HTC has introduced their latest product, the “VIVE Ultimate Trackers,” featuring inside-out Full Body Tracking. They have also unveiled limited-time bundles for this release; however, at the moment, the majority of users won’t be able to even use the trackers.
Full-body tracking may not be essential for most people, and many haven’t had the chance to even test it. Most existing full-body tracking solutions have been either expensive, not user-friendly, or limited to PCVR. HTC aims to change this by introducing its latest product, the “VIVE Ultimate Trackers,” which, while still not cheap, promise much greater ease of use.
the company teased their trackers seven months ago, and a besides a few influencers having a chance to test them, there was no information from HTC about these. However, the wait is over now! HTC has officially announced its product, unveiling pricing, release dates, compatibility, and other essential information for those interested. This article covers everything you need to know.
Each HTC Vive Ultimate Tracker is equipped with two cameras for inside-out tracking. These cameras function similarly to those on Quest Pro controllers or even on the headset, with the sole purpose of tracking the position of the tracker. To accomplish this, each Vive Ultimate Tracker features an onboard CPU and battery, mirroring the setup seen in Quest Pro controllers.
HTC claims that each tracker has a 7-hour battery life, which is quite impressive if we compare them to VIVE’s SteamVR trackers, which also had a 7-hour battery life but required SteamVR base stations to function and lacked cameras or processors onboard.
The HTC Vive Ultimate Trackers are priced at $200 each in the U.S., 239€ in Europe, and £209 in the U.K. However, until December 31st, HTC is offering bundle deals.
Users can purchase the “VIVE Ultimate Tracker 3+1 Kit Special” for $600 in the U.S., 669€ in Europe, and £600 in the U.K. This kit includes three trackers for lower body tracking, one wireless dongle to connect trackers to HTC XR Elite, 1 Dance Dash download key, and a TrackStraps set for the VIVE Ultimate Tracker.
There are additional deals available, primarily geared towards those who either own or plan to purchase the HTC XR Elite headset Full list is available in the post here.
For comparison, to achieve a top-tier Full-Body Tracking solution on PCVR (but with a similar price point), before the introduction of VIVE Ultimate Trackers, you would need two base stations ($149 each) and three HTC VIVE Trackers or Tundra Trackers, priced at approximately $120 each (although Vive Trackers are currently priced at $100, likely due to the launch of the new trackers). Summing it all up, the cost would be around $600 for base stations and three trackers – roughly the same amount as HTC’s newest Ultimate Trackers.
However, the earlier iterations are only compatible with SteamVR and cannot be used on any standalone system, where the HTC Vive Ultimate Trackers clearly outshine them.
However, there’s a big catch: The Vive Ultimate Trackers are currently only compatible with the HTC XR Elite headset and not even with PCVR or any other standalone device. This limitation is expected to change in the near future, as Shen Ye, the Global Head of Product at HTC, mentioned in a tweet that PCVR compatibility is coming as a “beta in the coming weeks.” Additionally, compatibility with third-party All-In-One (AIO) headsets, such as the Meta Quest 3, is planned for the future, although a specific date is not yet known.
Releasing a product that is not compatible with the majority of devices within HTC’s target audience is a concerning sign, but there are undoubtedly efforts to enable compatibility in the future.
Full Body Tracking, despite being an intriguing technology, currently has very few practical use-cases. A big chunk of users using full-body tracking does so in social apps like VRChat, where they can freely move, dance, or present themselves more naturally through their entire body. While the HTC Vive Ultimate Trackers offer the potential for standalone use with state-of-the-art tracking quality, there is a relatively inexpensive standalone solution for full-body tracking, such as IMUs like SlimeVR. However, these are uncertain and not widely distributed products. If you are planning on purchasing Full-Body Tracking set right now, waiting a bit could be a wise decision.