HTC is planning a “Vivecon” for May 11 and 12 that’s likely to reveal new headset hardware.
A new tweet from the @htcvive Twitter account teases “Mark your calendars” with what looks like the front face of a VR headset outlined in the image. Following the reveals of a new tracking puck and facial sensor, late last week HTC teased “now that the accessories are out of the way, let’s get down to business.”
Mark your calendars. pic.twitter.com/02OMyZ3daR
— HTC VIVE (@htcvive) April 12, 2021
HTC faces a tough uphill battle against Facebook’s $299 Oculus Quest 2 in western markets. The headset operates mainly in standalone mode but also secured roughly one quarter of the PC VR market on Steam. Virtual Desktop on Quest now offers wireless PC VR streaming in the Oculus Store and Facebook’s own wired Link mode adds a built-in option to play PC VR content over a USB cable.
HTC offers both standalone and PC VR headsets but its offerings have faced stiff competition in western markets. Facebook’s headsets account for 58 percent of PC VR usage on Steam and Valve secured another 16 percent with the Index. Roughly 2 in 3 SteamVR headsets were HTC at the peak in summer 2016, but HTC stopped selling the original Vive in late 2019 in favor of the newer Vive Cosmos. The original Vive still occupies 12 percent of the market on Steam while Cosmos only secured 2 percent.
Standalones, meanwhile, require considerable software development efforts to optimize performance, add features, and extend battery life. Chip partner Qualcomm offers reference designs meant to help manufacturers speed up time to market and a vocal portion of the market for VR headsets express hope for more options that don’t require a Facebook account to operate their device. HTC has focused more and more on business customers over the years and we’re curious to see what the company is planning next.