HTC’s upcoming Vive Tracker has literally thousands of potential applications for VR, but we can also see how it might be useful outside of the tech. If you’re looking for a cheap motion capture system, though, you’ll still need to buy the headset itself.

HTC itself recently confirmed this over on the Viveport forums. In one thread, a user asked if they might be able to buy a Tracker and two base stations to follow it and get it to work without the headset.

A member of the Vive staff replied: “Not at this time, you do need to have the HMD to use the tracker or the controllers normally.” We’ve reached out to HTC to confirm this is indeed the case.

While that’s not too surprising, it is a shame. Vive costs $799 by itself but with two Trackers costing $99.99 each and two Base Stations costing $134.99 each, you could get a tracked setup for around $470. That’s less than half the price of a Vive and Two trackers, which would come in at around $1,000. HTC is pretty open with what developers do with their Vives once they get them, but it looks like it does want you to actually own a headset if you’re going to access its ecosystem in anyway.

Even if you wanted a full body setup with six trackers on feet, waist, hands, and head that’s $870, still saving you a fair amount. Still, the reply from Vive itself does provide hope that this could be an option down the line one day. The accuracy SteamVR’s Lighthouse system provides is unparalleled in many respects, and allowing others to utilise it for means beyond VR could be a major source of revenue for HTC one day.

That also means you won’t be able to add positional tracking to mobile VR headsets without own a Vive itself. That’s something we’ve already seen from other developers but it sadly looks like they’ll be restricted in doing so.

Vive’s Trackers are set to be available to developers soon before a wider consumer roll out later in the year.

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