StarVR Corporation, an Acer and Starbreeze partnership behind the wide field of view (FOV) VR headset StarVR One, could be on the ropes after its delisting from the Taipei stock exchange earlier this month.

Digitimes reports that Acer, a 63 percent majority stakeholder in the company, has given StarVR three months to turn profitable, citing an anonymous ‘market watcher’ source.

Another Digitimes source maintains that Acer is also actively looking to sell the company to firms based in China or Japan.

Sweden-based game company Starbreeze, which currently owns a 33 percent interest in StarVR, says in a recent announcement that stakeholders will meet next month “to decide whether StarVR Corporation should cease to be a public company.”

Photo by Road to VR

In October of last year, Acer took over as majority stakeholder of StarVR with a $5 million capital injection, making for a total of $15 million set aside for the company to produce and market its wide FOV StarVR headset. An earlier version of the headset has found its way into Japan-based SEGA game centers, IMAX VR centres, and VR Park in the Dubai Mall.

In August the company unveiled StarVR One, the latest iteration of the headset which incorporates SteamVR 2.0 tracking sensors, new dual 1,830 × 1,464 AMOLED displays (3,660 × 1,464 across both eyes) with a 90Hz refresh rate, and optics providing a 210 degree horizontal FOV.

SEE ALSO
StarVR Teases New Version of Its High-end VR Headset to be Revealed Next Week

Last week, the company opened applications to developers looking to create for the $3,200 headset, which is aimed at commercial and enterprise use-cases.

Should the company be disbanded, the report maintains, StarVR employees will be incorporated into Acer.

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  • Manuel Riger

    star vr should go on mass like pimax for 2000 dollar and all will be good…… At this time of vr only hardcore fans can push it no enterprise

    • kontis

      It requires support for technologies that most consumer apps (steam games etc.) don’t have. They also expect to use eyetracked foveated rendering, which makes the support even more challenging.

      It is wise to target enterprise (and customized software) with this kind of cutting-edge device.
      Look how Pimax struggles with performance, because it tries to be compatible with current consumer software.

      • MosBen

        Enterprise is simply willing to spend a bit more on products than consumers. High end hardware is expensive, so it makes sense to target enterprise.

        • Laurence Nairne

          People say ‘enterprise’ generally, but even within the likes of automotive, they’ll only invest in expensive technologies on the sales or production side because that’s where the dependable ROI comes from.

          Obviously that’s a ‘be smart about who you pitch to’ point, but it’s just to say that the actual opportunities within enterprise are spread fairly thin when you consider how many hardware and software players are entering the market.

        • Santiago Draco

          It only makes sense if the market is there and there in enough volume.

          If you sell 1000 headsets at 3200 bucks to enterprise but can sell 100000 at 2000 bucks toc consumers… you are probably going to make a lot more money at the consumer level.

          I’m no expert on the fixed costs on the headsets but I’d wager that most of that is in R&D/development, licensing and software. Hardware costs will reduce with volume.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but there are waaaay to few vr only hardcore fans to drive ANY sales.. It’s enterprises that needs to buy these headsets if it really wants to make a profit.

      • Jim Cherry

        Good luck convincing enterprise to spend big money on something that’s not cloud based or related to AI.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Design, manufacturing and architectural enterprises are an example what these headsets are destined for, they plow down a lot of money for these things. Those were the sectors that embraced VR for a long time already with headsets that were much MUCH more expensive as the $3200 StarVR.

          • Michigan Jay Sunde

            NAW! – the VRgineers Xtal headset is head-and-shoulders above the StarVR in terms of raw image clarity, which is what oft-cited, little-understood “enterprise” really values (these are the people who are spending OUR money, not their own, so they don’t give a damn what anything costs.) StarVR is the middleground between enthusiast and enterprise, meaning it belongs in ARCADES, and we need a LOT more arcades, which means we need a lot more CONTENT that people will pay money to experience, when they’re already so cash-strapped, over-served and picky they won’t visit a movie theater for anything less than a 300-million dollar blockbuster with overwhelming word-of-mouth. StarVR is creating an ideal solution for LBE, and they SHOULD feel maximum pressure to get as many headsets into the world, immediately, as possible. But THEY won’t sell VR arcades to the public. The developers must sell it to the public by creating truly extraordinary experiences, and I still don’t see them!!! I still see a lot of emphasis of context-free zombie shoot-em-ups that prove a complicated concept, but engage nobody. >:|

          • Santiago Draco

            WE don’t NEED a LOT more arcades. WE need a QUALITY VR headset that DELIVERS on a BETTER experience with WIDER FOV.

            Wow sorry with all the caps…not sure what came over me!

      • Rainfox Wolfstone

        so their plan is to announce a devkit, then start to unwind and pull the plug on said devkit and any future plans before letting anything happen as far as sales

  • impurekind

    I hope they pull through. This is obviously one of the best spec headsets on the market. I wouldn’t want it to fail.

    • Antony Boudreau

      Pimax has better resolution, nearly same FOV and costs less than a third of the price

      • impurekind

        Still, when there’s a couple of companies bushing the boundaries in these areas, I wouldn’t want them to just die out.

  • HomeAudio

    FaceBook should buy Starbreeze… at least there could be chance that they (I mean FB) will release next Rift with wide FOV…

    • brandon9271

      I don’t think StarVR is doing anything that Facebook couldn’t already so on their own. Maybe they have some magically optics that nobody knows about but i doubt it. I’m sure Oculus and Valve have high FOV prototypes. I think the reason neither have released one is due to price.

      • MosBen

        It’s kind of shocking the number of people around here who seem to think that Oculus either doesn’t know how to make a wide FOV HMD or is intentionally holding such tech back to bilk their customers. There’s a reason that the wider FOV HMDs cost more, and it’s not just greed. Facebook is targeting specific prices for their products, and then fitting the best product that they can make into that price and still have it be at least close to profitable (I don’t know if they’re taking a loss on the hardware, like console’s do, but I suspect not).

        • brandon9271

          Yeah, i think Oculus number 1 priority is making VR affordable to increase adoption. The real money is in selling content and everybody knows this. They don’t want to cater to enthusiasts and their focus on mobile proves that. Having said that i do think there’s a untapped market for an upper end headset like the StarVR IF it’s priced in a more consumer friend range.

          • jj

            YES. its why steam has the steam market and why apple, android, sony, nintendo, viveport, blizzard, bungie all have their own environment/ecosystem for people to buy software from because this is where you can literally print money out of via free replicate-able apps and software.

            That and all oculus has to do is undersell everyone else till theyre the only ones left, which theyre the only ones capable of doing because of how much money they have in comparison to other companies.no startups can succeed here. This is 100% their plan and its most likely going to work very well for them.

            (same reason why disney is starting their own streaming service too)

          • brandon9271

            I’d really like to see Valve release an HMD with slightly higher FOV and resolution higher than Vive Pro. If they can sell it with controllers for around $1000 or less i think it will be a hit. People seem to think that GPU power is holding back high resolution HMDs but it’s really not. Nobody says you HAVE to run at native resolution. Higher resolution would still eliminate SDE even when undersampling. Plus it’s more future proof when faster GPUs come out and folks with 2x 2080 TI SLI can make use of all those extra pixels now ;)

        • Lucidfeuer

          I’ll have to disagree with that. They have, like you said, “ideas” and prototypes on how to make a larger FOV, but they never invested, conceived and designed solutions to make it practical and affordable.

          I have had enough meet-ups from internal people at these companies telling me that Facebook is actually holding off not technology but R&D, because they’re only interested in surfing on a non-existent wave in the case it’d randomly take-off, at the highest margin possible and certainly not take or least push VR market forth.

  • Ellon Musk

    This is bad news. This only means that enterprise is also failing with VR along with the consumer market. Pimax will be another big indicator on the success or failure of VR. It might be another decade where VR simply isn’t ready

    • jj

      I strongly disagree. Even though i dont like them, Oculus/FB is going to ensure the success of the vr consumer market. They did it when they created the oculus go and sold it for 200$. I’m pretty against their morals about privacy and responsibility as a company, buuuut i can’t deny that theyre about to make a killing the vr market. and yeah theyre not turning a profit, theyre making sure vr takes off so that they have control of it.

      • airball

        The market will determine the success of failure of VR, not Facebook.

        • jj

          oculus clearly knows the market. the high end headsets arent selling their lower quality but obtainable price is whats getting headsets into homes this holiday.

          I hate it, i have oculus and i hate fb. i should be the last to admit theyre doing this and here i am doing it.

        • MosBen

          Sure, but Facebook has the money to continue to invest in the development of the technology to ride out this first generation of lower sales. It’s (according to them) part of their long term company strategies. They can afford to subsidize VR in a way that other companies can’t.

          • jj

            BINGO!

      • Matilde Constance

        Facebook may be killing VR by continually casting cheap, poor-quality headsets

        • jj

          the go isnt poor quality. I own every headset and i still use the go for easy leisurely media more than other headsets of mine ever get used.
          Let’s try to add some context or data with your reply instead of just stating false claims.

          • Matilde Constance

            I speak from experience, and I’m not a fan girl. I bought Go and used it only for the first week. I believe in the future of virtual reality, but currently it is still very mediocre. Bad image quality, games are strange and ugly puppets, heavy and uncomfortable equipment … And I think they should wait until they have something better.

          • jj

            did you just call the go heavy?? or even uncomfortable? are you sure you’ve used the go because there is nothing lighter than that.
            Also if you’re using the go for game apps, then you really don’t know the vr industry, even a tiny bit, or computers for that matter. The go is not something to play games on, that should have been obvious from the 3dof controller, its something for viewing media and simple interactions. Which it does great at with excellent visual quality. see now i sound like a fanboy when i hate fb/Oculus, but honestly at least im calling things for what they are unlike you who’s saying some really unrealistic stuff.

            Honestly by what you just said about the go, you’ve been total discredited from any point you’ve made or are going to make.
            Calling the Go heavy, clearly shows you’re willing to make stuff up to prove a point.

        • Proof XR Lab

          Neither Go nor Rift are “cheap, poor-quality headsets”. Both are extremely well designed and manufactured, especially when considering their retail prices .

        • sfmike

          The Rift and GO are not poor quality headsets and you have to face facts that unless consumers can afford VR it will die on the vine for lack of funding when profit margins aren’t met. The Oculus Quest is what is going to push mass adoption so give them a break.

          • jj

            exactly!

          • Matilde Constance

            I bought DK2. At that time I was proud to show the DK2 to my friends. Because it was a wonderful glimpse. But I’m not proud to show Go to my friends. It’s no use selling cheap products because the masses will only join when it’s really good!

        • fdf

          Agreed. The Go is by far the poorest quality headset of them all. I got mine for free when I attended the Facebook convention earlier this year. Absolute trash list of games, 3DoF, to be supplanted by the Oculus Quest, and a single trashy controller. Facebook is not making a killing despite what the rabid fanboys are saying. They are throwing several darts at a wall with the hopes one of them sticks. This is obvious when they are prodding the market with several tiers of HMDs.

          • jj

            leave it to those who actually know the vr market… if you’re using the go for games then you clearly dont know anything about the vr industry.

          • Matilde Constance

            And how many people will buy Rift 2? There will be nothing new, just an update. One more poor product!

          • Laurence Nairne

            By your reckoning, nobody buys mid-range mobile phones? How about laptops? And people of course only buy the higher range games consoles too right? It was ridiculous of Sony to release the PS4 Slim when they were launching the PS4 Pro as well, because everybody knows that only products of the highest quality are sold. That’s why Casio is going out of business, thanks to those dastardly brands like Rolex and Tag Heuer.

            Get a grip, it’s a maturing industry that is taking an innovation breath to let the consumer appetite and adoption to catch up. The signs are good that the bigger players will be ready with their R&D when the industry is where it needs to be to welcome it with open arms.

            Sit tight and be patient.

      • Rainfox Wolfstone

        I don’t want VR to only be a locked walled garden, oculus can help, if people copy the walled garden aspect, a lot of cool innovation will not happen

      • Ellon Musk

        there’s only so much a company is willing to sit In a negative cash flow before dropping it entirely. This report on StarVR is a clear example. Facebook investors will not allow their money to be thrown away if no profits are being made. No matter how inspired a CEO is about a tech, the money is what controls the success or failure of a tech.

        • Rainfox Wolfstone

          at least give your version 1 time to sell in the market before pulling the plug on it.

          • Ellon Musk

            I agree it’s still early to tell if the plug should or shouldn’t be pulled. But so many companies already pulling the plug so early on is a bad sign.

          • Rainfox Wolfstone

            wish someone could run a VR non-profit of sorts, to pile all money into R&D rather than trying for an instant failure at gen one get rich quick scheme

        • jj

          well Ellon, as a succesfull business man yourself, you should already know this but FB has near limitless money. All they need to do is keep the vr dream alive and keep themselves alive and they corner the market.

          I’d bet anyone right now 10 grand that FB/Oculus will own the market vr market next and all the way until possibly apple releases their ar glasses in dev.

        • bud01

          Unless its Unfunded Opportunities then it can continue for several decades only leaving the lips of the DOD officially Dec 16th last year.

          Your going in as driver to the Galaxion 5000 Coupe,

          :-)

        • kool

          Sony is a better market indicator than star breeze. The market is there, its not going away anytime soon. Im pretty sure Sony will add another million people to the market this christmas. the growth has been slow because the market is still in the prototyping phase. They are still ironing out what works in VR and bringing down the tech requirements.

          • Ellon Musk

            Proves that it isn’t ready. When hardware catches up things will change

    • Hivemind9000

      It doesn’t mean the enterprise market is failing (or the consumer market for that matter). All it means was Starbreeze was under-capitalized to produce and market tech like this. The time Acer has given them to become profitable is nowhere near enough for a product like this – new market, high R&D component etc. Looks more and more like a powerplay from Acer to absorb their team, tech and patents. Which may end up being a good thing if Acer integrate it into their consumer VR efforts.

    • Laurence Nairne

      Oh fucking hell, can we stop saying VR is failing/dying for a least 24hrs to give us all time to breath and let our heart rate return to a comfortable rhythm? Please, for all our sakes.

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    StarVR received a lot of praise from industry experts so this is a surprising and disappointing turn of events. I hope this is simply Acer putting pressure on StarVR to productize their headset. Their recent $3200 submission scheme would make sense in this context.

  • zflorence1

    Would like to see a western company bid for this as well. This project started in the west and I’m tired of seeing western innovation being sold to the east. Sorry.

    • Bob

      You have something against the East?

      • grabma

        Yes. Keep the money circulating locally and don’t let Asia (China in particular) eat away more at our economy.

        • jj

          hello hermit

        • Bob

          You’re definitely White that’s for sure. And proper English too.

          • Get Schwifty!

            That’s ridiculous – what does having economic concerns have the least to do with race?

            BTW, his attitude is *exactly* that of most Asian nations ….

          • care package

            “You’re definitely White” lol. You definitely let social engineering do your thinking for you.

          • Bob

            Okay racist bigoted White man.

          • care package

            “Racist bigoted WHITE MAN” the irony and hypocrisy. You sound real intelligent lmao. Hope living with that hate works out for you……well not really

          • nipple_pinchy

            He utilizes typical leftist logic. Paranoid and obsessed about race and thinks everyone else is, too.

          • Santiago Draco

            Leftist logic? Paranoia about race is the definition of the right. Projecting much?

          • nipple_pinchy

            Found a paranoid lefty racist.

          • brubble

            Ever lived and done business over there Bob? I have, and they’ll shaft you for a penny. Get back to us when you’ve done so.

          • nipple_pinchy

            The irony is that you’re the only bigot here.

          • care package

            BTW, calling someone bigoted is an act of bigotry itself.

        • kool

          Our economy depends on china, you wouldn’t be able to afford any electronic devices or clothes if they were made here.

          • care package

            I’m ok with that. All that comes out of China is cheap trash anyway. I bought shirts from Target and you could see the die run out just by rinsing with water. The material keeps getting thinner as well. Thank you China!

          • kool

            No thank Americans for giving that contract to China. What clothing brands do you buy that are made in America?

          • care package

            Is it only Americans? lol. I know why all our consumer cattle trash is cheaper and generally comes from China, and yes, I buy some of them. Doesn’t change what it is.

          • sebrk

            Not even Trumps brand is made in the US. LOL

          • Bob

            You do realize almost all of the smartphones that you know of are manufactured in China? In fact almost all electronics, good or bad, and your entire desktop pc (if you have one) and laptop parts are all from Chinese companies.

          • care package

            Ya it’s sad I know

          • Bob

            Sure if you believe so. In 30 years time everything you see will be owned by a Chinese company so you better get ready mate because no matter how much you hate them you can’t avoid them.

          • care package

            Who the f said anything about hating the Chinese. That’s where your mind went mate. I dont hate anyone. I hate corruption and lies. This world prob doesn’t have 30 years anyway lol. Not at the logarithmic rate its going

          • sebrk

            Yeah manufactured. Not designed. China is cheap for manufacturing but completely suck at designing and business in general.

          • Icebeat

            no anymore, now they are make in india

          • Tom Szaw

            You would. You need to add duties when importing stuff from Asia.

        • Lucidfeuer

          Then fix the speculative corruption and glass ceiling of the West…oh but it’s way more complicated than blaming China for having a more pragmatic and innovation-oriented economy?

      • nipple_pinchy

        If you’re in the west, you should, strictly from a competition standpoint. I’m half-Asian, btw.

      • Santiago Draco

        You mean other than using overabundance of cheap labor to product products at prices the west can’t compete with since the west doesn’t pay slave labor wages?

    • Hivemind9000

      East/west it doesn’t matter. Tech like this needs capital for R&D and quality production capability. Any of the major phone manufacturers would be ideal – Samsung, Huawei, Apple (two of whom are from the East). They may also have the production scale to help bring the price down… eventually.

      • Tommy

        This is the kind of fight I love seeing on the internet. Thanks for not letting me down.

    • Darius

      Oh please!

  • Metal Knight(urNemesis)

    Should’ve marketed this to consumers instead of businesses at first…. 1st. step switch to a consumer market, 2nd reduce the price so it’s consumer friendly, and then market it. That may not same possible at this point, but that’s what should’ve happened.Sucks because i heard it was pretty good HMD

    • MosBen

      Oh, so all that they had to do was reduce the price and start selling it to consumers? Because there are so many examples of that working for other VR HMDs and it’s super easy to drastically cut the sales price of a product?

      • Laurence Nairne

        If I didn’t know better I’d say you were being sassy ;)

      • Baldrickk

        To be fair, if they were able to say, match the Vive Pro on price, they would get a lot of the high end consumer market – primarily those who thought the product improvement vive->pro was too small for the price, but also anyone wanting to buy into the “2nd gen” with the first gen being seen as a little “old” now, and people not wanting to buy something that will soon be “obselete”.

        At the moment, commercial seems to be the best place for it still though

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Sorry, but consumers are never gonna pay $3200 or more for a headset. Consumers are the last market, not the first (unless you have a cheap headset, yeah, THEN consumers might be the target).
      it’s enterprises which would be the main target as they are able to afford headsets like these, and the needed hardware to drive these headsets.. Enterprises don’t care that much about the prices, especially if they hardware can make people do their work better (like design or research).

      • Antony Boudreau

        Pimax has a similar specs headset and it costs 700$. Even has better resolution.

    • Lucidfeuer

      All general or interactive purpose devices should be marketed to consumers to succeed. At 3200$ indeed you can’t, although that’s the companies “duty” to make it happen otherwise you never had a practical and profitable product in the first place. Unless…you target some of that tech washing money from corporation, like AR Glasses brands are doing.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Pirmax at least is affordable compared to these prices.

    • kontis

      With half-baked solution that ignores tremendous performance and optical challenges with super wide FOV.

      StarVR was doing it right. Huge difference.

      • Kev

        Pimax has become pretty good on performance lately. I suggest you watch the sweviver videos where he tested 12 fps games on a 1070 laptop on a Pimax 5K+. He did another one yesterday with 8 more games. Performance was decent on low end equipment at this point with nice visuals.

        • El Barto

          12 fps is a joke.
          Hey Pimax, Crysis called, they want their frame rates back.

          • Kev

            12 First Person Shooters you moron.

          • jj

            hey ass hat, you edited your comment, it used to say 12 fps and not 12 first person shooters. nice job at trying to make yourself not look like the one at fault here. moron

          • dogtato

            if you read it as “he tested 12 frame(s) per second vr games” then you’re at fault because that doesn’t make sense

          • Kev

            That is the actual title of the reviewers video dude. I made it simpler for you.

          • jj

            well thats why we said “12 fps?” because thats what he wrote and we all know thats messed up. its not our fault for taking it as 12 fps, its his fault for writing it

          • Kev

            That is the actual title of the persons video. I changed it so it would be possible for you to understand.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Except StarVR headsets are more robust, more directed at enterprise usage.. The Pimax headsets still hasn’t shown their excellence.

  • FireAndTheVoid

    It should never have been a publicly traded company. This type of long-term innovation needs long-term profit horizons – not how much will the company make in the next quarter. What a shame.

    • Rainfox Wolfstone

      they need to give it time to get sales, not just say sign up for a dev kit, and wait not even a full month before announcing its being snuffed out. too many investor types hellbent in the get rich quick scheme mentality, give VR 2-3 full generations before calling it dead, VR was not killed it was held underwater till the bubbles stopped coming out.

  • John Horn

    I feel the true headline got buried in this story:

    “Should the company be disbanded, the report maintains, StarVR employees will be incorporated into Acer.”

    What about this?
    “Acer may assimilate engineers that worked on finishing StarVR One, by disbanding the StarVR company”

    On top of that, they might even get the right to all the patents that the engineers worked on, if this can be gleaned from the contracts between Acer and Starbreeze AB. There’s also the employee transition contracts and clauses to consider, as some IP may belong to individuals, and some to Starbreeze/StarVR.

    I think this could be a potential double-whammy for Acer to get full rights of this next gen VR, camouflaging it as a cost-cutting venture. I don’t buy this story that Acer’s meager $5 Mill USD in investment not yielding an immediate return (on a technology that just reached fruition), is cause to eviscerate it. No way they will throw that potential of the technology away, especially not now after all this unanimous praise it’s received.
    $5 million compared to Acer’s operating income which was about $119 Million USD in 2017.

    Of course, it’s always possible that Acer is in the process of pulling the next addition in extremely dumb business decision on par with Xerox Park, but for the moment I’m not convinced about this.

    • Rainfox Wolfstone

      someone could crowd fund 4-5 million for those specs, it would not be easy but it would be possible

    • Jistuce

      PARC, not Park. Palo Alto Research Center.

      You’re probably actually thinking of the Xerox Star computing platform they developed,which was actually sold. It just didn’t sell well, in part because their salesmen had no idea what to make of it. (And in part because it was slow and very expensive)
      I’d argue that Star isn’t even in the top five biggest things to come out of PARC. But it is the only one people know, because OMG APPLE.

  • Hivemind9000

    It looks like Starbreeze as a brand/product is dead. A few months is clearly not enough time to develop a profitable market for a new high tech product. Unless they get a huge military contract (or similar) fall out of the sky.

    If Acer absorb their team/tech, perhaps they’ll use them for their consumer VR efforts. By making that official statement generally means they’ll be continuing at least with the R&D – as a rule, you can’t retain good tech people unless you have something interesting for them to work on. Might be wishful thinking…

  • bud

    So let me get this right, the whole world is calling out for this headset and we have eager money wanting to buy it, Star VR is super super aloof distant and remote to the paying public as if there is some super long term game plain that the totally know what they are doing??

    And then after all this it turns out they REALLY REALLY need to sell as many headsets as possible.

    I dont understand, there is some thing very wrong going on here, what is the reason for this total disconnect of this company from the VR community, people that would have snap paid as is required to own one of these headset,

    Star VR painted the picture that they knew what they were doing, that it was heading to some perfect world they knew existed and that every was fine is fine, and NO you cant buy it

    Every body has been following along right, whats wrong with this picture?

    • jj

      yeah it is a wtf moment

  • That’s a terrible news for the ecosystem. And it is a nonsense that a company may close now that it has just launched its product