Enterprise? Consumer?

Vive Focus Plus is set to launch as an enterprise product in Q2 2019 in all markets except China, where it will follow in Vive Focus’ footsteps as an honest-to-goodness consumer device.

This makes a certain amount of sense coming from HTC’s corner, and it’s not a case of the company withholding what some have stretched to call an Oculus Quest competitor. It’s not a Quest competitor plainly because it isn’t appealing to consumers outside of China, not to mention the difficulty it would have hitting a consumer price-point to rival Quest’s $400 price tag.

Note: The original Vive Focus still sells for $600, and it would be a pretty surprising turn of events if Vive Focus Plus either meets or beats that price.

Image courtesy HTC

That said, HTC isn’t stopping world-wide consumers from getting their hands on a Vive Focus Plus if they want one, but then again there’s probably no real reason to get one anyway if you aren’t looking to use it for building a job training program, or other specific work-related task.

“But what about cloud gaming?” you might ask. While it’s undoubtedly coming at some point, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath. It’s a likely going to be a multi-year challenge that needs both a working 5G infrastructure and a massive network of localized servers dedicated to rendering SteamVR games as close to the user as humanly possible (aka ‘edge computing’), all of which currently doesn’t exist.

Hands-on: HTC's '5G Hub' Demonstrates VR Cloud-rendering is on the Horizon

HTC’s reasoning behind the consumer launch in China: In China, PC gaming is mostly relegated to Internet cafes simply due to the high startup cost. Talking to HTC Vive Americas general manager Daniel O’Brien, the company sees more promise in China because an overwhelming number of Chinese consumers are more apt to spend their hard-earned yuan (¥) on mobile phones, and by that token, on mobile VR headsets. The appeal of having an all-in-one, standalone VR experience is a strong enough draw in China, and now that the headset features at least one important technical capability of the 6DOF-everything PC VR headsets of today, it’s logical that HTC would chase the market there with a followup offering.

Talking to HTC Vive China president Alvin Wang Graylin, I also learned the strategy is based on how the company has engaged and incentivized Chinese developers to build apps that work on a variety of devices running on HTC’s open Vive Wave platform, which includes support for a number of third-party Chinese headsets that consequently also directs users to the Viveport mobile digital distribution platform. The company has so far created enough draw with Viveport mobile to get Chinese developers interested in not only making sure their older content works with 6DOF controllers, but also build new 6DOF content from the ground-up.

So far it looks like consumers outside of China will just have to wait for whatever standalone product is next, as HTC still has a ways to go before they can stock a mobile VR app store with appealing content targeted at the rest of the world.

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  • Muzufuzo

    for that specs people may want to pay $400 but definitely not more, it won’t sell at a higher price, remember what happened with Xbox One (with Kinect 2) in 2013/14 for $499 compared to PS4’s $399? you need a justification for a greater price and Focus Plus doesn’t have one (I am not saying it’s bad but it’s not awesome either)

  • MosBen

    Since it’s based on the same Snapdragon 835 that’s in the Quest, do we have any ideas about why the Vive Focus would be several hundreds of dollars more than the Quest? Is Oculus just taking a steep loss, or is there some expensive feature in the Focus that I’m overlooking that explains the cost difference?

    • MosBen

      Looking back at the news surrounding the Cosmos from CES, HTC was suggesting that they were going to have 4 hardware categories for VR: Enterprise (Vive Pro/Eye), Enthusiast (Vive), Casual Tethered (Cosmos), and standalone/mobile (Focus). It seems odd that their standalone device, which seems to me to be the most casual-friendly category, is being targeted at enterprise, especially since they have the Vive Pro as their enterprise category.

      • MosBen

        Eh, I might as well make this a self-referential thread. With the Cosmos in the process of FTC certification over a month ago, and the Quest set to launch in the next four months, it seems like we should be getting some real information on these devices super soon, right? Pretty exciting times.

        • Trenix

          What’s so exciting? We’re getting worse devices for a similar price of devices that are three years older which are more powerful. Mark Cuck has thrown the Oculus in the trash and Vive is greedy as hell. VR is going to go behind another 10 years.

          • MosBen

            I don’t agree that the Quest or Focus is worse than the Rift or Vive. They’re different products that have strengths that the tethered headsets don’t have, and different use cases.

          • Trenix

            What are you talking about, the quest is intended for gaming. The wire isn’t a big as a problem as people portray it as and people are going to get a weaker headset with a much lower refresh rate. For gamers, performance and controller reliability is way more important than a wire.

            All that the current VR generation needs is better lenses and increased resolution with eye tracking. The wireless option should be an addon. Eye tracking in itself can reduce the need of having such a powerful computer to run a VR headset. There is a reason why one of the original founders of the Oculus stepped down. This is NOT the future.

            Also another thing to add, if your computer can’t run a VR headset by now, then you’re in need of an upgrade anyway.

          • Proof XR Lab

            The wire is not the issue nor the technical specifications of headsets; the two main issues are the lack of engaging, compelling content and cost of entry as a barrier to larger scale uptake.

            Content will not come until we have a larger installed user base. User base will not grow until we have the content. Chicken and egg situation. To resolve this takes financial heavy lifting (see Facebook underwriting content for Oculus platform).

            You can have the best headset in the world, but if there is nothing to do with it, its nothing more than a novelty, and novelty wear off quickly.

            Cost of entry is too high considering PC VR requires a headset and performance PC. Standalone headsets cut this cost by 2/3rd, allowing user base to grow as more casual adopters get on board.

            As someone who uses PC VR and standalone (including the Focus and Mirage) I can see the benefits of the standalone. The user base needs to dramatically grow, and quickly, to retain developers who cannot make money from VR unless underwritten by a backer like Facebook / Google.

          • Trenix

            I don’t know anyone who’s complained by the lack of content. It’s more of a lack of players. I believe a large portion of people are waiting for the next generation of VR, such as myself. And with these new devices, they wont bring them it whatsoever. VR developers continue to shoot themselves in the foot because rather than hearing out and obtaining new customers, they’re trying to sell them crappy products which give a far worse experience.

            As if the Oculus Go didn’t prove that it wasn’t what we wanted. As if the lack of sales in mixed reality didn’t state that that none of us want anything to do with it. Developer aren’t going to tell us what the future is, consumers are. They are the buyers and I’m not buying these trashy products. What are they aiming for, children? As if a parent would buy a system that a child puts on their head.

          • Proof XR Lab

            Your first comment is very interesting, “I don’t know anyone who’s complained by the lack of content. It’s more of a lack of players”.

            Why is there a lack of players?

            Players aren’t being attracted because the AAA content that is available on other gaming platforms (console, PC, mobile) is not available for VR.

            We had a couple of poorly optimised, previous generation AAA ports (Skyrim, Fallout and more recent Doom VFR), and some Oculus funded exclusives but we are lacking the big titles AAA to attract the wider audience.

            Lack of content and high equipment entry cost (barrier to entry) = lack of player

            We haven’t even see Half Life VR which considering Valve’s investment in VR is a real shame :(

          • MosBen

            The Nintendo Switch and the Xbox One are both intended for gaming. The Xbox One is significantly more powerful than the Nintendo Switch, but I don’t consider it necessarily superior because they both serve different needs. You may not think that a wired tether is a big deal for your use case, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t use cases where it’s a very big deal. I’d love to take my Rift to my parent’s house, but I’m not going to lug my heavy gaming PC on a multi-hundred mile drive for a demo weekend with my family. And even as someone that is used to the wire I still sometimes get tangled enough to mess up a hit in Beat Saber, or have to be mindful of it as I turn around in a room-scale experience.

            As for eye tracking, you said that the Quest (and similar devices) were “worse” devices compared to the almost three-year old Rift and Vive. But while the Quest’s Snapdragon 835 is certainly less powerful than than most desktop machines that run a Rift (I will admit that I’m not sure exactly what its equivalent desktop graphics card would be), it does have significantly sharper screens, which will be a nice upgrade, especially for reading text in games and watching 3d movies, which the Rift kind of sucks at. And, of course, the Rift doesn’t have eye tracking, so it’s not really relevant to whether the Quest is “worse”.

            As for Iribe, from what I understand, the consensus about his leaving Facebook, though not confirmed, is that he wanted to put out a more ambitious Rift 2 (or whatever they’ll call it), while Facebook wanted a more incremental upgrade. It wasn’t about the Quest.

            As for your last paragraph, that’s just a misunderstanding of how most people use computers, the purpose of the Quest, and how VR hits the mainstream. Most people don’t own gaming PCs. Most people don’t even own desktops. Most people are using a laptop that’s a few years old and doesn’t have a discrete graphics card. Oculus also talked about the fact that they did market research and found that something like 85% of people were being held back from getting into VR due to the complexity of setting it up. The Quest, and similar headsets, aren’t for hardcore gamers that care primarily about pushing their expensive gaming PCs to the limit. It’s about giving people a cost-effective, convenient, and portable option to get into room-scale, 6DOF VR. It’s the Nintendo Switch of VR, and for a lot of people and situations, that’s a great option.

          • Trenix

            This isn’t Nintendo Switch vs Xbox One. I can’t even comprehend a single comparison. One relies on controllers that detect your movement, the other doesn’t. One is meant to be a mobile hand-held, while the other isn’t. Nintendo was also know for it’s exclusive games. There are just so many things that set these two consoles are apart.

            The Quest is trying to compare with the desktop with it’s only seller is that it doesn’t need a powerful computer and there is no cable attached. However, this means that the performance of the VR headset will be significantly lower. This essentially is meant for people who are living in poverty. There are plenty of other alternatives out there which already attract this kind of crowd and none of them succeeded.

            I mentioned eye-tracking because it can make a headset perform far better with a worse graphics card or processor. It may cost more, but the cost would be well worth it for both mobile and desktop users. Yes the rift didn’t have it, but there is no reason why we can’t have a simple upgrade for the rift to have it. A sharper screen and better lenses is definitely an improvement, but the refresh rate is far more important in regards to gaming and playing for a longer period of time.

            As far as I know about the departure of Iribe, it was because he wanted to focus on rift 2, rather than focusing on making a product for the masses. Oculus Go was a joke and so will the quest be in my opinion. Of course we don’t know the reality, but I wouldn’t place my bet on the Quest because of all the uncertainty, and you best believe that both customers and investors feel the same.

            As for your last paragraph, the vast majority of gamers use PC, not console. So again, who exactly is the target market that facebook is after? This is fact, go look up the statistics which are widely available online. Mark is a complete idiot when it comes to business, innovation, and practically everything. He has successfully destroyed the Oculus, you better hope Vive stops being so damn greedy or else the future of VR will be seen in decades, not years.

            That more maybe another entrepreneur comes along. Also the setup process is easy as hell, if you can’t setup a VR headset, you probably shouldn’t use a TV. We got plenty of people too afraid to switch to a smart phone, does that mean it needs to be more basic? No, people got to just not be so damn stupid.

          • MosBen

            The X-Box is a powerful gaming machine that is not mobile and requires other hardware to work, like a TV. The Switch is a system that trades processing power for portability, and can be used without any external hardware. Meanwhile, the Rift/Vive are HMDs designed to work with powerful gaming PCs and are not portable. The Quest, on the other hand, trades processing power for mobility and being self-contained, like the Switch. Sure there are differences, no comparison is perfect in every regard. The point is that they are similar in important ways which highlight that the different machines have different use cases which play to their strengths and weaknesses. Also, no requiring a powerful computer is a huge selling point. Most people don’t have a powerful gaming PC, and most people aren’t going to buy/build one just for VR. The requirement of having a gaming PC dramatically raises the cost of PC VR, which is a big reason why future PC HMDs from the bigger players are likely to play to lower spec machines out of the gate.

            I’m confused about your third paragraph. No easy update would give the Rift eye tracking. Maybe the next generation Rift will have eye tracking, but I’m not holding my breath.

            As for the vast majority of gamers using a PC, care to back that up with some numbers? It depends on how you classify gamers, but Steam has something like 90 million users, while there are something like 80 million PS4 users. Adding in people who use the Xbox One and Switch will easily eclipse 90 million, and that doesn’t count people who still play on previous generations of console hardware or the retro consoles like the NES Classic. At best, it doesn’t seem at all reasonable to suggest that the vast majority of gamers use PCs, and even people who play on PCs don’t necessarily have PCs with high end graphics cards necessary for VR (though the number of Steam users with VR capable PCs certainly is higher now than ever). But that’s beside the point, the target for the Quest is someone like my wife, who likes VR, but doesn’t consider herself a gamer, or my parents, who would never own a gaming PC, but might try something like the Quest. It’s designed to expand the community of VR.

            And you may consider VR setup to be easy as hell, but Oculus seems to have pretty solid evidence that lots of people don’t find that to be the case.

          • Tadd Seiff

            This essentially is meant for people who are living in poverty.

            wtf are you talking about?

          • Trenix

            I’m talking about you.

          • zeef

            oh burn

          • zeef

            the vast majority of gamers use PC, not console.

            No, I think it’s more like 60% PC 40% console, but not a vast majority of PC gamers.

            Extending this into the VR space, and in an effort to get this back on the rails of being a discussion about something actually relevant and sensical, PSVR (console) and PC -based VR both sold 4 Million headsets through 2018.

      • Tesla

        They say “This is for Enterprise use”, but then I see device which is just nothing special and worse than Odyssey+. Enterprise will simply get Odyssey+ or Quest, for much less.

        • MosBen

          Well, Odyssey+ requires a PC and a tether, so I get a pitch that being able to use a VR unit in almost any room with little setup and no separate computing unit is something that some enterprise users would want. But yeah, I’m not seeing a huge difference between this and the Quest that would explain a huge price difference. Maybe HTC offers enterprise customers some type of custom development/support that won’t be offered in a consumer-facing product? That’s the best that I have, because just from a hardware specs perspective it doesn’t seem like this is obviously superior to the Quest in any way, other than being available now.

      • MOT

        I would see cosmos as a vive replacement.

        • MosBen

          Didn’t HTC specifically say that it isn’t though?

    • Proof XR Lab

      HTC don’t have an advertising business (Facebook) underwriting their operating costs, nor their own app store operating at scale like Valve’s Steam. Viveport and Vive Wave do not generate enough revenue to offset profit loss on selling hardware near to cost (console business model).

      HTC have to maximise profit on each headset sold whether for PC VR or Standalone. Facebook are playing Oculus as a long game, and absorbing costs which HTC simply cannot afford due to their shaky financial situation.

      • MosBen

        That’s the best analysis that I’ve seen or can think of, but a several hundred dollar difference in price is still pretty big. Assuming that the hardware costs are more or less comparable, that means that HTC is taking a huge hit to sales by not making this a consumer facing product in order to net multiple hundreds of dollars of profit in per unit sales. I’m not sure that the math really works out great there, but like I said, it’s the best explanation that I’ve heard.

        • Proof XR Lab

          The problem for HTC is scaling up production, which has a high cost attached (bill of materials, manufacturing, warehousing, shipping) they probably cannot afford given their well publicised financial problems (as a company, not a VR division).

          By keeping production runs small, by selling smaller volume of higher profit “prosumer” and enterprise equipment, requires less up front finance, the lead time from ‘factory to shop floor’ (production of unit to final sale of unit) is critical in terms of cash flow.

          Companies with poor financial performance find it difficult to raise credit or even get credit insurance, and this has a dramatic impact on cash flow.

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    • dk

      if the panels r the same …basically no significant difference
      …but facebook can afford low profit from hardware at least until vr gets kick started in a big way and in the mean time making money on the software side ….and they r using a platform 2 generations behind to keep the price down
      ….and htc can’t afford low profit on hardware

      • MosBen

        Well, HTC is using the same older hardware platform, but the idea that Facebook is willing to make less profit makes sense, though a few hundred dollars per unit of pure profit is a pretty big difference.

        • dk

          yep like I said they r both using the same hardware basically …and one can afford low profit on the hardware

    • Both of two:
      – Facebook is surely selling at cost / at loss. They have deep pockets and want to win the war now to take the money back on the long run;
      – HTC is aiming at enterprise markets and so the price results artificially high

      • G-man

        yep, but i dont get why any enterprise market would bother paying double. because they are a usiness suddenly means they can pay doubl for something they can get the same thing for half the price…

    • Lucidfeuer

      Purely manufacturing costs and margins. Also on the chinese market they don’t have Oculus has a competitors.

  • MW


    • AlexanderBailey

      I’ve tried the Vive Focus. It had major lagging issues and the head strap broke down immediately. It’s total rubbish. I sent it back. Add 6dof and it can probably only handle 16 polys.

      So yes, agreed!

  • oompah

    Vive needs to evolve further similar to hololens but instead of costly optical waveguides I would recommend this :


    i.e. inexpensive pinhole mirror technology that can give very wide depth of focus.

  • HomeAudio

    “Hands-on: Vive Focus Plus Brings 6DOF Controllers, Design of a Toilet Seat and New Lenses & Better Comfort”

    The title is not too long??…. :/

  • Thanks for this interesting review!