In a first for virtual reality headsets, HTC announced it’s partnering with iFixit to offer official HTC Vive parts, accessories, and repair guides so customers can fix their own headsets.
North American HTC Vive owners can now order parts for the Vive Cosmos Elite, Vive Pro, Vive Pro Eye, and other accessories like power adaptors from iFixit’s website. The parts range in cost from $4.99 for screws, to $59.99 for the HTC Vive Pro Headphones and Short All-in-One Cable. iFixit, which is most well-known for its gadget tear-downs, also provides step-by-step manuals and links to popular repair toolkits.
“We hear from many customers who love their original HTC Vive headsets after years of use, but occasionally still need a specific part,” Daniel O’Brien, HTC America’s general manager, said in a statement. “By partnering with iFixit, we’re taking an unprecedented approach to meeting the demands of our long-time customers who want to repair and continue to use their beloved headsets that may be out of warranty or no longer available through us.”
This is a pleasant surprise on HTC’s part. These days, it’s easy to be cynical about gadget lifespans as tech companies fight against right-to-repair legislation, and planned obsolescence is increasingly the norm. This is especially true for expensive gear like VR headsets, and HTC’s headsets aren’t the cheapest in an already expensive category. By offering DIY repair options, not only is it easier to extend the out-of-warranty life, but you can also save time because you don’t have to mail your device to a specific, authorized repair shop.
Ultimately, there are a ton of different considerations when picking a VR headset, but this move adds long-term customer support and flexible repair options in HTC’s favor. Hopefully, it puts pressure on other VR headset makers to follow suit—though, we’re not holding our breaths.