The virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) market was originally expected to pick up strongly in 2016, but demand for related applications has been weakening recently. Since the supply chain has already invested heavily into related developments, while vendors such as Acer and Asustek Computer have also shifted major resources to developing VR/AR devices for 2017 and will release the devices in early 2017, some market watchers are concerned that the VR/AR ecosystem may not be mature enough to contribute much to the players.
Many research firms' numbers also have shown that VR product sales in 2016 have been weaker than expected due to lack of content and high product costs. VR/AR technologies also require more improvement in order to stimulate demand from both the consumer and enterprise sectors.
Sony's PSVR, Google's Daydream View, HTC's Vive, Oculus Rift and Samsung Electronics' Gear VR have all achieved sales that are weaker than market expectations.
It will take more time before the VR/AR market may begin enjoying robust growth, and such a slower-than-expected developmet is putting pressure on firms that have invested resources into related development, such as HTC, which is seeing decreasing share in the worldwide smartphone market while its Vive has yet to start contributing profits. The year of 2017 could be a difficult one for HTC.
As for Asustek, the company will announce the ZenFone AR that supports Google's Tango system at CES 2017 in January and the release will be in February, at the earliest. Asustek will launch an all-in-one VR head-mounted device (HMD) in the third quarter of 2017, featuring built-in cameras, sensors and controllers.
On the other hand, Acer has been aggressively cooperating with VR players. Acer has invested in IMAX VR Content Fund and established a joint venture with Sweden-based game design company Starbreeze to develop StarVR HMD.
For the first quarter 2017, Acer is planning to release a VR HMD based on the Windows Holographics platform that support mixed reality experience.
However, their aggressive investments are also expected to put them in the same spot as HTC.