HTC are owning the VR marketplace after Oculus seemingly paved the path, and it's not even close.
The VR industry finally exploded this year, but it did not go the way that everyone expected about this time last year. When Oculus managed to get the backing of Facebook, it seemed like the Rift would be the cornerstone of the market. However, a string of bad moves have left a bad taste in everyone's mouths regarding the Rift, from the initial announcement that Oculus were aiming for a $400 price point, only to go over it by $200 to the failure to fulfill all pre-orders before launching the device on the retail market, it's pretty easy to see why Oculus has messed things up.
The worst part? HTC's Vive is not only providing an overall better experience in most users' eyes, but they're making sure that the product actually gets to their consumers, and they've simply upped the ante today.
Dan O'Brien, the Vice President of PR at HTC, dropped this bomb today: All Vives ordered in the near future will ship within 72 hours of order. He commented briefly on how well the Vive has been received and how they're attacking the market.
"Since beginning pre-orders at the end of February and shipping in early April, we've seen incredible interest in Vive. Working with our retail partners has only enhanced that momentum because more people are able to try the only truly immersive virtual reality offering on the market today."
HTC are doing well in this head-to-head battle with Oculus. While Oculus may have Best Buy in their back pocket, some of the complaints coming from consumers looking to get the Rift has been that Best Buy is offering them mainly in pre-packaged bundles with PCs that they don't necessarily need while the standalone unit is sold out online. You generally can't buy the Rift online as it is, but local stores will not take the Rift out of a pre-packaged bundle if their standalones are sold out, and that seems to be the case.
Meanwhile, the Vive is readily available at Micro Center (Our local location here in Columbus, Ohio, recently fulfilled a large amount of pre-orders and had 15 to purchase after that, which sold out the same weekend) and can now be ordered directly from HTC's Vive website. With the 72 hour shipping guarantee and a full room experience as opposed to the Rift's standing spot only option, it's not difficult to see why HTC are doing well.
HTC freely admitted that their pricepoint of $799 isn't going to be for everyone, but they didn't care: They had a vision for VR and they rolled with it. The results? They speak for themselves.
Oculus need to get their act together, or HTC are going to run away with this.