Acer has announced a $5 million investment into Starbreeze AB, creators of the StarVR headset. Under the new agreement, Acer will inject $5 million USD into the joint venture for marketing and sales of the StarVR headset and increase its interest to 66.7%. Starbreeze will be relieved from its remaining capital commitment of $7.5 million USD and its interest will be 33.3%.
“VR is one of Acer’s key focus areas, as we continue to make huge strides across hardware, software and content development to unlock its potential. The increase of Acer’s stake in StarVR underlines our commitment to the industry, and we look forward to continuing to deliver best-in-class VR experiences through our successful partnership with Starbreeze and ongoing technological innovation,” said Acer Chairman and CEO Jason Chen.
The joint venture was originally announced back on June 25, 2016 where a capitalization plan was created. The plan was to inject up to $25 million USD. As of today, a total of $10 million has been injected into the company in equal amounts by the two parties. Under the new arrangement, Acer will provide a capital injection of USD 5 million into the joint venture. No further capital injections have been agreed, but the parties are proceeding in their support of the joint venture. As majority owner Acer will be able to facilitate future financing for StarVR Corporation should further capital needs arise.
“Starbreeze remains fully dedicated to the field of VR where we see great potential in the development of location-based VR that gives users access to premium VR experiences. We have pushed design and technical innovation to fruition in our StarVR collaboration with Acer. Starbreeze will continue to push innovation in the headset and focus on its core business – content. Our games and related premium VR experiences will primarily use the StarVR headset for location-based VR centers and we are eager to continue contributing to the success of StarVR,” said Starbreeze CEO Bo Andersson Klint.
Starbreeze continues to hold StarVR-related intellectual property rights, including patents and trademarks related to InfinitEye, StarVR (headset), ePawn and the StarVR SDK (Software Development Kit). Acer continues to hold patents related to electrical engineering, mechanical design and ergonomics that are used in the headset. R&D and reference design for the StarVR headset will also be carried out by Starbreeze and Acer going forward.
Currently, the headset is used at Imax VR facilities in NYC, LA, and Shanghai, China. StarVR provides 210 degrees of horizontal field of view covering more than 90% of the entire human vision. This is comparable to the upcoming Pimax 8K VR headset, which is set to launch early next year. On top of that, StarVR headsets provide 130 degrees of vertical field of view and 100 degrees of binocular overlap.
As far as displays go, the StarVR has dual 5.5″ quad HD panels (one per eye) that provides 5120 x 1440 resolution which is quite substantially bigger than the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The StarVR headset is currently a commercial product rather than being consumer based. But this might all change with the new funding and capital. Who knows, they might compete against Pimax for the new generation of headsets with giant HD displays.