Despite the skepticism still floating around the subject of virtual reality, just a few weeks before the launch of the first consumer-grade VR headsets, HTC’s commitment to it so far seems to be paying off. Just over a week after it opened up pre-orders for its Valve co-venture, the Vive headset, it’s seen a large number of sales and a big response from its stock holders.
In two days of trading, HTC’s stock has jumped 19.75 percent (as per PhoneArena), turning around a long-lasting decline that has seen it fall from tremendous heights reached all the way back in 2011. More impressive is the fact that the 9.75 percent increase on Friday and the 10 percent boost on Monday, came in the wake of a terrible monthly earnings report.
Could it be then that stockholders are feeling confident about HTC’s future because of the effort it’s put into the fledgling virtual reality business?
Back in January this year, the CEO of HTC, Cher Wang, said that virtual reality might be the saving grace HTC needs. While in recent years it’s struggled to market its top-of-the-line smartphones, perhaps that experience crafting premium products could be leveraged to make the first high-end, home-based VR hardware.
Although we will need to wait for the hardware to officially launch to find out if it’s true, early impressions suggest that that might be what it’s achieved. Despite the long lead companies like Oculus VR had in terms of marketing and the Facebook money behind it, HTC has, in its partnership with Valve, created a headset that is first to market with motion controllers and room-scale tracking.
That was enough for us to to profess it was the VR headset that offers the most for the money in many previews, and perhaps the stock holders at HTC are starting to believe that too. It probably didn’t hurt that HTC purportedly sold close to 15,000 units in its first 10 minutes of going on sale either.
Although the $12 million HTC brought in from those early bird units won’t go all the way to turning around HTC’s fortunes, it does suggest that if it can continue to build upon this momentum that it has a chance to be a front-runner in the early years of virtual reality.
It will be interesting to see if stock holders continue to support it over the next few weeks as the hype builds up for the hardware’s commercial launch.