Headset Sales and Platform Wars: The VR Race So Far

Taking a look at the main contenders in 2016’s VR headset race.

Just over a year ago, Google announced that more than five million Google cardboard viewers had shipped. With over ten thousand apps available to anyone with a compatible smartphone, it seemed that the long-promised VR revolution was finally getting going. Since then we’ve seen the launch of the first four serious VR headsets, with several more are expected to hit the market in the next year.

VR headsets have come a long way since the 90s, but still leave a few things to be desired.


Early estimates of headset sales were highly optimistic. Deloitte predicted that VR would have its first billion dollar year, while Statistica forecast the sale of over ten million headsets. Unfortunately for both VR fans and investors, these optimistic guesstimates fell far short of reality. VR uptake has been smaller than expected, and, despite inspiring rave reviews and blowing the minds of gamers worldwide, the sales figures for VR headsets are just not as good as we all hoped.

How many headsets really sold?

The answer is not easy to find. However we can make some early estimates, and, while they don’t live up to initial predictions, the news is not all bad.


Gear VR sales hit five million

Tim Baxter of Samsung recently announced that over five million Gear VR headsets have shipped, offering a wide range of experiences from TV tie-ins to video games. Their partnership with the Oculus store has clearly worked out well, despite a few little issues with exploding Note 7s, with roughly 80% of the headsets purchased in the last four months.


Console VR proves popular

Caption for video: Road to VR compares PSVR performance on PS4 and PS4 Pro


Playstation VR was the hot VR headset of the holiday season, and despite global supply issues causing initial sales to fall short of early estimates, sales figures eclipsed those of both the Vive and the Rift put together. Several months on Playstation VR headsets are still hard to come by, and consumer demand still seems to be high. Sales of the PS4 console behind it were strong, with many consumers opting for the higher performance PS4 pro. This bodes well for the future of Sony’s VR journey.


In contrast, Microsoft have held back from VR frenzy. Instead, they’ve set the stage for a new console cycle, and plan to release the Xbox Scorpio in time for the 2017 holiday season. Microsoft have confirmed that existing Xbox One titles will be compatible with the new console, and while it is being designed to be VR capable, it’s squarely aimed at traditional console gamers rather than just VR fans.


Gear VR overtakes Oculus Rift

While mobile users got into Gear VR and console fans waited for their headsets, HTC’s Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift battled to capture the PC gaming audience. While exact sales figures can only be guessed at, the HTC Vive appears to be pulling ahead. The Vive wowed reviewers at launch, and despite its higher price tag, it has proved over and over to be the more popular of the first two PC VR contenders. If recent rumours are to be believed, twice as many consumers are opting for the Vive, who reported that over 140,000 headsets had been sold by October of last year. This is hardly surprising given that the Vive has been one step ahead of the Rift since it launched last April. Despite its later launch date and higher price, the HTC vive captured the lion’s share of the PC consumer and developer market early by offering a two-handed room scale experience from the start. The launch of the Oculus Touch controllers in December went some way towards levelling the playing field, but still fell short of providing the same quality of experience, while the $199 add-ons eliminated the price difference between the two headsets.


The HTC Vive is poised to pull even further ahead with the release of their new line of peripherals, which make it easy to bring new items into the VR world. Rather than bringing out rumoured headset upgrades, Valve and HTC will be focusing on hardware add-ons such as the HTC Vive Tracker, which allows users and developers to customize their experience.


More HTC Vive Tracker details were revealed at CES 2017 last month


While Facebook recently lost their courtroom battle with ZeniMax Media, who are considering taking out an injunction to restrain Oculus from using code that infringes their copyrights, it seems that stopping the Oculus train may not be that simple, and the impacts of the $500 million verdict against them are still unknown.


Looking ahead

So far it seems that the VR revolution has had a slow and rocky start. Fortunately for tech fans, the next generation of headsets are on their way. While Google DayDream recently launched in the U.S, we have several hotly anticipated VR launches to look forward to over the next year, including the eye-tracking Fove and the standalone Pico Neo CV.

Rules Successful Startups Should Follow

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When starting your own company, a startup, many founders or CEOs tend to walk on egg shells when operating. Why? Let’s face it, you’re at such a fragile state that you don’t want to mess anything up. One poor decision could lead to the demise of the company that you just started. Here are some rules to follow to run a successful startup according to TechCrunch.com.

Study the Competition, Then Steal Them

When starting your own company, there usually are companies that have done what you’re looking to do or very close to what you’re doing. With that said, they can be a different stage in Thibault Mathieu - Startuptheir company. Some have accomplished what you’re looking to accomplish in the near future. A great way to help meet those expectations is to have people on your team who have done what you’re looking to do before. In order to do so, you may have to steal some of your competitions employees.

Fire Employees Faster

In a startup atmosphere mistakes are bound to happen, and that goes for hiring. It could be a great hire based on interviewing but when it comes to executing the job, it’s not a great fit. The best thing to do here is to not let it linger. The sooner you can remove a mis-hire, the sooner you can move on and make up for your mistake. Don’t dwell on it, but fix it and move on.

For Outside Help, Work with Principals

As a small startup, there will be tasks that you can’t have done in-house and will need to outsource the work. For example, if you’re a software company, you may need to outsource marketing or even something as simple as human resources. When doing so, don’t reach out to the top of the line companies. You’re a startup and won’t be able to work with the big players in these industries. Hire small firms where you can demand to work with the principals.

For more on this interesting article, read about it here on TechCrunch.com

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Twitter Purchases Startup

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Twitter Inc. confirmed it has purchased TenXer, a startup run by one of the card-tallying phenoms who roused the 2008 blackjack film “21.”

Twitter, the social media conglomerate has been around since 2006 and now serves over 288 million active users each month. They have reported revenue of $664 million in 2013 which has since likely rose.

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Twitter acquires TenXer

The organization on Thursday indicated a tweet from Jeff Ma, TenXer’s CEO and co-founder who reported the arrangement on Twitter. TenXer’s innovation could help Twitter’s architects cooperate all the more profitably, an inconvenience spot for the organization before.

VentureBeat prior reported news of the securing. The cost of the arrangement wasn’t revealed.

Established in 2011, TenXer gives information driven administration devices for architects and their directors to enhance their work yield. It has brought $4.7 million up in subsidizing from financial specialists that incorporate True Ventures, Radar Partners and Khosla Ventures.

Twitter in earlier years has endured problems shipping items in the midst of coordination issues in the middle of architects and item directors. The organization plans to utilize TenXer’s innovation to enhance profit and help directors settle on more compelling choices through expanded straightforwardness, as per an individual acquainted with the matter.

Generally 50% of Twitter’s 3,700 workers worldwide are engineers. The organization at present doesn’t have arrangements to make TenXer’s innovation accessible to outside application engineers through its Fabric stage.

Mr. Ma, a serial business visionary who has some expertise in prescient investigation, will join Twitter’s item group while two TenXer designers will join the designing positions.

For more on this article, check it out at wsj.com.

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6 Reasons Why Venture Capitalist Reject a Good Startup

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There are many great business ideas out there. Some better than others, but out there nonetheless. Execution is key to a good business idea, but so are sales. It’s always a plus when your business owns something proprietary. Still as entrepreneurs try to grow their great business idea, they need the help of others. They need venture capitalist to help promote growth through investments. Here are six reasons why sometimes a venture capitalist has to reject a good startup.

You Need More Traction

Traction is key to gaining an investment. Many times a VC will tell you they need to see more traction in order to believe in the evaluation you are looking for an investment at. Your company needs to have been doing what they’re doing for sometime at a competitive rate. Sometimes traction can mean they need to see more sales. If you don’t have enough sales, it says you haven’t proven the market yet.

We Have A Competing Portfolio Company

In picking startups, VC’s have to be very wise. Not only do you not want to invest in a dud, but you also want to make sure the company you invest in is the company in that industry that you want to invest it. Sometimes VC’s have to walk away from a company because of a conflicting interest in the same industry. The last thing they want to do is bring competition amongst two of their companies.

You’re Too Late

imagesMany different trends come and go, and sometimes that could be why you don’t get an investment from a VC. Especially in the technology industry. Look at phones, there’s a new version of a phone every year, year and a half. Sometimes if you can’t get your business to a certain stage to stay ahead of the trend curve, you’ve lost.

You’re Too Early

Sometimes if an idea has not been proven yet, an investor does not want to take such a risk on the possibility that this is the new trend. What often times happens is they wait it out or leave it to research to prove its existence.

You’re Too Expensive

A business owner takes pride in what they have accomplished in putting together a business. Sometimes that can get in the way of getting an investment. While you’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears into something, an investor doesn’t see that. What they see is sales and the end product or service. So when you’re asking for X and the investor is offering Y, you can be at odds ends. You have to be willing to negotiate down sometimes even if you think your business is worth more.

We’re Unsure

Sometimes a VC can just be unsure. It could be an industry they are not familiar with or they may not fully understand the business and the projected growth rate. They may stall in order to figure things out. You need to move on or risk getting no investment.

For more on this interesting article, check out this here.

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Monotype Acquires Swyft Media

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Monotype Image Holdings, a publicly traded company based out of Woburn, Massachusetts has acquired New York based startup, Swyft Media. Monotype Image Holdings specializes in font production whereas Swyft Media specializes in selling branded digital stickers and other ad products. The acquisition figures to be very beneficial for Monotype Image Holdings. But just how much did this acquisition cost them, and does Swyft Media have a proven track record?

imgresSwyft Media was founded in 2012, but was originally TextPride. The startup has worked with popular apps like Kik, KakaoTalk, TextPlus. It’s reported that they have worked with nearly 300 brands. These include the likes of Sony, MGM, SEGA, Dreamworks, and Hearst. The acquisition could cost Monotype Image Holdings up to $27 million. They’ll pay Swyft Media $12 million upfront and another $15 million in potential earn outs.

With mobile messaging at the forefront of todays way of communicating, this acquisition should definitely help Monotype Image Holdings advance their business from a revenue standpoint. The company currently sits on Forbe’s list of America’s Top Small Companies at #100. They’ll look to build on their impressive $175 million in revenue since the companies inception in 2004. CEO Douglas Shaw wants to broaden his companies customer base. Their current customers include publishers and creative professionals. With this acquisition, he is looking to reach a younger audience based customer. Shaw is targeting the young texting teenager/young adult who use emoticons in their everyday text conversations. If this acquisition goes smoothly, Monotype Image Holdings could definitely fly up the Forbes list in the coming years.

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Consumer Electronic Show, Vegas

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This Tuesday, events will get underway at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event happens every year and is designed to showcase the new and latest tech trends for the coming year. There are expected to be 3,500 different companies there to showcase what they have ready for consumers to make their lives easier.

Some of the key categories expected to be represented as this years CES are the following:

Cheaper Televisions
The end to 1080 pixel televisions may be near. Year after year, televisions have been becoming cheaper and cheaper, even as sizes get bigger. What tech trends are expecting is that 4k televisions (televisions that stretch 4,000 pixels wide) are expected to become less expensive. At the right price, these televisions could ultimately put an end to 1080 pixel televisions.

Connected Cars
This is one many people have been looking forward to for a couple of years now. With automobile companies like Audi, BMW, Chrysler, and many more in attendance this year, they’ll be out to showcase their connected cars. A connected car is a car that is equipped with internet access and even wireless local area network

Oculus Headset
Oculus Headset

Energy Management
On the way out could be your traditional washer and dryer or dish washer. Companies have made advances in providing these sorts of home appliances that will offer a more eco-friendly solution and save you money on your energy bill.

The Apple Watch, which made headlines along with the introduction of the iPhone 6 back in October of 2014 is already dominating the talk of this category. While it has dominated the conversation of this category, Apple will not be a participant this week at the Consumer Electronics Show. That’s not to say other companies won’t be bringing their wearables. Some will even have accessories to go with the Apple Watch.

Virtual Reality
With no release date still for the Oculus virtual reality headset for consumers to purchase, companies like Samsung have introduced their prototype. Samsung’s Oculus headset is used as an accessory to their phone.

For more on CES, check out this article here.

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Changes Ahead for Starbucks

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imgresStarbucks for sometime has been known as the largest coffeehouse company in the world. Starbucks did not get to where they are today by sitting back and just letting customers find them and purchase a coffee. With that said, Starbucks is always looking for ways to improve upon their coffee market hold. What more can a coffeehouse offer?

Starbucks announce this month they will be adding beer, wine, and evening snacks to thousands of cafes, widening lunch offerings, and rolling out mobile ordering. These additions should help widen the gap between Starbucks and the rest of the group.

Starbucks expects to double its US food revenue to over $4 billion with the expansion of food choices. With 11,900 cafes in the United States, Starbucks is expect to bring beer and wine to nearly 3,000 of those cafes. This maneuver projects to bring in an additional $1 billion in new sales.

Maybe most importantly about Starbucks shake up is the addition of mobile ordering and payment system. Many companies at the height of the technology boom are turning to alternative methods of ordering food or merchandise. With many security breaches and credit card hackers out there, people are looking for alternate methods of payment. Some companies have turned to Apple Pay, eWallet, and some friends will transfer money through PayPal or Venmo. Starbucks has tackled both these obstacles. It’s unclear how Starbucks will adopt mobile ordering and its new payment system but it should function very similar to the aforementioned methods.

Starbucks serves approximately 70 million customers worldwide across 21,000 shops. Such changes will have a huge affect on their business longterm. According to some, its projected that during the fiscal year of 2019, Starbucks will generate revenue in the neighborhood of $30 billion. An astonishing number to think of considering during 2014′s fiscal year, Starbucks produced revenue of $16 billion. Starbucks will have a lot of work ahead of them to implement such changes but it seems worth it in the long run.

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Alfred, Your Butler

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Have you ever seen a movie like Batman where they make having a butler look like the coolest thing around? Maybe it’s time you got your butler. But how? imgresFor $99 a month, you can now have your very own butler, Alfred. No not the actual Alfred, Michael Caine, but your very own butler. Once a week for a month, Alfred will come to your house and perform such tasks like laundry, grocery shopping, dry cleaning, clean the house, tailoring, pharmacy requests as well as more. Alfred launched Tuesday November 18th in Boston and New York. It is a very similar service to others and as a result, Alfred is partnering with those other services. These services include Instacart (grocery), Washio (laundry), and Handy (housecleaning).

The idea behind Alfred is simple. While some may think it is very cool to have your own somewhat personal butler, the point of Alfred is to accomplish all those extra things you wanted to get to but didn’t have the time to. Alfred essentially adds the 25th hour that many people desire.

Prior to its launch, it started as just a one person service that co-founders Marcela Sapone and Jessica Beck would use. They also extended it to friends while studying at Harvard Business School. They never saw it scaling to become an actual business. It has tested through a six month beta and has returned over 10,000 hours to customers.

There is a lot of confidence in Alfred as it is backed by at least $2 million in investments. These investments came from Spark Capital, SV Angel, and Crunchfund. Spark Capital has had some success with startups as they have invested in Twitter before. At the 2014 TechCrunch Disrupt competition in San Francisco, Alfred beat out 26 other startups in winning $50,000.

For more on Alfred, visit their website helloalfred.com.

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Apple Pay Launches

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On Monday, Apples much anticipated “Apple Pay” launched with very minor hiccups. But what exactly is Apple Pay? Apple designed a new way to pay at the register with much more ease. Gone are the days where you struggle to find your wallet or your credit card wont work after countless swipes. Check out this demo here:

It’s very simple and innovative. As you approach a register, just take out your iPhone 6. There is no need to open any app, just hold your phone near the contactless reader with your finger holding down the Touch ID. When you feel a subtle vibration as well as hear a beep, you’ll know your payment was confirmed. Prior to approaching any store or register, you will have had to set up a default debit or credit card with your phone. If you so choose not to use your default card at the register, there is an option to use an alternate card.

Apple Pay at the register
Apple Pay at the register

This way of payment is far more secure than ways in the past. If you recall in the last 10 years, especially around the holiday season when purchases are at an all-time high, people would steal peoples credit card information digitally as everyones cards are being read at registers hundreds of thousands of times a day. Apple Pay protects you from such breaches like this one here in 2013.

Now unfortunately Apple Pay is not for everyone. To start, you must own a new iPhone 6. Banks that are participating with Apple Pay include American Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, and Citi. Soon to be participants include Barclay Card, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, USAA, and US Bank. Apple Pay is currently available at 220,000 stores and growing. Some of the major stores include Bloomingdales, Nike, McDonalds, Toys R Us, Whole Foods, and Disney. For more on Apple Pay, check out the following link here.

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