HTC recently announced that it the expected arrival date for its SteamVR powered headset the Vive had slipped from ‘holidays 2015’ to April 2016. HTC’s CEO Cher Wang claims however that “…we could have started to ship Vive this month”.

So, the HTC Vive has slipped and will no longer be the first consumer grade, desktop VR headset to reach market this year. HTC announced this week, after rising speculation from both communities and media, that their original hopes for releasing a limited number of HTC Vive systems to market would not now be met, with the release date moving to April 2016, behind the estimated launch of Oculus’ Rift in Q1 2016.

The company later updated the blog post announcing the slip with news that pre-orders for the April launch will start at the end of February. Additionally, HTC pledged to make an additional 7000 HTC Vive developer kits available prior to launch.

steamvr htc vive developer edition unboxing (1)

However, according to HTC, the hardware as it stood was ready, with CEO Cher Wang recently going on record stating that:

It was a tough decision to make, as we could have started to ship Vive this month, but after discussing it with Valve, our strategic partner, we decided that we can offer a more technologically advanced product if we postpone it for another quarter

HTC’s financial position is in a somewhat troubled state, after posting a net loss of $133.4 million for last quarter, with their share price dropping over 13% in the wake of this latest announcement. So how much the above statement was designed as damage limitation to rebuff questions of strategy regarding the company’s entry into the VR hardware arena, partnering with Valve on the SteamVR platform.

Hidden SteamVR Feature May be Another Clue to Valve's Rumored Standalone VR Headset

On an more positive note, the slip means more time to refine and hone the HTC Vive consumer form factor, which we reported would indeed see some changes en route to retail. The statement from Wang probably speaks to those refinements. Those hoping for more drastic improvements such as FOV increases and display resolution increases however, may be disappointed.

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  • user

    they need to design the hmd in a way that lets consumers add an eye tracking device later. or ship it with the hardware and make the software better later.
    you can’t build trust in a new technology if something essential is missing and some months later consumers realize that they should have waited. the same will happen to many people who bought a 4k tv set without hdr support.

  • Carl Usick

    I guess you have to forgive HTC for fibbing again about the Vive being ready. They must be in even worse shape than it seems to be so worried about the present that they have to lie about something that will only buy them a couple of months of breathing room. It’s not like the Vive was ever going to save the company.

    It’s pretty crazy to say you could start selling a product now, when you haven’t even shown a working model of the thing you say you are ready to sell to the public. And you are going to improve on this consumer ready device, make refinements, and then start producing and selling them in large quantities in the next 4 months? Really?

    I mean, if you are going to tell tales, at least make them plausible.

    • Grung

      Exactly my thoughts… except for the forgiving part. Business should not be run like this, and as a consumer I just can’t trust them anymore.

      • someoneperson

        Your stupidity amazes me!

        • Grung

          Why thankyou kind Sir, I aim to please.

  • Scott James

    The VR bus is late again.
    It’s frustrating, but it’s not like I’ve got an alternative. Nothing to do but wait.
    Times like this that I have to remind myself that it’ll get here when it gets here. No point constantly checking the schedule and upsetting myself with matters I have no control over.

    • Itchy_Robot

      Exactly. It’s crazy how mad people get from technology delays. The engineering feats it takes to make the hardware this complex and manufacture it on a large scale is beyond 99.9% of the general public, including my own. So, I sit back and wait for this awesome technology to be released.

      • Ryan Landry

        Ya know, Id agree with you but everytime things (ie. games, hardward, movies etc.) finally “gets released” they always seem to be sorely lacking still. Like, wtf did you even do…idk just my 2 pennies

  • Grung

    Guess who wont be buying a vive now? HTC lied and I am sure they knew way before they actually told us….

    As a person with limited spending power I had to pass on so many amazing Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals becuase I was saving my money for their promise of end of 2015 limited sale. Had they came out and said that earlier I would have bought some of those deals (god there were some amazing deals) and for the next 4 months saved for a a vive vr…. now I will just keep my money for oculus after having initially wanted the vive.

    • someoneperson

      It’s your own fault, it was so obvious that they were going to fail to hit the december deadline that you could see it at the end of October (they were supposed to announce the consumer spec mid October and they failed to do that, ontop of that I remember reading that, in terms of profit, htc was losing money for quite some time now, I believe I remember reading this early November at latest. Put the two together and this outcome was obvious!). And considering getting the rift over vive is like considering getting a concole over a pc, it’s just plain ignorant due to the vast difference in tech, vive is better than rift. I mean really, you’d be willing to give up the ability to move freely in a virtual reality environment, granted the space is rather small but still better than what the rift offers, because of your own lack of foresight?

      • Grung

        Well they never said anything about it being canceled until now, how is it exactly my fault? I thought they were keeping it as a holiday surprise for December, kind of like a marketing ploy tease and release, and I wasn’t the only one who thought that either btw, I have read this on tech websites who thought the same… As for the movement part, Oculus has the benefit of oculus touch (designed by the dudes who made the xbox controler), and while moving is cool I will be playing most games sitting down and the ability to use my fingers to pick up items, using gestures and use guns more naturally are equal to the walking around part for me and the fact that it is much lighter than anyone thought it would be according to people would make playing for hours much easier. Plus Oculus has the oculus store with many apps in it already (and it will work with steam)… I mean dont get me wrong I love that steam is involved with the vive… but I have had products from HTC that crapped out on me before so I was always doubting the vive (even tho it was my first choice) I dont think going oculus is a worse choice in my opinion, the both have their merits… but to each their own I guess.

      • MasterElwood

        It´s already confirmed that the rift can do room tracking. You just need an additional camera or 2 (rift supports up to 6). It´s a CHOICE to sell the rift as a “seated experience” because walking around in a small room makes no sense! And why the heel would i? I want to fly space ships. I want to fly planes. I want to drive race cars! All seated experiences.

        Why the hell would i want to walk? You see something in the distance – you walk to it – but after a few steps you hit the wall. Presence ruined.

        If i am in a chair – i can pretend i am in a vehicle. A wheelchair or something. Or a robot. Or a mech. Much better for presence – much better experience.

        I´ll take sitting with touch compared to walking with sticks any day.

        • loldude

          I’ll take seating with haptic over seating with xbox controller when April rolls around.

          • MasterElwood

            I said TOUCH. RIFT + TOUCH is the way to go.

      • JoeD

        It’s his fault because HTC lied? That’s some logic. And you then back up that claim by pointing out other instances of HTC’s lying? But hey, they were mistaken in their facts, and so are you so I can see why you side with them.

  • RockstarRepublic

    Well, Vive was going to be my choice… But lack of information, false claims and a complete disregard for their target audience pretty much means I’ll be preordering an Oculus when it hits.

    HTC really #$^(@ed up.

    • Jim Cherry

      as someone whose followed mobile over the last decade i took htc’s ideal launch of holiday 2015 as a check their ass couldn’t cash. Even lg has a better track record when it comes to meeting expectations.

  • DooYes

    Why are people bent out of shape about this being late. You were lied to? The tech is tricky, and completely unknown in a manufacturing sense. What are the reasonable cost savings that can be made? Do you skimp on the lenses, do you use a different manufacture technique, do you use a different material. We aren’t in prototype land any more, this stuff is difficult. Let them deliver a decent product rather than a lemon.

    More importantly, being late to the niche market means nothing, being late to the consumer market is the big issue. The average consumer doesn’t care about VR, nor will they care what team got the first “production” headset to market.

    Best case I can think of is the Iphone. I had 2x smart phones w/ windows CE before an Iphone was released, both were HTC, both were cutting edge, both were niche. Then the Iphone comes out and destroys that market.

    • Pre Seznik

      He said they could’ve started shipping, so it’s not a manufacturing problem. It’s long been out of the design stage, so your “reasons” there don’t apply at all.

      • DooYes

        The design stage being “finished” does not mean you are manufacturing. That being said, you can “design for manufacture”, but that usually comes from lessons learnt over generations of previous high quantity products.

        What I’m trying to say is high volume manufacture often pushes changes back on the design.

        Sure they could have shipped a less polished product. There is no explanation for not shipping a product at all if you’re ready to do so. It has to be a compromise between polish and release date.

    • JoeD

      I don’t get guys like you. On the one hand yeah, if the product needs more time then by all means keep working on it. But on the other hand: don’t make a god damned announcement that the product will ship within a specified time frame and then no one will be upset! If these companies would learn to keep their mouths shut until they are ready to ship things would be different.

      • DooYes

        Fair point. It is typical of new tech that this happens though. Companies almost always underestimate the time from prototype to product.

        • RockstarRepublic

          Keep in mind, HTC has been pissing off its user base for quite some time. They are barely hanging on as a company. Their PR sucks. So a lot of what you see is also people giving them one last shot at actually being honest and forthcoming, they havent. If they dont survive this VR battle then chances are slim they will continue with it when their company is going under.

          So there is a lot more at stake than just being the first to the market.

  • John Hofius

    Steam has been known to use the “it’s done when it’s done” deadline before (e.g. – one of the best video games: Half-Life 2). I’d like to think the delay is more from an adherence to a self-imposed standard of quality than a need to ride a wave of hype.

    I’ll be placing no early bets and will instead wait for the dust to settle on the big 2016 VR headset battle.