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.
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.
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.