Dan O’brien, General Manager at HTC confirmed that Vive 2 will not be released until there is a meaningful innovation to be had. In the meantime, HTC has been placing a stronger focus on add-on enhancements like wireless capabilities, new trackers, and audio strap.
In this author’s opinion, bumping up the resolution isn’t all that major an innovation for a display maker, though it would require retooling and all the expenses that come with releasing a completely new product line. Our theory, and it’s just a theory, is that HTC is pulling back its punches because they recognize that dramatically increasing the resolution translates to a decline in audience potential. Why? More pixel counts mean more processing power to back it up. More required processing power means bigger start-up expenses for new VR gamers. More start-up expenses…fewer customers for HTC and others.
As we saw in 2016, fresh start-up expenses for gamers could be the difference between a market potential size of a few hundred thousand and a more lucrative option of several million. According to our stats and based on the Oculus / Vive current requirements, we expect there to be 13-15 million VR Ready PCs in the market that are qualified for a VR purchase in 2017. There were only 3 million (estimated) in 2016. That’s a big difference to swallow.
So do companies like HTC and Oculus fight the spec war on paper, or do they strive to appeal with a wider net? Is it possible to attain something between the two?
Let’s see how things unfold!
NOTE: Acer and HP are both getting set to market HMDs featuring 60% more pixels than what HTC and Oculus have offered to date and the pricing is a world apart (Acer & HP are both going for about $300 USD compared to $600 – $800 by Oculus and HTC respectively). Both require less processing power than what HTC and Oculus are currently marketing. We have yet to see if the software and deliverables are comparable to know if its indeed apples to apples! Very exciting stuff indeed.