HTC Joins Facebook in Slashing VR Headset Price

By Sarah E. Needleman Features Dow Jones Newswires

HTC Corp. is dropping the price of its Vive virtual-reality headset by $200, weeks after Facebook Inc. made a similar price cut for its Oculus Rift goggles.

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The Vive now costs $599, still $200 more than the Rift, which had its price slashed in July on what Facebook said was a temporary basis. Both devices come bundled with advanced controllers and require a connection to a powerful computer sold separately.

Sales of high-end VR systems have been sluggish, according to estimates from research firms. Despite more games and apps, there is no blockbuster to send hardware flying off the shelves, analysts say.

With the price cuts, HTC and Facebook are looking to better compete with Sony Corp.'s $399 PlayStation VR. In June, Sony said it had sold more than a million units since the headset came out in October, roughly six months after the Vive and Rift. Neither HTC nor Facebook have disclosed sales.

Facebook last month lowered the price of a bundle including the Rift and its Touch controllers by $200. The sale originally was set to last six weeks but Facebook on Friday said it plans to extend it for a few more weeks, without specifying an end date.

Like Facebook, HTC said it is looking to boost its user base beyond early adopters willing to spend big upfront. The timing is right because "we're going into the second holiday season," said Dan O'Brien, general manager of HTC Vive for the Americas, referring to this year's Christmas shopping season.

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HTC is working on a wireless successor to the Vive, but it isn't close to launching, Mr. O'Brien said. The company is still supporting the headset with new accessories coming next month and expects sales to continue well into 2018.

The price cut "is not a way to clear channel for us," he said.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at sarah.needleman@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 21, 2017 03:14 ET (07:14 GMT)