StarVR had aspirations of disrupting the VR market when it announced in August "the world's most advanced virtual reality headset," but those plans will have to wait. Just one month after launching its $3,200 StarVR developer program, the company is no longer accepting applications, which raises questions about the headset's future.
"We regret to inform you that StarVR developer program has been put on hold until further notice. We believe it is the most responsible course of action while our company is in the process of going private, which may entail some changes to our operations," the company announced over the weekend.
StarVR provided a slightly more detailed statement to UploadVR, adding that there are "uncertainties with our key overseas shareholder."
That shareholder is likely Starbreeze, which filed for reconstruction with the Stockholm District Court last week. UploadVR reports that authorities recently raided Starbreeze's offices, which led to an arrest linked to insider trading. Starbreeze is said to own a third of StarVR, while the other two-thirds belong to Acer.
It's not clear how long it might take StarVR to go private, or if it has the resources to do so. The situation is unfortunate. The StarVR One is a promising headset with an ultra-wide 210-degree horizontal field of view (130 degrees vertical). Both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive check in at around 100 degrees.
"This breakthrough architecture covers nearly 100 percent of natural human vision. The unparalleled field-of-view supports a new, more expansive user experience, approximating natural human peripheral vision; this opens up what is now possible with StarVR One, including support for rigorous and exacting VR experiences such as driving and flight simulations, and the ability to identify design issues in engineering applications, for example," StarVR said in August.
It also supports eye-tracking, which adds another element to VR experiences and is a potential game changer. The suspension of StarVR's developer program is certainly a disappointing development, though as our friends at TechRadar point out, it's possible that Acer could step in to save the day.