bells and whistles.

            Same goes for the vive. When i have a spare penny, i'll definitely snap this up. I don't need it for work, but i find the tech exciting as hell. But for many people a VR device that lets them navigate a room just isnt a requirement.

              Fair points. I'm sticking with the same argument that its too expensive, and while it stays above even $500, its not going to get the traction it needs to get long term support and take off like we want. Every other argument is secondary to that single issue for me, and while there are perfectly valid examples of high end graphics cards, specialised equipment, etc etc, they arent what drives a developer.

              At $1000, there is nothing concrete to support the manufacturing cost will drop fast enough to become a must have purchase. I want one myself, and AGAIN really hope they do, I'm just not holding my breath.

              You're right, it comes down to the prospective buyer. Nerds like us will find a way to justify the cost, and get one, but the generic family aint gonna have $1000 to toss at a gaming device and thats where most sales are - parents buying these for their kids.

              I'm risking repeating myself with this, but the takeaway for me is that these need to be $200 or so, and need the support of a big franchise like COD or Battlefield before they reach a good saturation point to survive. Otherwise, they risk going the same was as 3D did and just be a memory.

                Luckily there are a range of low- and very-low cost VR options, like GearVR and Cardboard. Certainly not as capable or high-quality as the Vive & Rift, but if you have a suitable phone then it can serve to whet your interest until prices for the main event come down in time.

                  Razer also have a version for $299 US. Maybe consider that. Just announced compatible with Team Fortress 2 and Portal. I think.

            I agree, I think Palmer was right when he said if it is $600 it doesn't matter how good it is, for most people it may as well not exist.

            I can't see developers getting behind this unless the unit sales are HUGE, otherwise I think it will be like Kinect, or pick your gaming peripheral from history that has had a huge buzz and then flopped.

            I love VR, but I can't see it getting enough traction at this price point. Sub US$500 and people will just go fuck-it, it's cool, I'll pick one up.
            At these prices some of the early adopters will jump in, but I can't see it being enough to recoup development costs for a AAA title.

      You should also take into account the people that would need to upgrade their computers in order to run VR "smoothly" I'd assume quite a few.

      anyone wanting to get the most out of their VR experience would need to opt for something like a GTX 980.

    no idea what kind of profit they make per unit but Oculus and VIVE had 2 choices.

    1. make outstanding products to give the best VR experience to let people know VR is not a fad and lives up to the hype.

    or

    2. release cheaper, mediocre kits that don't show the true potential of this new platform.

    Wisely they have chosen option 1.

    Be paitent and they pricces will go down.

    This is one sad, expensive innovation that not many people will ever need or want. Perhaps adding a rifle to it may help the sales, because gaming is all about FPS, but this comment is all ready banned in Australia...

    I'm interested but at this stage I'm not sure (from a personal point of view) whether or not I'll find it a gimmick like 3D TVs/cinemas or whether it will be amazing.

    I think it'll be kind of situational. It might appeal to me for certain games but I also dislike the idea of having something obstructing my vision. That said, give me an exploration/horror game (like I've seen in a couple of demos) and I'm probably sold on one.

    At the moment though, I'll wait for prices to go down I think. It's first gen tech so there'll be things to improve upon and I want to hear the reviews from users that play with it for extended gaming sessions.

    my wife tends to raise an eyebrow at $1000. When it's below that I'm in......

      hookers or gaming peripherals? :p lol jks

        Gaming peripherals are no joke

          Not sure which one I'd have a harder time convincing her to let me get o.O At least she knows what I'd use a hooker for.

        Maybe I will lead with the hookers and end with a "fine, i will get a Vive Vr instead"

        Its all about strategy son....

    It will probably be a good idea to step back and see who comes out on top. It would suck to buy one that has no content after a few months.

    So, all this VR stuff is going to be expensive. Seriously, who didn't see that coming?

    On a similar subject and what continues to confuse me to this day is the number of Australian consumers who purchased the Sony PlayStation 3 during the first year of release to which the item was priced at $999. That's expensive, but people still purchased the item. I was shocked.

    People will buy this. If consumers want an item, they will get it. The battle for the VR stuff will come down to ease of access. People want to walk into a store or click a mouse a few times and buy what they want.

    I'm guessing free shipping in the US? Order at the US price to a shipping forwarding company. Why the hell would you pay more as an Australian when they're charging in USD anyway?

    I live in Vancouver Canada, only 30ish km away from Washington State and we feel your pain. Even when the CAD was worth up to 15% more than the USD we still paid 15-20% more for our products plus 12% sales tax. You guys live across the Pacific and in a different hemisphere, we share a land border and can't even get away from it. Don't take it personally, they screw us all

    Also worth taking note, its not just Australia.
    Most countries are getting the price hike and at todays currency rate Aus is fairing well compared to places like NZ paying an extra $100 on top of the $100 due to conversion rates

    How about we start boycotting this nonsense, Australia is a massive consumer, as is NZ. If we all said NO, just once, the companies doing this would balk and drop prices. They want to sell their product no matter what, but if we just whine and then BUY IT ANYWAY, nothing will ever change. The ACCC has already ruled that the markup on digital content (ie; Steam , Itunes, etc) is unfair to foreign consumers (not like the extra charges are for shipping or taxes, or legitimate conversion rates) it's based on the 50+ years of transporting PHYSICAL products from half a world away. Does not apply to digital content. As for the Vive pricing, it's following the same rules for no honest or applicable reason, even though it IS a physically shipped items.

    Gotta stop kowtowing to foreign companies if we ever want a fair go, it's up to us, consumers.

    Can someone explain to me the customs tax and when it's payed?
    I've had my HTC Vive for nearly 3 weeks I payed by Paypal and it was posted by Fed X... Total was around $1440 including shipping but excluding the customs tax of roughly $230
    When will this be charged lmao... Not that I'm in hurry to pay 😜

      Hey mate.
      I have got this clarified with HTC. Don't worry what you have paid thus far is it.
      They have basically charged you USD 899 and will take care of the GST in the background with FEDEx by themselves which is on top.
      They are fixing this correction on passing the GST to consumers as we speak but going forward, the price will remain at USD 899 (inc GST) + freight.
      Duties will be taken of by HTC.

        I just ordered my Vive about a week ago. Funny thing was a couple of days before I ordered, the price on the headset dropped to about $817 US, but the shipping was increased to 208. Their site still says that applicable tax/import duties will apply. Here's hoping they are taking on that cost, purely for the fact that I dont want my shipment delayed by customs :(

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