Back at CES, Oculus announced that Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi would exclusively bring its own branded version of the standalone Oculus Go headset to China. The headset will support the Oculus Mobile SDK, meaning existing Gear VR and future Oculus Go apps can be packaged up for sale to the Chinese VR market through Xiaomi’s Mi VR store.
The Xiaomi Mi VR Standalone headset is identical hardware to the forthcoming Oculus Go, the $200 standalone headset that Oculus announced late last year. Xiaomi will exclusively sell and control the headset in China while the Oculus Go will be sold in other regions.
Both headsets support the Oculus Mobile SDK, the software which currently allows developers to build apps for Samsung’s Gear VR headset (which runs Oculus’ software and store).
The Mi VR Standalone will draw content from Xiaomi’s Mi VR store, but full compatibility with the Oculus Mobile SDK means that apps previously built for Gear VR or Oculus Go can be readily transplanted to the Mi VR store for sale into the Chinese VR market. The only major caveats is that the Mi VR Standalone won’t support the Oculus Avatar SDK or Platform SDK.
Apps built with the Oculus Mobile SDK also won’t support Xiaomi’s existing VR customer base from the 1.2 million older VR headsets that the company confirmed it has sold, which are claimed to be used an average of 29 minutes per day. In order to support those other headsets, developers will need to build using the Mi VR SDK (which supports Unity and Unreal).
Xiaomi’s developer FAQ says that revenue share on the Mi VR store is a standard 70% to developers. However, to encourage developers to localize their content to best fit the Chinese VR audience, the company says it is “aiming” for 100% revenue share for “fully localized” titles throughout 2018.
The company also says it will offer some localization support: “For developers who do localization in house, Xiaomi will provide review support. And we can further help by introducing dubbing actors/actresses and translators, and help review all of these for developers.”
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The Xiaomi Mi VR Standalone is expected to become available around the same time as the Oculus Go headset, which is planned for “early 2018” and priced at $200. The introduction of the headset to China puts the company in direct competition with HTC’s standalone Vive Focus headset which launched in China just last week.