By most accounts, the HTC Vive is the most advanced virtual reality (VR) headset on the consumer market, but it's also the most expensive one. That's why some people were skeptical in regards to HTC's ability to profit from the first generation of this emerging technology but apparently – that's exactly what the Taiwanese tech giant managed to accomplish. During the company's latest earnings call, the Taoyuan-based consumer electronics manufacturer revealed that it's not only selling each HTC Vive unit at a profit but that it has also managed to sell "much more" than 140,000 devices, a figure which has been widely reported in recent weeks.
In fact, HTC's VR business is apparently doing so well that the company is highlighting it as the key component of its long-term strategy to recover its struggling operations. While the Taiwanese tech giant managed to cut its Q3 2016 losses in comparison to previous periods, its struggling phone division is still dragging it down which recently prompted rumors about a potential sale which HTC strongly denied. Unfortunately, the company still declined to release specific sales numbers for the HTC Vive, which understandably aroused some suspicions among investors. Regarding the claim that the VR headset is sold at a profit, it's less significant than its $800 price tag initially suggests. Namely, Oculus repeatedly stated that it's selling the $600 Oculus Rift at-cost, i.e. no profit. Given how Oculus is selling the $200 Touch controllers separately from its VR headset, unlike HTC, it's debatable how much money is the Taiwanese tech giant actually making per sold unit.
Earlier this year, HTC spun off its VR business, stating that such a move will help it seal new alliances in the gaming industry, currently the most profitable market for VR solutions. While some interpretations of this decision claimed that the Taiwanese company wanted to prevent its phone business dragging down HTC's VR unit, the firm's management insisted how that isn't the case, revealing how there are already plans in motion to revive its smartphone manufacturing division. All in all, the VR industry certainly seems to be establishing itself as an important component of the consumer electronics market and the only question that remains is whether HTC will manage to grab a significant share of it in the future.