HTC revealed their new standalone Vive Focus headset today, poised to launch into the Asian market. Earlier this year the device was teased to be heading to Western markets as part of Google’s Daydream platform in 2017, but now HTC confirms they’ve canceled those plans.

The Vive Focus headset was actually first announced for the Western market back at Google I/O 2017 in Q2. Though it was unnamed at the time, it was said that the headset would make its debut as part of Google’s Daydream platform. Later in 2017, HTC announced that the same standalone headset would also launch in Asian markets except it would draw content from the company’s own Viveport platform.

SEE ALSO
HTC Announces 'Vive Focus' Standalone VR Headset

Today, following the announcement of the Vive Focus for Asian markets, HTC has confirmed to Road to VR that it has canceled plans to bring the Daydream version of the headset to the US and other Western markets.

“We still have a great relationship with Google, but will not be bringing a standalone device to Western markets on Daydream,” a spokesperson for the company tells us. “We’re looking closely at our hardware roadmap, and will share when there is more to come for Western users next year.”

Google’s VP of VR and AR, Clay Bavor, mirrored the message on Twitter. However, Bavor confirmed that the Lenovo Daydream headset, which was announced earlier this year alongside the Daydream version of the Vive Focus headset, is still in the works and seemingly on track for a launch in 2017.

The cancellation of the Western variant of the Vive Focus comes off as a rather sudden reversal, and seemingly strange timing as the headset was due to launch in the next few weeks. HTC has offered little detail on what prompted the change in strategy, but it seems that competition from its closest rival, Oculus, may be part of the equation.

In October Oculus announced a low cost standalone headset, the Oculus Go, priced at $200 and due to launch early next year. The company also demonstrated a more advanced standalone headset, the Oculus Santa Cruz Prototype II which features inside-out positional tracking and motion controllers.

SEE ALSO
With Facebook's 💰, Oculus Is Fending off Old Enemies, Former Friends, and New Foes

Meanwhile, HTC is still battling financial difficulties spanning the last several years. Though their Vive division appears to be a bright spot in an otherwise cash-strapped company, the VR market is still small compared to the their overall business. The troubles prompted HTC to sell off some talent and IP to Google for $1.1 billion earlier this year.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.


  • It would be a good idea for them to scale all of this back. VR is stagnating at the moment and without positional tracking, it would be a very poor headset. Oculus should do the same with the Go, shelve it, and come back in a year or two when Santa Cruz is ready for prime time. It’s best not to sully the market with poor experiences, as I’m certain Lucky would point out if he was still running things.

    • CURTROCK

      Gear VR has vastly more users than all PC-based HMD’s combined. The Oculus GO is poised to become the inexpensive gateway to introduce VR to the masses on an unprecedented scale. The only thing I read into HTC not releasing in North America, is they have decided to “Focus” on Asia (pun intended). Oculus isn’t avail in China (afaik). As far as Go being a poor experience, even if it provides nothing more than a huge immersive personal viewing screen for consuming media, at $199 it’s gonna be a hit.

      • RFC_VR

        Gear VR / Galaxy and Daydream View / Pixel XL are fantastic for viewing videos whether 360 or virtual cinema as the display panel tech on contemporary smartphone is higher specification than current consumer PC VR hmd’s (Rift/Vive using old tech)

        YouTube VR is very nicely integrated into Daydream making it a low friction experience encouraging regular use.

      • Really? Come on man! They *GAVE* away the Gear VR, millions of them, for FREE, with the phones. My sister got one with her Galaxy 8 Note that she’s never used. She tried my GearVR a few months earlier, got instantly sick because of it’s lack of positional tracking, and won’t touch mobile VR now. The GearVR soured her to VR in general!

        What are the REAL numbers for people using GearVR? And not just the people who “Tried it once”, but people who use it regularly? Don’t tell me about the number of dust-covered units out there, tell me who’s actually using it 1 month later.

        Sure, there are people here that do, but we’re enthusiasts. We buy anything! But we are a market of 1,000’s. Companies need to sell to MILLIONS! And those MILLIONS need to continue use the device regularly to justify investing even more millions of dollars to make top-shelve games for them.

        The *REALITY* is that Google-Cardboard-style VR, 3 axis rotation, is very poor and appeals to very few people. It’s very nausea inducing to most people. It lacks immersion because it allows for no head or body movement, only rotation.

        Oculus Go is a market failure before it’s even released. HTC made the intelligent choice shelving their hardware for now, at least until the positional tracking is up and running.

        • CURTROCK

          Well, Oculus Go will either be a huge success according to me, or it’s already a failure according to you. Oculus & Samsung have the analytics regarding user base, app sales, etc. Both companies have iterated on the original GearVR. It would strike me as quite odd that Oculus/FB would go to the trouble/expense of creating the Go if their data indicated GearVR was the flaming failure that you say it is. Remember, Go = better screen, better lenses, better OS implementation, more horsepower, no phone & associated limitations. It’s no Rift or VIVE, but it’s gonna be a slamming personal viewer, with simpler yet immersive games/social experiences. The question I ask you is : will people pay $199 for a portable/theatre sized screen to watch TV, Movies, YouTube, w/3D games as well?

  • Jim Cherry

    They canceled daydream support for the focus cause they were unwilling to drop 6dof inside out tracking. Oddly enough including the new tech will limit them on a software front, cause almost all of android vr is 3dof. and with so many cardboard compatible devices that might not change any time soon.

    • daveinpublic

      Why would they need to drop 6dof inside out tracking for Daydream? I thought that’s what WorldSense was.

  • daveinpublic

    Good article, although I’m having a hard time connecting the dots, why is foregoing Google Daydream a good way to combat the upcoming Oculus Go?

  • Lucidfeuer

    Not much to say, given my opinion is the same as when they teased it.

    Standalone VR headset is a pretty stupid idea, unless we’re talking about mobile-experience ready Oculus Go at 200$ (which is cheap enough to buy dozens of them for events and demonstration, or a single one if you don’t want to spend for the convenience of having a high-end smartphone).

    Nothing to see, now I’m just waiting to see how close our numbers scenarios were to reality. Did the VR Headsets sold significantly more (unlikely yet obligatory), if it stalled (likely, which is always a bad sign) or even if it dropped (now that would be relevant).

  • oompah

    oh no
    I hope its steam compliant

  • DiGiCT Ltd

    Stupid move from HTC, they should have known better as their arcade places are also not really running here in China yet as well too.
    This just another stupid decision made by their vr president Alvin Wang greylin.

  • WyrdestGeek

    I’m just sitting here waiting for *any* mobile VR platform with 6 dof and reasonably good tracking that “just works” from right out of the box.