Vive is doubling down on the Chinese VR market.
As we reported from Vive’s Beijing event late Monday, HTC unveiled a standalone VR headset that requires no PC or base stations. Dubbed the Vive Focus, the all-in-one-device was the darling of the event. Featuring inside-out tracking with 6-degrees-of-freedom, the “world-scale” tracking device is what we’ve had our eye’s on to take VR to another next level.
The only problem is that throughout the event, not once did we hear about whether the Vive Focus was going to be a Google Daydream ready device. In May, we reported that Google had partnered with HTC to build a new standalone VR headset that we could all expect soon. Well now it looks like those plans have been scrapped. Instead HTC is focusing on their Vive Focus that will run on HTC Wave, a new mobile VR platform also unveiled in Beijing on Monday.
HTC and Google both officially confirmed that the Google Daydream and HTC standalone VR headset project was canceled. “No Daydream standalone from HTC, but we remain great partners,” said Google VR and AR VP Clay Bavor in a tweet.
Confirmed, no Daydream standalone from HTC, but we remain great partners. https://t.co/t3RvgJIMUp
— Clay Bavor (@claybavor) November 14, 2017
So what does this all mean? Well in China, it looks like HTC Vive is doubling down on the rapidly growing VR market. With a Chinese market riddled with hundreds of headsets from every manufacturer that you can think of, the industry lacks consumer hardware trust and quality content. Now Vive can come in with a device and VR content platform of their own that’s ready for consumers—with their sight set on taking VR mainstream China. Oh yeah, and considering Google’s limited availability in the country would make Daydream nearly impossible to launch in China, Vive needed a headset and content platform separate from the Mountain View company.
The bad news for us here in the States is that we’re losing a Google/HTC device that could have potentially changed the game for American markets. While HTC doubling down on China doesn’t exclude the Vive Focus from making its way to America, we’re not holding our breath.
Instead, Google is now poised to make a standalone VR headset of their own if they so choose, especially after acquiring HTC’s Pixel team back in September for $1.1 billion. Considering the team created the first Daydream ready phone that powers Google’s Daydream View VR headset, it’s not out of the question.
Although I wouldn’t call this a breakup between Google and Taiwan-based HTC, it does look like Mommy and Daddy are taking some time off to focus on different priorities for now—long distance relationships can be hard.