Start saving now: HTC took to the stage at Mobile World Congress 2016 (MWC) and announced that its Vive headset, in partnership with Valve, is to go on sale in April across 24 countries for an eye-watering $799 (£562, €620) with pre-orders going live on 29 February at 3pm GMT (7am PST/10am EST).

For that princely sum, the Steam VR-powered device comes bundled with the headset itself, two Steam VR wireless controllers and two 'lighthouse' laser base stations for motion tracking, as well as a Vive link box and earbuds.

YouTube/HTC Vive

While gaming has been the focus of HTC's marketing campaign for the Vive until now, it seems that the Taiwanese company is looking to broaden the appeal of its head mounted display (HMD). Vive Phone Services, for example, will integrate smartphone functionality via Bluetooth, allowing you to make phonecalls and send messages in what the company said would be "enabling you to stay connected to the real world, without exiting the virtual world."

An image posted to Reddit appears to confirm that the HTC Vive would launch initially in 24 countries upon its general release in April. Those areas listed are: US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden, Taiwan, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

How much will it cost in the UK?

An early report from Mashable suggests that the UK price for the bundle would be £689, but this has yet to be confirmed by HTC. For a limited time, the HTC Vive consumer edition would include two VR 'experiences' – Owlchemy Lab's Job Simulator and Northway Games's Fantastic Contraption.

A blog post from HTC states the company's belief that the HMD would inspire the creation of content that could become influential across multiple sectors. Cher Wang, CEO of HTC, stated: "With the Vive consumer edition, we are now able to realise our ultimate vision; bringing Vive into homes around the globe so that people can experience immersive virtual reality in a away that fires the imagination and truly changes the world."

Your move, Sony

With the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift (on sale from 28 March) launch plans now set, that just leaves Sony and its PlayStation VR as the last of the 'big three' virtual reality players to announce plans and pricing. Considering the initial backlash at the Oculus Rift's price point of £499 (€699, $599), it is unsurprising that social media is awash with people bemoaning the cost of the HTC Vive. Could Sony undercut the opposition when its own device hits the shelves in a rumoured autumn 2016 release?