There is a dilemma when it comes to purchasing a virtual reality headset. Low price smartphone-based VR headsets are affordable, yet its experience can not beat that of PC-based headset, which are still too pricey for average consumers. Shanghai-based Pimax aims to solve that dilemma introducing PC-based VR headset Pimax 4K, priced at 1,999 yuan ($299 USD).
Mushrooming VR arcades in China is a new phenomena to help users experience PC-based VR with lower price, but the market largely dominated by HTC Vive.
“Our target user is VR specialists and game players who think HTC Vive is too overpriced compared to its experience. They can try out ours. Rather than aiming a higher revenue, we want more people to enjoy our product,” co-founder of Pima, Veni Tang told TechNode.
Previously, the Shanghai-based company used to make VR headsets for hospitals in the medical industry. Sourcing LTPS LCD display from a Japanese company, which the company refused to disclose its name, Pimax 4K’s display is 5.7 inches wide and its PPI is 806.
“Our capacity is that we can seamlessly integrate 4K hardware and 4K software with our sourcing company’s 4K display,” Mr. Tang says. “Pimax 4K’s MTP (Motion to photon) latency is very low that users are unlikely to experience disorientation and motion sickness while wearing the VR headset.”
In the VR space, the selection pool for VR headset is still limited to big three companies: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR.
The question is, how did the company put down the price to 1,999 yuan?
“Material largely controls the cost, and we used rather affordable material. We put down the design budget and made best use of the supply chain to put down the cost. We are focusing only on the word-of-mouth and didn’t push any marketing, which brought down sales channel cost,” Mr. Tang says.
In order to cut down the marketing cost, Pimax launched its Pimax 4K headset’s crowdfunding campaign on JD.com, priced at 1,699 yuan. The campaign surpassed its goal of 500,000 yuan ($75,000 USD) and raised a total of 2,042,859 yuan ($306,000 USD) on this June. After the campaign, the VR company raised a tens of millions of yuan (a few million USD) series A round funding from Ivy Capital on this July.
“Ivy Capital is a steady VC in China. Their founder has a strong background in technology and he values our company’s technology strength,” Mr. Tang says.
“The next version of Pimax 4K will provide higher resolution, wider field of view (FOV), lighter weight, and more interaction with the users. We aim to be more accessible to many people and to become the brand for the masses.”
VR Winter in China?
Lagging behind VR investments and lack of quality VR content made some people speculate the arrival of VR winter. According to a VR report released by market research firm CBI, Global VR investment deal volume peaked to 37 deals in the fourth quarter of 2015, however, showed two-quarter decline this year, with only 23 deals in the second quarter of 2016.
“Before, the VR investment has been just too hot like 40 degrees. Now it’s like 30 degrees. Investors are just more careful and are looking for a very good deal, just that,” Mr. Tang says. “In the VR winter, you should have money to survive and do better than others. VR companies should focus on users, rather than trying to raise funding at this time.”
Image Credit: TechNode, Pimax