On March 22, 2023
Think what you want about HTC, they are often innovative and not afraid to take risks or go into niche markets, which makes their VR products interesting.
Yesterday, the company unveiled new Vive trackers that track themselves without of base stations, are relatively light and compact, and are capable of full-body tracking. One day, maybe even with Quest and Pico headsets.
HTC is filling a gap in the market that Meta is deliberately ignoring, preferring to wait for an integrated solution. The target audience and demand may be small, but it exists. This is HTC’s VR strategy: experiment with new technologies early and in niches that Meta and other big players have not yet claimed.
This approach is commendable because it expands the technological possibilities of virtual reality and provides valuable product and market insights that could not be gained in any other way. Even if individual VR products are not always successful or too far ahead of their time.
HTC wants to be a pioneer in new VR technology
The first HTC Vive (2016), the result of a collaboration with Valve, was the first VR system on the market to support room-scale VR and motion controllers, leaving competitor Oculus scrambling to catch up.
The first Vive Tracker was released in 2017, allowing objects and accessories to be brought into virtual reality for the first time.
The Vive Wireless Adapter (2018) was an early attempt to establish wireless VR, long before PC VR streaming became the standard.
The HTC Vive Pro Eye (2019) was one of the first commercial VR headsets with built-in eye tracking, a hardware feature that first made its way into a consumer product with the Playstation VR 2. HTC was also a pioneer in facial tracking with the Vive Facial Tracker, released in 2021.
HTC has been an innovating in more than just hardware
HTC is often ahead of its time when it comes to VR. And not just on the hardware side: With Viveport Infinity, HTC was the first VR company to offer a subscription service for VR games. An idea that Meta is currently experimenting with. HTC has also successfully claimed the B2B segment of the VR market and continues to be a leader in this area.
In spite of the (justified!) criticism of individual products over the past few years, HTC’s pioneering role in the VR industry is something to be acknowledged.