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Palmer Luckey plots VR comeback by publicly considering buying HTC’s Vive

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Virtual reality innovator Palmer Luckey is crowdsourcing opinion as to whether he should buy HTC’s Vive headset business. The 24-year old is credited with the resurgence of VR thanks to the Oculus Rift, the headset he developed as a teenager and funded through Kickstarter in 2011. The project raised $2.4m (£1.86m), and was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2bn.

Luckey has taken to Twitter and Reddit to test the waters of popular opinion towards his acquisition of the Taiwanese company’s VR arm, which is reported to be exploring options for a buy out.


Palmer Luckey: plotting a VR comeback? (Photo: Getty)

 

HTC has long denied rumours it plans to cleave its VR division from its smartphone business, but is now working with an advisor towards either dividing the units or a full sale of the company, according to Bloomberg. Where once it was a pioneering early Android handset manufacturer, HTC has failed in recent years to compete with the might of Samsung and Apple in the intensely competitive smartphone market. Pressure has also come from lower-cost Chinese vendors including Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo. The company recently released its flagship U11 handset, and has a contract with Google to manufacture its Pixel phones. Its Vive headset competes directly with Luckey’s PC-powered brainchild, the Rift, and Sony’s PlayStation VR, which runs off a PlayStation 4 console. Vive is the most expensive of the three, and while HTC refuses to disclose sales figures, is projected to have sold around 190,000 units in the first quarter of the year, compared to Rift’s 91,300 and Sony’s 429,000 according to figures from IDC. HOW MUCH DOES VR COST? HTC Vive – £599 minus PC Oculus Rift – £399 minus PC currently during summer price reduction (normally £499) PS VR – £349 minus PS4 Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/technology/htc-slashes-vive-price-tag-permanently-by-160-to-599/ 

The firm permanently cut the price of Vive by £160 to £599 earlier this week, a move Vive Europe’s general manager denied was designed to counter poor sales of the expensive headset. Luckey has been keeping a relatively low profile since leaving Facebook under a legal cloud in March. While it’s still unknown whether he was sacked or left of his own accord, his departure is likely to have been fueled by his involvement in a court case brought by games maker ZeniMax Media, who alleged Luckey violated a non-disclosure agreement and based the Rift on stolen technology. He also secretly funded Facebook group Nimble America, devoted to memes supporting Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and maligning Hillary Clinton, last September. Since leaving Facebook, he has donated $100,000 to Donald Trump’s inauguration through his company Wings of Time, and is working on a military surveillance start-up which could be used to police borders, according to the New York Times. “We are spending more than ever on defense technology, yet the pace of innovation has been slowing for decades,” Luckey confirmed in an email. “We need a new kind of defense company, one that will save taxpayer dollars while creating superior technology to keep our troops and citizens safer.”

Source: https://palmer-luckey-plots-vr-comeback-by-publicly-considering-htcs-vive/

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