Pimax, the China-based VR headset manufacturer known for its wildly successful ‘8K’ headset Kickstarter campaign, probably won’t be hitting its January 2018 ship date for its consumer version as previously promised to early backers. Then again, we sort of expected that in the first place.
As reported by Tom’s Hardware, Pimax is now moving into its fifth prototype version of the ‘8K’ headset, which is said to hide the headset’s sensors, improve IPD adjustment, and improve heat dissipation and strength. The company is also currently exploring a “new hardware solution” to reliably keep refresh rates at 85Hz and 90Hz. Previous prototypes seen at public demos used a 75Hz refresh rate, although Pimax says the current prototype is stable at 80Hz. Regarding the new hardware solution, Pimax says they’ll “reach a conclusion in March.”
The headset, which hooks into Valve’s license-free SteamVR tracking standard, boasts a 200-degree field of view and dual 4K panels—a list of features that garnered it over $4.2 million in Kickstarter funds before its conclusion earlier last month.
While the January shipping schedule was ambitious from the very beginning, Pimax also recently took on nearly $15 million in Series A funding which will give them more runway to further refine the headset and ensure a smoother consumer launch.
Pimax says they’ll update backers sometime after CES (January 9-12) to announce the shipping plan for the first batch of headsets. The company says they’ll be using CES as “a good chance for us to collect feedbacks [sic] to further improve 8K.”
“After CES, our Pimax R&D team will move on to debug the headset and improve the algorithm and make sure software is ready before we start to ship anything,” says Pimax in a forum post. “Our project team will evaluate risks, and annouce [sic] the shipping plan for the first batch. Then, our Pimax community marketing team arrange close demos with VR enthusiasts, and ship a very small batch to the leaders in Pimax community and volunteers before shipping larger volume.”
In the comment section of the announcement, the company says its earliest backers will have the decision to take the latest prototype ‘8K’ headset or wait for the final design. “We will double check with every backer via email before shipping,” says Pimax’s Xunshu Li. “We will have a better idea on Jan [sic], and then send email to ask stakeholders.”