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Why did HTC cancel plans to release wireless VR handset in the U.S.?

Posted by Jason on November 17, 2017 at 9:05 AM

It's a question that's been asked innumerous times since HTC and Google both confirmed that they would no longer be bringing their standalone VR headset to the U.S. market, and a question that will be asked again.

The Daydream standalone VR headset was announced in May of this year, and many were left waiting and wondering when HTC would roll out the first of its shipping.

"Daydream standalone from HTC." Clay Bavor, VP of virtual and augmented reality for Google, confirmed the news on Twitter. Adding, "We remain great partners."

Bavor also mentioned that a lot of Google virtual reality experiences will still be available on the HTC Vive.

So, why did this happen?

The unsatisfactory news came after the success of Facebook's Oculus began dominating the VR market, which is very small.

Facebook slashed the price of the Oculus earlier this year, from a similar retail price to that of HTC's Vive VR system, by half. This move forced HTC, who were first on the U.S. market with VR technology, to lower the price of the Vive VR system, which cost them even more money.

When a company's financial loss is more substantial than their gains, it's generally a good idea to cut the cord, and while Facebook proclaim they have minimal interest in virtual reality hardware, their sales are still towering over HTC's.

Technology will continue to move forward, and so it was in HTC's best interest to sell to a market where they know they'll be able to make more money than they've spent, as well as be able to focus on developers in and around China, affording opportunities to those who wouldn't get them if the U.S. had been a success.

HTC plans to continue to develop its VR headsets -- particularly the Vive Focus -- in China, where they have seen constant, growing success. The company's smartphone based mobile VR brand has grown in aid to a software launcher that's tied to the Viveport content store.

Running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, the Vive Focus uses inside-out positional tracking for maximum freedom and, one can only imagine, another surge of competitors' VR headsets in a war-of-the-web not seen since even Amazon decided to take on television and movie streaming.

The Vive Focus's release date is still to be announced, but HTC plans to again release the hardware exclusively to the Chinese market.

They also have plenty on the horizon, with the Vive Wave platform on the cards, pairing content with hardware partners which will unify developers based in China.

Drawing the subject away from the fact that the eagerly awaited HTC Daydream will no longer be coming to U.S., Google have also announced a collaboration with Lenovo on a VR headset that will also run on Daydream.

It remains to be seen who the leading competitors will be for the virtual and augmented reality market, but if the technology has grown this far in a short period of time, the U.S. will have more opportunities to utilize HTC.

Categories: Gaming and other topics, Technology

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