2017 so far has been a year full of revelations for the VR industry. We’ve witnessed countless amounts of announcements that has shape-shifted the current landscape in the industry. For example, Oculus has reduced prices on their flagship VR headset from $600 to $400 (for a limited time) and launched a hand-full of exclusive AAA VR titles including Robo Recall and Lone Echo in partnership with Epic Games and Ready At Dawn Studio.
We’ve also witnessed HTC reduce prices on their flagship VR headset from $799 to $599 to stay competitive with its rival, Oculus. “Our goal at Vive has always been to offer the best and most advanced VR system and drive mass market adoption for VR across the globe,” said Cher Wang, Chairwoman, HTC. “We’re continuing to deliver on that commitment with this new price for Vive, making VR more accessible to a broader audience and driving the entire VR industry forward.”
PlayStation has followed lead from their two VR competitors and reduced prices on their bundled PSVR package from $450 to $400. But that’s not all. Microsoft is now entering the “Great VR Race” with its associated partners and launching its fleet of Windows Mixed Reality ready headsets. The companies include HP, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung. These are all multi-billion dollar companies cooperating with Microsoft to release the next generation market of immersive entertainment.
Still, this isn’t even close to all the headsets we’ll be seeing in the next few months. For example, LG is planning on releasing a tethered VR headset in partnership with Valve. On top of that, Google is planning on releasing several standalone VR headsets in partnership with HTC and Lenovo during the upcoming holiday season. This is going to add another layer to the consumer market and will directly compete with the tethered PC powered VR headsets.
We’ll also be seeing the launch of the Lenovo AR headset called the Mirage in partnership with Disney to bring the Star Wars universe to life. It’ll be powered by a mobile phone, similar to the Gear VR. But instead of displaying VR content, the Mirage will be displaying AR experiences.
There’s also several indie dev companies working on some amazing VR headsets such as the Pimax team with their 8K VR headset. While it won’t be releasing this year, they are predicting to ship these HMDs some time in January 2018. Palmer Luckey recently test tried the headset and said that it was “better than he expected.”
Here is a quick breakdown of the landscape and what the upcoming holiday season and the next few months will look like as far as competition goes for HMDs:
Samsung Odyssey – November 6th for $499
Dell Visor – October 17th for $449
Lenovo Explorer – October 17th for $399
Acer Mixed Reality – October 17th Headset for $399
HP Mixed Reality Headset – October 17th for $449
Asus Mixed Reality Headset – 2018 for TBD
Team Facebook | Oculus
LG VR Headset – TBD
Vive Focus – TBD 2017
Lenovo VR Headset – TBD 2017
Lenovo Mirage AR Headset With Disney – November 2017 for $199
Pimax 8K VR Headset – 2018 for TBD
Mira AR Headset – TBD for $99
There’s also been a meteoric rise in funding within the VR industry. Immersive content studio, Within, has recently raised $40 million in Series B funding which is quite impressive. Below are other notable companies that was able to secure funding as of late:
Immersv – $10.5 Million in Series A Funding
HERE BE DRAGONS – $10 Million in Series A Funding
Survios – $50 Million in Series B & C Funding
SLIVER.tv – $9.8 Million in Series A Funding
While this is fantastic news for the wave of growth in the industry, we’ve also witnessed some early downfalls. Renowned companies such as AltspaceVR and CastAR were some of the earlier starters in the immersive tech industry with some serious funding behind them. But they both managed to deplete their resources and have come to a halt. Luckily for AltspaceVR, Microsoft has cleverly acquired the social VR platform to directly compete against Facebook and its growing social VR space.
If that didn’t grab your attention, well the announcement of 3 new AAA caliber games might. During the E3 2017 expo, Bethesda officially announced the launch of 3 new VR games set to release during the upcoming holiday season. The titles included are DOOM VFR, Fallout 4 VR, and Skyrim VR. They’ll be releasing on either PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, or both depending on the game.
Rockstar Games, creators of Grand Theft Auto, have also announced that they’ll be releasing a game for the VR space. They’ll be porting over a big portion of their franchise title LA Noire to the VR platform. LA Noire: The VR Case Files will feature seven select cases from the original game rebuilt specifically for a virtual reality experience on the HTC Vive.
Set release dates:
LA Noire: The VR Case Files: November 14, 2017 for HTC Vive. Pre-Order not yet available.
Marvel, through Disney is also launching an epic AAA VR game in partnership with Oculus called Marvel Powers United VR. The two companies have announced that they’ll be releasing an immersive super hero game for the Rift which is set to release during the next few months.
These last 90 or so days is something that the immersive tech industry has never seen before. Major tech and studio powerhouses are all aligning to see what virtual reality is about. They will be testing the consumer market to see if in fact, people are ready to adopt the technology. While we believe that massive consumer adoption is still 3 to 5 years away, it might be here sooner than we think. Get ready folks, Winter is coming in real life.