HTC Quietly Retires Vive Cosmos in the US – Road to VR

After being out of stock for months, HTC quietly removed the US-facing product page for Vive Cosmos, its modular PC VR headset released in 2019.

The discrepancy was first discovered by Reddit user ‘Kody1996’, who wondered why the Vive Cosmos product page was missing.

“I am afraid the VIVE Cosmos headset has been discontinued in the US. I suggest you to check with resellers if they have it available,” an HTC service representative confirmed with Road to VR, echoing the statement provided to Kody1996.

At the time of this writing, new units are still available direct from HTC in select markets, including Europe, Australia, Taiwan, and Japan.

Photo by Road to VR

Vive Cosmos has always been a bit of an odd duck. Launching a little over a year after Vive Pro hit the market, Cosmos was set to be the company’s first consumer VR headset since the original HTC Vive. Cosmos’ claim to fame in 2019: integrated audio, competitive displays, and an inside-out optical tracking, which was… not great.

At its 2019 launch, the $700 Cosmos was sandwiched between two primary competitors: Oculus Rift S on the low-end at $400 and Valve Index on the high-end at $1,000 (controllers and base stations included). It would have to perform better than Rift S to defend its seat in the middle ground, but it was actually so bad at launch we postponed our review because we thought we had received a faulty unit. Nope. The headset’s inside-out tracking was just really unreliable in everything but perfect lighting conditions.

One of VR’s Most Veteran Studios Has Grown to 200 Employees While Continuing to Double-down on VR

Those tracking woes were partially improved with successive updates, although the only real way to get ‘perfect’ tracking out of the headset was to ditch its modular faceplate and middling controllers and swap it out for the platform’s rock-solid SteamVR-tracking faceplate, courtesy of Vive Cosmos Elite. When Cosmos Elite launched in 2020, that would have set you back $900 for the all-in kit, putting it $100 below Index, which is still broadly considered the reigning champ for best all-around PC VR headset.

Despite lowering the price of the all-in Cosmos Elite kit in the US from $900 to $750, and even offering a headset-only option for as little as $550, HTC’s modular headset never really managed to serve up competition to Oculus or Valve, making only a sliver of an in-road on Steam in its first year.