Having initially announced that their Vive Focus standalone VR headset would operate as part of Google’s Daydream VR platform in 2017, HTC later scrapped those plans ahead of the headset’s recent launch in China under HTC’s own ‘Wave Vive’ platform. Recent comments from HTC’s Vive China President suggest that a Western release for the headset will likely hinge on its reception in China.

Speaking recently in an interview with VR enthusiast Antony “Skarred Ghost” Vitillo, HTC’s Vive China President, Alvin Wang Graylin, didn’t rule out a Western launch of the Vive Focus headset, but said that its reception in China would be an important factor in the decision to launch it in other markets.

“It’s something that we’re looking at very seriously, and once we have more clear market data in terms of how things are doing with the Chinese release, I don’t see any reason why we would not release it in the rest of the world,” Graylin said, prompted by a question regarding the headset’s chance of launching outside of China. “[…] it’s definitely our intent that if we have a good product then it should be available to as many users as possible.”

Having publicly canceled their plans to bring the headset to the Western market on Google’s Daydream platform, presumably, if the company launched the Vive Focus outside of China, it would be on their own Vive Wave platform. If that’s the case, it would be a significant shift in strategic posture, as it would put HTC in direct competition with both Oculus and Google on the mobile VR front, rather than allying with Google against Oculus.

A launch in the West would also see the Vive Focus specifically squaring up against both the Lenovo Mirage Solo—which is in many ways the same headset as the Focus, but based on the Daydream platform—and Oculus’ Santa Cruz, a forthcoming high-end standalone from Oculus that has so far only been shown as a prototype.

Hands-on: Lenovo Mirage Solo – Strong Fundamentals, Questionable Pricing

Even the Mirage Solo’s “under $400” price seems high for what’s on offer; with the Vive Focus priced at roughly $625 (converted from its Chinese price point), Vitillo naturally asked how HTC viewed the headset’s competitive standing.

“I don’t see these products as competing with each other. We’re in such an early stage in the industry right now that rather than seeing each other as competitors, I really see us as all […] pushing to help meet the needs of users who want to use VR, and make it as popular as possible,” Graylin dodged.

Casting an eye toward Oculus’ $200 Go headset and other low-cost mobile VR headsets, Graylin further said HTC wants the Vive brand to represent a certain level of experience.

“We’re not trying to be the price leader, we’re not trying to go and do the $200 range of product that has minimal features. We want to make sure that anybody that puts on a Vive, they know that they can expect the best experience that’s available at that category.”

– – — – –

Graylin also spoke with Vitillo about the Vive Pro, including some thoughts on its (yet revealed) price point and positioning within the headset market; the complete interview can be seen over at the Ghost Howls website.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • oompah

    200$ is the right target for everyone
    for everyone is not a arab sheik
    and besides this tech is not right
    not even of Oculus

    An ideal Headset :
    1. One that looks like specs
    2. Projects images from sides onto the glasses ,
    if u can have small camera in mobile, why not a microprojector
    using the similar optics
    3. with AR of course , nobody likes to remove the headset in order to change the video clip in laptop, this is major lacuna of current headsets , so difficult .
    4. can have batteries / powerbank connected, in pockets .
    5. should have 6-7 hours continuous play at a stretch non-stop
    6. should not cause headaches / discomfort / nausea
    7. Should not cause eyes to focus on the headsets, rather focal distance (for eyes) should be natural
    8. Eye tracking to locate the pov quick to enable foveated rendering
    9. To have stb to take most workloads (AMD intel NUC)
    10. Finally to have lifelike rendering using Metro light transport etc ray tracing algorithms (too far a target but considering moors law , u can have it n a few years so plan for it NOW)

  • WOOOHAAA… I’m on Road To VR again!
    Anyway, I really hope that this device will arrive here in the West, since it really seems a very interesting one to me. The only problems are the price (that is great for enterprise, but not that great for general consumer) and the fact that it doesn’t have 2 6 DOF controllers. But among the various standalones already in a release stage (Santa Cruz is still not), this is the one that intrigues me the most.

    • Arielle

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  • Peter Hansen

    These mobile headsets are completely out of the question for me. The competing software portals mean that you can’t just play any game you want with a particular headset and that you have to decide on the headset not only based on its specs and ergonomics.

    I am out. -.-

  • Clan Virtu

    It’s a great bit of hardware, but as you might expect, currently lacking in content. Checkout our full review here: https://youtu.be/qaa8aPi8qNY