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VR Is Not Dying, Says HTC

HTC wants to reassure everyone that the death of virtual reality is greatly exaggerated.

The technology company debunked a Digital Trends article called “VR Is In A Tailspin And The Sales Numbers Prove It” on its blog Thursday. Using Amazon sales rank data, the publication claimed purchases of VR headsets, like HTC’s Vive, are dropping.

“Taiwan-based HTC launched the Vive headset HTC Vive review in April 2016,” Digital Trends wrote. “At the time, tech experts declared that high-end PC VR had arrived. The $799 HTC Vive, built for relatively high-end PCs, had the entertainment and gaming world scrambling to develop content for the new system, and sales for the system quickly climbed to an impressive top-50 spot despite the higher price tag. Today, though, its sales rank has plummeted.”

While HTC said analyst VR forecasts can contain valuable information, they don’t paint the full picture. There’s a reason for the decline, the company said.

“Vive has paced at its highest sales velocity of all time, for weeks on end, and we sold out,” it said. “For a consumer electronic product in its third calendar year, this continued trajectory is nearly unheard of.

“Don’t worry, though: we are ramping up production of the original Vive and units will continue to roll out to online and retail over the coming weeks.”

Last week, market intelligence company SuperData said VR headset shipments are slowing, with the exception of the Oculus Go. While the Go made an estimated 289,000 shipments in Q2 2018, other major headset sales were down 50% in the first half of 2018 compared to the same time last year. But, there are a couple of reasons for this, HTC said. Early consumer VR products like GearVR and Google Cardboard are less enticing than they once were; the companies of premium VR devices aren’t releasing sales figures to substantiate the market’s momentum; and consumer forecasts don’t include location-based entertainment and training industries, which are ramping up VR investment.

Finally, HTC wants to remind people that launching a new technology takes time. “More and more, as people begin to understand the possibilities for virtual applications, word of mouth will grow, and sales will continue their upward trajectory,” it said.

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