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HTC Vive will see a staggered launch with ship dates rolling into Q1 2016
When HTC announced its Vive back at MWC, it invariably turned as many heads as it did make people scratch them. The Taiwanese OEM, a long time staple of the mobile world, was announcing a virtual reality headset. Even more shocking, the product was a partnership with Valve. It was, and has been, assumed that HTC’s first foray would be shipping this year.
It seems there is a slight change in plans however, as The Verge has learned that this will be true for only some customers. Interestingly enough, it is Valve that has done the talking here, specifically in a press release detailing its’ upcoming PAX Prime Expo plans:
HTC will offer the first commercial Vive units via a limited quantity of community and developer systems (later this year) with larger quantities shipping in calendar Q1 2016.
It remains to be seen just how the roll-out will take place; will customers be chosen based on their reservation/order timing, or will the entire affair be of a totally random nature? For reference, Developer units have been available for many months now and are actually free at that.
As The Verge has pointed out, the first half of 2016 will see not one, but two different consumer VR products release: Facebook’s Oculus Rift (Q1) and Sony’s Project Morpheus (Q1 or Q2). Despite our own Joshua Vergara having extremely positive things to say about the Vive when he tested it out at MWC, the presence of intense, direct competition is definitely not a good thing when your product first releases.
Facebook has an extraordinary amount of market value, and while Valve does as well -among computer fans- HTC on the other hand has unfortunately relapsed into a what is likely to be a protracted period of poor financial performance.
The presence of Sony doesn’t make things any easier, nor does it help that the company has been involved with interactive entertainment for decades now. HTC on the other hand, is essentially experimenting with a totally new, foreign concept.
What’s in store for when it’s “in stores”
Given the plight HTC is facing, should the Vive fare well it will certainly bring good tidings to the beleaguered OEM. Still, the success of the product is largely dependent on whatever software or “killer apps” that can be produced to “win” the VR wars. Valve is certainly going to bring an exceptional amount of resources, but will it be enough to match wits with the financial resources of Facebook or the gaming prowess of Sony? Will VR actually take off this time, or will 2016 bring with it a resurgence of the failed attempt and bombastic rumors that defined the 90’s?
At the very least, Amazon’s recent tidings might serve as a warning for HTC to attempt any future “creative projects” though at this point, anything’s possible.
Are you interested in the HTC Vive? What about the competition? Do you think VR has a real shot this time around and allow users to enter the world of Johnny Mnemonic? Drop us a comment!