Speaking with The Telegraph, HTC CEO Cher Wang confirms that pre-orders for the company’s Vive VR system will open February 29th. Wang also indicates that HTC is turning its focus primarily to virtual reality.
The Telegraph reports HTC CEO Cher Wang confirming major changes in the company’s focus after finding itself in substantial financial difficulties in the last several quarters.
Wang doesn’t deny [whether or not the company will wrap up their smartphone business] as vehemently as expected. “Now we are more realistic. We feel that we should apply our best design to different type of sectors,” she says. “Yes, smartphones are important, but to create a natural extension to other connected devices like wearables and virtual reality is more important.”
There’s no doubt that the HTC/Valve created Vive system is a major competitor in the virtual reality space, but the VR market is still up-and-coming compared to smartphones, and HTC will need to survive for some time yet before VR demand could support a company of their current size.
While Wang says Vive pre-orders will open on February 29th, the price of the system has not been announced.
Following the higher-than-expected $599 price of the Rift (which Oculus maintains is heavily subsidized), fears are mounting the cost of the Vive could approach $1,000 given the inclusion of its motion controllers and more complex Lighthouse trackers, and the fact that HTC, as a hardware company, is unlikely (and possibly unable, provided their current financial status) to subsidize the system.
At CES 2016 last week, HTC told us, “We realize that the initial purchase of a VR system is definitely an investment. We feel like [customers will] be happy with the investment they’ve made in the Vive.”