HTC is spinning off its VR headset business into a wholly owned subsidiary with CEO Cher Wang telling its shareholders that VR will make them money in the next ten years.
Specifically she means the high end HTC Vive and whatever follows it. The new subsidiary will focus on building partnerships in industries that VR could disrupt including healthcare, entertainment, education and shopping, after its success with game developer Valve. These partners will also be able to invest in the VR spin off and Chang Chia-lin, head of global sales, said HTC is looking at new business models.
Read this: The best HTC Vive games you need to play
Profits are the name of the game because HTC isn't making any money for its shareholders right now, in fact it's posting net losses of 15.53 billion NTD, equal to around $478 million. Essentially, poor smartphone sales are to blame.
So will it work? We still don't know how many Vive headsets HTC has sold beyond that initial 15,000 just after sales opened. Ars Technica's Steam Gauge Project, which looks at downloads of VR games and apps on Steam VR, had free to play The Lab and Surgeon Simulator at the top of its chart in May.
They have racked up 81,000 and 73,000 downloads respectively, more than some bundled games, giving us an idea of Vive sales so far, compared to Oculus' boast that 1 million people used a Gear VR in a month. In other words, a slow but steady start, which has just had a boost from shipping being reduced to less than a week and more in-store demo units.
As for Vive's place in the overall VR market, the majority of headsets sold in the next five years will be cheap, mobile headsets. A Vive setup will currently set you back a not so wallet-friendly . CCS Insight puts this figure as high as 90% by 2018 and with Google's Daydream platform coming later this year, we're inclined to agree.
This is no doubt why HTC sees enterprise sales as a core way of actually making profits alongside sales to early adopters, gamers and creatives willing to splash out on its room scale system. Either way, it makes sense that HTC knows it can't take VR mainstream by itself - we'll keep an eye on developments as its new virtual reality business takes shape.
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