Pimax, the Chinese startup building wide field of view (FOV) virtual reality headsets, has secured $20 million in Series B financing.

Shortly after completing its successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2017, which garnered the company $4.2 million in crowdfunding to produce its “8K” wide FOV headset, Pimax then secured a respectable $19.2 million Series A to further its reach. The company’s Series B brings its overall outside investment to $39.2 million.

Major participants in the company’s Series B include Shanghai-based investment firm Ivy Capital and CDF-Capital, based in Shenzhen.

Pimax is best known for producing its first Pimax “8K” headset, which (dubious marketing name aside) included dual 4K panels boasting one of the industry’s widest FOVs in a consumer VR headset at an estimated 200 degrees. Many VR headsets, such as Oculus Rift S, Oculus Quest 2 and Valve Index, typically sit somewhere around 110 degrees, making Pimax a unique offering in the consumer space.

Pimax “8K” V5 prototype | Photo by Road to VR

In the following years the company produced several iterations of its line of “8K” and “5K” wide FOV headsets. The company’s latest flagship—VISION “8K” X, priced at $1,300—features 4K native resolution per eye and a number of iterative improvements over the original such as integrated audio, a damage resistant coating, and better software integration with SteamVR games.

“Recently, during the difficult Covid-19 pandemic Pimax was able to successfully improve the entire product line and even expand mass production volumes,” says Pimax founder Robin Weng. “This new $20M USD funding marks a significant milestone that has brought Pimax to a brand-new chapter of its development. Pimax’s market-tested unique innovations include breakthroughs in field of view, resolution and software compatibility.”

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Pimax “8K”, Photo by Road to VR

Weng says that leading up to its latest cash injection its resources were more limited, so the company had to address issues sequentially, something which had “profound effects in departments such as logistics and technical support.”

“With the additional resources and the solid revenues we are experiencing, we can address issues and complete projects in parallel with considerably greater speed and efficiency,” Weng adds. “Other ongoing improvements are within other teams for personnel and equipment that include R&D, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Of course, customer satisfaction is our number one priority so above all else we are focusing our efforts with our support, logistics and warehousing teams to ensure our most important resource – our customers – are always taken care of.”

In the past, Pimax has been admittedly pretty fast and loose on its promises to both backers and pre-order customers, oftentimes successively delaying main product launches as well as its long-awaited accessories. There’s still no ETA when all backers will receive both the hand and eye-tracking modules first mentioned in the company’s “8K” Kickstarter nearly four year ago, which have been consistently out of stock since the company started shipping in July.

We’re hoping the company’s new funds will help move those out the door sooner rather than later.

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  • TechPassion

    Good news. First things they should do now is to work on quality of their devices and software, plus customer service.

  • Wow dude

    They need to get that hammer head shark size and price down first.

    • FuckNazis

      The best part of PiMax’s 8K + / Vision+ / whatever they call it now, is knowing it’s got the same resolution as the Quest 2, just more FOV.

      For +$1000 more.

      Meh.

      • Rogue Transfer

        The latest Pimax has signifcantly more resolution than Quest 2. The Quest 2 has only got 3664×1920 total resolution, whereas what they call the latest now: the Pimax 8KX has 7680×2160 total resolution. Not to mention compression artifacts & tracking latency on Quest 2 PC-link.

        The Quest 2 has between ~33%~48% less pixel density over only 86~96°, making it overall notably worse. (At the wide IPD setting, it loses resolution & FOV, hence the ranges).

        Not to mention worse controller tracking volume, limited usage time(even in link cable mode) due to the onboard battery continuing to drain quickly.

        Of course, they’re very different devices with different capabilities(e.g. wireless & standalone on Quest 2). The Quest 2 is a marvel for its price, but it is still a compromise device.

        • FuckNazis

          $1300 vs $300.

          Nah. Smaller FOV, but if you check out all the “through the lens” comparisons you’ll see that the Quest 2 and Pimax 8k+ basically look the same.

      • Kev

        That’s just not true, the p8k+ has much more resolution than the quest2 even when you measure it pixels per degree.

        • FuckNazis

          No, it doesn’t. It’s wider, but that’s it. Quest 2 is just a slimmer 4K-density screen. Pimax is just two 4K screens side-by-side.

          • Kev

            The Pimax X is 39.6 pixels per degree, the Q2 is just 24.1. So sorry you are simply making false statements.

          • FuckNazis

            Q2 has 1832×1920 per eye, and 92 degrees of horizontal FOV.

            Pimax 8KX has 3840×2160, and 160 degrees of horizontal FOV.

            That makes 20 pixels per degree for the Q2 and 24 for the Pimax 8kX. This is pretty fucking close, in reality.

            And that assumes Pimax isn’t lying. Which is a big ask given all the lies they’ve told… Like how they used to claim the horizontal FOV was 200 degrees. If that was true though, they’d be behind the Q2, instead of barely-ahead of it. xD

      • Moe Curley

        I’ve come to the point where I just disregard posts that say “meh” as ego trips.

        • FuckNazis

          Meh

    • Ad

      It’s lighter than it looks.

    • kontis

      That makes no sense. The form factor is directly related to FOV (at least with current optical tech and it’s not a megacorporation capable of revolutionizing optics). What you are asking for is literally reduction of FOV, which is their core advantage.

      • Wow dude

        They can definitely make it wrap around but less bulky.

  • Adrian Meredith

    And three years later I’m still waiting for my Kickstarter lighthouses and controllers

    • TechPassion

      Seriously they did not send these yet?

    • Rob Farthing

      Zoinks

    • When they’ll receive the Series C financing, you will get the first lighthouse

    • JesuSaveSouls

      That’s what I mean.

  • ¥DK¥

    No way they can do proper high FoV without eye-tracking and foveated rendering

    • Ad

      DLSS

    • Kev

      Works quite nice for me in SteamVR.

    • dk
    • Nostrildumbass

      Works fine here without either…

    • kontis

      Your eyeballs don’t rotate as far as the entire fov of these headsets. We can NEVER see our full vision fov with perfect sharpness – a lot of it is ALWAYS blurry no matter what we do with our eyes. Fixed foveation can do wonders here.

  • Ad

    They need to find an actual niche. If they can make SteamVR tracking but cheaper then great, but I don’t get them competing with the Index directly. The best thing for them would be to invest in the top of the line and sell to arcades who don’t care about price, the best thing for us would be for them to try and make a Rift S type headset (could they become a WMR partner?) and sell universal accessories that work with other PC headsets.

    • Nostrildumbass

      Well, my recommendation to them would be to just give up on the controllers and focus on the headsets. They’re already the best. They should improve on the materials, work towards lowering the production costs, and improve on their after sales service.

      • Bob

        Right. Whatever happened to those controllers of theirs? Honestly they should just shelve that project since everyone else is going for the Index controllers anyways. Adding more controllers to the overall VR ecosystem is a real pain in the arse for devs.

      • Ad

        They could have made touch style controllers last year and done well for people who were on Vive’s to upgrade to, selling them for like 100. I don’t think their headsets can compete though. There’s the Artisan, the 5K+, and the 8KX. Maybe the 8KX could have some appeal but it has a lower pixel density than the G2 or Q2 and is very expensive. So cheaper would be nice but then you still have the question of warping and pop in. So who knows. I just wish they could sell me some accessories for my index.

        • Kev

          The 8kx has almost exactly the same pixel density as the G2 and vastly higher density than the Q2.

          • Ad

            If they can get the price down sure but right now its buy in is close to 2000.

          • Kev

            They have their best one for 1299 and their cheaper version for 449. 2000?

          • Ad

            Buy in means everything needed, so controllers and base stations add 600 to the 1300.

  • BrightCandle

    The reduced backer deal is a big reason its hard to trust them. First they removed the eye tracking that they commited as part of the backer package, then they made it so those that downgraded from the 8k to 5k would get a $100 coupon that has since become completely worthless and they have also dropped a bunch of stuff that was in the backer commitments.

    We speculated a while ago in the backer community that their upgrade program was likely to solve a cashflow issue and reduce their backer liabilities, selling off more of the company makes this look quite likely the reason. This is not an honest company so I wouldn’t take any of their reasoning to heart at all, time and again they proven to terrible liars.

    • Stu Woody

      Wow! a dishonest Chinese company :( Had to happen eventually I guess, because they behave so ethically in everything else they do, make, sell and otherwise make money from; he says as sarcastically as possible…

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    They started selling ready headsets through Amazon while Kickstarter backers were still waiting for theirs – that’s definitely not fair. If you really want one I can only advise not to preorder but buy an existing model via Ebay, Amazon, Cex etc

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Pimax is just not worth it in it’s current state imho. I tested HP Reverb G1 Vs Pimax Artisan/5k+ and Reverb wins hands down in everything besides FOV and sweetspot. Baby between Reverb and Artisan’s FOV/sweetspot would be an awesome headset. I feel like 130-140 horizontal FOV is the point where FOV stops being an issue. Why has mainstream VR settled for 90 degrees? If Pimax can deliver distortion free 130-140H FOV so could established brands if they chose to. Carmack promised us 140 back in 2016 in 3 years time. It’s the end of 2020 and we’re still at 80-90 degrees :( I give Pimax Kudos for at least trying to push development further.

    • Well, it’s not Carmack who was making decisions, but his Facebook overlords. In fact, i remember him saying that he left Oculus because he was frustrated of how slow things are moving. And things are moving slow because FB wants to produce cheap headsets for the masses.
      Eventually we will get cheap wide FOV headsets. But for now, if you want it, you’ll have to pay for it.

      • ViRGiN

        If you want it, you have to wait or get starvr, cause pimax is a joke.

        • NextGenVR

          As someone whose used both the StarVR One and the Pimax 8KX. I hands down prefer the 8KX. You can check out my review of StarVR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrdQfGhHt-k and 8KX: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3vHVere7fI

          • Ken Catalino

            Just a note to thank you very much for your reviews….I’m going to hold out for the wide POV when that becomes a mainstream feature. After having destroyed 2 Oculus Rift headsets (don’t ask), I’m patiently waiting for the next big headset that incorporates those features which you describe–fov, clarity, comfort, etc. at a price I can afford.

      • digitaldeity

        You really mucked that up. That is not the reason that he’s WORKING at Facebook on a part-time basis. Camack is still there which is why he gave a keynote presentation at Facebook Connect last month.

        • He’s agreed to be there occasionally as an consultant. But he moved on to pursue his own projects. Like artificial intelligence. His keynote was just a novelty and his wishes and visions about the future of Oculus VR present his own opinion, not official FB.

          • digitaldeity

            Novelty? If you have followed any of his work or his openness with his .plan and twitter thoughts since his Doom days, you know that one thing Camack highly values is TIME. In his own words, that’s why he’s pursuing a specific area of artificial intelligence. Carmack mentioned that he wanted to pursue it before he’s too old. Do you really think a guy who values his time so much that he rarely gives interviews or keynotes throughout the year would waste his time on a novelty VR position when he could be using that valuable time in artificial intelligence.

            His words are essentially official FB which is why any newsworthy tweets makes headlines on sites like this. I can’t think of an instance since he’s left as CTO that had to be retracted or disputed due to being his own opinion and not official FB.

          • Weeeeel i guess you know more about what Carmack thinks about his work at Facebook than Carmack himself. Because he said he was frustrated with how slow things are moving and went on to pursue other things. And that his current advisory position at FB consumes only a modest portion of his time.

          • digitaldeity

            His twitter account is up for all to read. He did mention that he was frustrated that VR hadn’t progressed faster. He also mentioned a lot of other VR related things. Carmack didn’t pivot off that topic and say that he’s going to pursue AI because VR is progressing slower than he thought. His keynote speech he was quite optimistic about VR. He even spent several hours in Facebook Horizons to answer as many questions as he could after is keynote was over.

            In his own words, he mentioned that he wanted to pursue artificial general intelligence before he gets too old. Google it and you’ll find dozens of articles about it.

            Carmack also tweeted that he spends 1 day a week working
            on VR – which is probably the equivalent of two weeks for a normal software engineer.

  • xyzs

    Mhh, They create and launch new products, even though they can’t ship the ones they announced 4 years ago, that’s really close to scam.

  • Andres Velasco

    Meh

  • Good for them. But it’s bad that their reputation has been already hurt so bad in these years, so it will be difficult to gain again the trust of the community

  • JesuSaveSouls

    They need to partner with mass production and get into bestbuy and Amazon.Their still difficult to locate.

    • movie12344

      you are right ,i want to see it ,before i buy

  • Igorland

    Total field of view, nothing less!

  • ArtemiyNeko

    Are the 8KX headsets really that good?

    I’ve been very much impressed by the specs, to say the least, but people constantly mention QC issues, availability issues, comfort issues, distortion issues, color issues, software issues, etc, etc, and then others say the issues are overblown by haters. And VR reviewers don’t pay a whole lot of attention to these even if they actually have them on hand, which is not too common in the first place. Not too easy to decide if these are worth their fairly high price.

    • Kev

      I own almost every headset and the 8KX is my daily driver.