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HTC Vive dropped its Google Daydream headset to focus on China

HTC Vive dropped its Google Daydream headset to focus on China
From Engadget - November 14, 2017

Pulling out of such a special partnership -- let alone passing an exclusivity to a competitor in the process -- seemed a little counter-intuitive for any young brand like HTC Vive, so I later caught up with the company's Vice President Raymond Pao to see if he was losing his mind. As it turned out, he was not, and that this was purely a logistical decision in favor of an apparently huge market opportunity -- one that's buried deep underneath a pile of random Chinese VR headsets.

In my earlier conversation with HTC Vive's China President Alvin Wang Graylin today, he mentioned that the ever-growing Chinese market now has over 400 VR head-mounted display vendors, and no thanks to their different app stores, APIs plus accessories, developers are not willing to deal with the hassle to cover all devices for relatively little return. And because of the lack of quality content plus inconsistent experience, many of those devices -- ranging from the cheap mobile-based headsets to the handful of standalone VR headsets -- fail to go mainstream or even enter retail. This, Pao said, is where HTC's Vive Wave can patch things up.

"China is the fastest growing VR market in the world and where mobile VR is most likely to gain mass adoption first," Pao told Engadget. "It's also a marker where fragmentation has occurred due to the lack of a leader open platform. Vive Wave is intended to address both these issues, and it's clear from today's cross-industry support that the market as a whole is in agreement."

Specifically, Vive Wave aims to standardize both hardware and software, in order to offer a vast library of VR content across a range of devices with optimal performance. For the former part, it already has 12 manufacturers signed up, and Pao obviously wishes to see even more hardware partners join the party -- even if it means adding more competition to his own Vive Focus. On the software side, not only is it about optimizing performance for medium-level hardware to ensure sub-20ms latency, but it's also about making it as easy as possible for developers to port from Vive, Daydream or Samsung Gear VR.

If Vive Wave is as versatile as it claims to be and that the hardware manufacturers get things right, then it should not be hard to convince developers from all around the world to tap into the vast Chinese market via this platform. In fact, about 1,200 to 1,300 developers have already inquired HTC to develop for Vive Wave, according to Graylin.

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