For all the hype and hoopla surrounding virtual reality, the sector continues to remain fairly niche, especially when compared to the near-ubiquity of smartphones across consumer segments. However, tech companies continue to remain bullish on the emerging new technology and that being the case, a number of different manufacturers have already launched their own VR offerings over the past year or so. Some of the most well-known VR headsets, of course, come from HTC, Sony and Oculus, all of whom have launched their respective VR headsets over the past few months. While competition between the three is believed to be fierce, a report coming out of Taiwan now seems to suggest that HTC may be lagging behind somewhat, when compared to its Japanese and American rivals.
According to the report from Digitimes Taiwan, only 450,000 units of the HTC Vive is expected to be shipped this year, compared to the 650,000 units estimated for the Oculus Rift and a whopping 1.5 million units of Sony's PlayStation VR, which was officially launched just last month and has received rave reviews in the media for the most part. While there are many reasons for the runaway success of the Sony PSVR, one of the major reasons being attributed to the comparatively lukewarm response to the HTC Vive is its price-tag. While the PlayStation VR costs just $399, the Vive comes with a rather hefty $799 price-tag. The Oculus Rift, meanwhile, costs a cool $499.
HTC, of course, has been plagued with poor sales of its smartphones over the past several quarters, which has left the company in severe financial distress. The once-dominant tech giant is expected to ship just about 3 to 3.5 million smartphones in Q4 2016, which would mean a decline of about one million units from the same period last year. The HTC Vive is the one gadget the company was banking on heavily to lift itself out of the precarious situation, but according to sources quoted by the Taiwanese media, Vive sales are likely to remain a small fraction of the company's total earnings in 2016, accounting for only 12% of its total revenues this year. The company is expected to post a net loss in the current quarter, after having earlier reported a massive decline in consolidated year-to-date revenues for the January to October period.