HTC Vive Tracker 2018 quietly sneaks onto the store

HTC is making a lot of noise over at GDC regarding its new VIVE Pro headset. You'd think it would also be making some noise about the new VIVE Trackers that would go along with it. But for reasons still unknown, HTC has not said a peep about the upgrade VIVE Tracker (2018). Which is quite strange considering it is what you'd probably expect from an upgrade: better, same price, and most likely incompatible with its predecessor.

These trackers are an HTC VIVE original you'd be hard-pressed to find in other VR systems. It's a relatively small alien-looking contraption you can attach to almost any real-world object and have them be tracked inside the virtual reality one. Almost like a single-purpose, reusable VIVE Controller. But while it performed as advertised, it met only the bare minimum requirements of tracking. And by the time it actually became available for public purchase, it was actually half a year obsolete.

By Mid-2017, Valve was already talking about version 2.0 of its SteamVR Tracking system, the same one that the VIVE Trackers used. 2.0 boasted, among other things, of a much larger tracking space, potentially even multi-room tracking. One big problem though. The original Trackers won't work with a Tracker 2.0 base station.

That's where the still unannounced and practically unacknowledged VIVE Tracker (2018) trackers come in. If you want Tracking 2.0, you'll need the Tracker (2018). Aside from that, very little else differs between 2017 and 2018 models, including the $99 price tag, fortunately. The new VIVE Tracker does have a blue VIVE logo in the middle to immediately tell it apart from the older one shown below.

This is going to make for a somewhat confusing retail message. The $800 VIVE Pro doesn't include the base station or even controllers but is compatible with the first gen kit. The first gen VIVE Trackers, however, are not compatible with the SteamVR Tracking 2.0 station. So if you're really aiming to upgrade everything, be prepared to spend quite a lot more than $800 for the headset alone. At least the controllers are the same. For now that is.

VIA: Tom's Hardware