VR: HTC Needs To Bring Vive Focus To The U.S.

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Virtual reality technology is still at a point where the average consumer is not necessarily convinced that it's a technology that they need to own, and for the most part they might be right. For all of VR's exciting leaps and introductions to new and experiences, it's still having trouble gaining traction in the mainstream. This shouldn't be too hard to grasp. VR in most of its forms is still expensive. If the headset is cheap, it still needs a phone that supports it. Such is the case with the Daydream View and Gear VR, both of which are available at around $100 but require the use of a $500 plus phone to get them to work as they power the headset.

On the other side of things, if the headset doesn't require a phone, it's more expensive and instead requires either a console or a PC to power it, which can be just as expensive if not more expensive than a smartphone. There's very little middle-ground, save for something like the Pico Goblin which doesn't work on one of the larger software platforms, such as the Oculus Store, Play Store, or Steam. Enter HTC's Vive Focus, which is built on the Vive Wave platform and has access to Viveport.

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The only downside to the Vive Focus is that it's only officially available in China right now, though HTC has confirmed that it will be launching it in more markets this year at some point. The caveat, at least at this point in time, is that there is no public confirmation of where those markets will be, just that there would be an expansion to international markets. This could include the U.S. but it isn't guaranteed. That said, HTC needs to release the Vive Focus in the U.S. as it would likely be a burgeoning market for this particular entry into HTC's VR hardware lineup. It's likely to cost a few hundred dollars, so it'll be more expensive than the mobile headsets, and at the current pricing it'll likely be more expensive than the PSVR since it will be a standalone headset. Lastly, it will likely cost more than the Oculus Go, the $199 headset from Oculus that is more or less the competitor to the Vive Focus, but is actually going to be available to U.S. consumers.

Therein lies another reason HTC should be considering a U.S.-based launch for the Vive Focus if it isn't already planning one. The Oculus Go is a compelling offering that is likely to be less than the Vive Focus if it officially launches in the states, and it'll be available first, which has the potential to give Oculus an edge. If HTC wants to stay ahead in the VR space in its biggest market, then the Vive Focus coming to that market seems like a no-brainer, but it remains to be seen if HTC sees things that way. It's securely dominating the high-end sector of VR thanks to the Vive's popularity and the upcoming Vive Pro, but as popularity widens for the more mobile use of VR, Samsung, Google, and now Oculus seem to be filling out this empty space more and more. HTC's Vive Focus with its 6DOF support and the build quality that HTC's headsets are known for would be a good addition to the selection of headsets in the U.S., and if HTC truly wants to go all in with VR, it should be rounding out its VR offerings in the U.S. with its standalone offering, then it would be selling headsets for the entry-level, mid-range, and top-tier markets.