For anyone wanting to get into VR, the number of options and different price points can be a bit overwhelming. At the lower end, you have Google's Cardboard or Daydream viewers, which can be used in conjunction with Android phones to offer a fairly basic VR experience. Devices like the Oculus Rift fill the middle tier, for those wanting a more robust ecosystem. Then at the top end, you've got the HTC VIVE. At $799 it's only ever been for those who are really serious about VR. HTC is hoping a price drop down to $599 will open it up to a wider audience.
This is the first significant change HTC has made to the retail price of the headset, although there have been discounts through retailers. It comes as the Oculus Rift currently retails for $399, and it's likely HTC wants its device to be competitive. It's also worth noting that cheaper standalone Daydream headsets are coming, including a VIVE model from HTC, and the company even announced its own standalone version in China. Both of these are expected to be more affordable than the current VIVE hardware.
By dropping the price of the current VIVE headset now, HTC must be hoping for some extra sales ahead of those new releases, at which point even $599 will look expensive for a unit that also requires a powerful PC to run. HTC also took the opportunity to promote upcoming games coming to VIVE, such as Fallout 4 VR and Doom VFR, and also reiterated its commitment to producing quality VR content with its range of partners. It also talked up the Viveport subscription, which is a great way of delivering content while also tying users into the ecosystem.