Starbreeze is to begin mass producing its StarVR headsets later this year, the company revealed in its full year report for 2016. For now, the publisher will continue to distribute and prioritise development on the current version of the headset to its key partners, but there’s been interest from "multiple markets" and "prominent brands and business sets", says Starbreeze’s CEO Bo Andersson Klint, that will help lay the groundwork for mass production further down the line in 2017.
The extra development time will be spent ensuring StarVR, which Starbreeze has partnered with Acer to create, is compatible with leading industry systems and standards to allow Starbreeze to "lead the charge" once it delivers its first full production unit.
It estimates that it will make two more development iterations during the year, with the third iteration hopefully including optics firm Tobii’s proprietary eye-tracking tech.
"Durability, field of view, hygiene, resolution, refresh rates and weight are all key aspects that we improve constantly and according to plan," Klint said in a statement. "The roadmap of StarVR is clear, we’re still targeting B2B partners as our primary business, and we keep delivering as planned at our decided phase.
"We aim to make the development of StarVR and sales of VR content a significant business for us down the line. We secure this through making early investments and strategic collaborations. This will educate us internally how to master the experience design and optimize our production. Once the market is mature, we’ll be in a pole position. For the fourth quarter StarVR with related activities account for less than 10% of Starbreeze operating expenses."
Starbreeze is also in the first phase of building and operating its pilot VR centre with IMAX, and has entered into negotiations with IMAX concerning the future sale of content and StarVR headsets into that business.
"Since January, we have thoroughly enjoyed having customers and potential partners visit the centre to experience both the hardware as well as our content, something that has strengthened our view that location-based VR at this time is the best way for consumers to experience high-quality VR," Klint added.
"Our goal is to sell StarVR systems to as many different location-based businesses, theme parks and B2B projects as possible. Our aim is to sell a broader range of headsets and systems through our joint venture with Acer under the brand StarVR."