Why does Silicon Valley have few opportunities for VR to blowout in the Chinese market?

Tencent's digital selection of high-quality self-media articles is described by the author as an independent point of view and does not represent Tencent's digital position.

Text / Wisdom Things April Shadow

In the first half of this year, a group of enthusiastic VR all-in-one products were unveiled to the public, involving the hearts of many hardware/content manufacturers and capitalists. The “VR integrated machine” here usually refers to the integration of display screens and power processors. Other modules such as moving VR helmets. What is more curious is why these kinds of products are not much of a fire in the earliest and most advanced US market for VR technology development. However, it is the domestic public companies that are making a comeback. Talking about Standalone HMD VR products, if you have to trace the source, you may have to start with Chinese manufacturers.

Following Oculus launches Rift, Valve, and HTC Vuit, etc. PC VR helmets, Samsung and Oculus jointly push Gear VR mobile phone box benchmarking, a product logic that integrates "mobile phones directly in the box" based on China's unique mobile terminal The resources of the industrial chain have promoted the development of integrated VR helmets and began to grow wildly in the Chinese market.

According to incomplete statistics, there are at least 30 large and small domestic companies that have publicized the bang VR all-in-one machine. This does not include anonymous small companies and Shenzhen Huaqiang North's OEM solutions.

In the most recent year, we have seen that Chinese VR hardware manufacturers have rushed out and launched new product lines energetically, aiming at the VR-one machine market; we heard that various kinds of advocacy, one machine use mobile The solution will be the ultimate direction of VR products. The vendors, however, also think that the one-box machine can kill low-cost mobile phone boxes and clumsy PC VRs in seconds, and fall into self-introduction and delusion.

But recently, the wisdom of things heard, behind the excitement is actually "repertoire", from the truth of a "well-known brand" VR one-piece parts source of raw materials, and based on the series behind the incident "deep", let us the present " The VR One Machine Hot has several major questions:

1. Why does a VR-only machine only fire in China?

2. At a price of 3,000 yuan, how many consumers will really pay for it?

3. If real demand does not exist, then what factors will be behind the boost?

First, the domestic one machine into the next wave of VR hardware Red Sea

As mentioned earlier, in the most recent year, about 30 vendors have already disclosed their VR all-in-one plans, which include: they have already been released, have not yet been mass-produced for the press conference, and plan to develop the deployment. It is threatening to develop companies with different rhythms; however, as far as we know, most of them are still in the unshipped state.

Specifically, the domestic representative VR machine includes:

1. The "Magic King" series under the Storm Mirror, released in November 2015, has not yet been sold;

2, 3 Glasses Blubur W1, CES at the beginning of 2016 demonstrated the trial version, not yet sold;

3, Spirituality "little black", announced at the end of August 2015, but no new news;

4, fireworks workshop, announced at the end of 2015 will release the screen VR one machine is under development, there is no news;

5. LeTV announced at the end of 2015 that it will release a VR all-in-one machine. There is no news yet;

6, IDEALENS one machine, released at the beginning of 2016 in foreign countries, has not yet been sold;

7, Pico VR one machine, launched the developer version in April 2016, and then began to sell;

8. The Big Brother VR M2 was released in March 2016 and will be available at the end of June.

In addition, there are those all-in-one programs that have been alive in the rumors of everyone, including Samsung's VR one machine, Tencent's VR one machine, millet's VR one machine. Of course, on Google's all-in-one program, it has already been destroyed by Daydream at the I/O conference in April this year.

Looking at the progress of each of the above products, it seems that the mainstream VR machine has already formed in China. The actual situation may be that it may still be in the concept and exploration stage. Later, we will take one of the few large-scale VR all-in-one products that started to sell one-piece products.

Second, one machine supply chain depth survey

We first investigated the supply chain with the most direct driving force from the hardware, which is the closest contact with the manufacturer and also from the bottom.

1, Shenzhen integrated machine OEM model

Previously, in the author's in-depth investigation of the status quo of Shenzhen's VR box and all-in-one industrial chain (the detailed article “Exclusive Secret Shenzhen VR Underground: Selling tens of millions of VR boxes at a cost of several yuan”) has already been mentioned. The machine's production resources come from the foundry of traditional 3C products such as mobile phones, tablet computers, and MP4.

Through the more targeted surveys and interviews of VR-based one-offs and single-category supply chains, we learned the following core information:

1) Integral solution of VR integrated machine

There are mainly program vendors (such as chips, screens, motherboard designs), shell mold manufacturers, system vendors (SDK, OS loading), channel vendors, and so on.

2) Mobile chips optimized based on VR functions and 2K OLEDs are scarce resources.

In terms of chips. Although foreign chip makers such as Qualcomm, Intel, and Samsung Exynos, as well as domestic chip makers such as Rockchip, Quanzhi, have all released corresponding VR hardware solutions, they are truly capable of continuous supply and achieve low stability. And less,

In addition, based on different integrated products, chip manufacturers also need a certain adaptation period.

In terms of screens. Comprehensive feedback from various helmet manufacturers, OLED manufacturers that can now reach mass production levels are mainly AU Optronics.

3) The low color point of the screen is an important reason why the integrated machine cannot be mass-produced.

Based on the mobile phone, tablet and other display solutions, the screen color point rate is about 2%; but for the display program under the lens, a slight color point, dust will be enlarged and can not be used, resulting in a substantial decline in the yield of the screen can not be Mass production.

4) It is harder to make a mobile phone into a box than a mobile phone.

Although the VR all-in-one is similar to a mobile phone in terms of basic architecture, it is specifically designed with a new optical path consisting of a lens and a screen, a head-mounted ergonomic design, a thermal design that distinguishes it from a mobile phone, and low-latency high-pixel optical transmission. The four major aspects of the program, such as the need for redesign and optimization.

5) The cost does not fall and it is difficult to sell.

Considering that the more complex components of the integrated machine itself and the four factors mentioned above determine together, the cost of the integrated machine at this stage cannot be less than 1,000 yuan. This is also an important reason why the all-in-one machines available in the market are concentrated in the price of RMB 3,000.

According to the product director of a VR all-in-one solution provider, if users who are willing to spend more than 3,000 yuan to purchase a VR device are actually more likely to choose to experience better HTC Vive and other high-end products; in the absence of clear requirements, very few There are consumers willing to spend 3,000 yuan just to buy a novelty experience.

Third, the big friend VR and Samsung's encounter

In the investigation of the bottom layer and key information based on the VR integrated machine, we also learned about the problems encountered by the domestic integrated machine manufacturer Big Brother VR in the integration of industrial chain resources.

1) Is the Samsung processor "exclusive" or "Weihuo"?

According to the official introduction, Dafen VR one machine M2 uses Samsung Exynos 7420 chip, and therefore said that its one machine and Samsung S6 with the same paragraph CPU external publicity. Although it is the same model, it is not new. This is actually the old chip that Samsung adopted when it launched the S6 series more than a year ago, and in April 2015; an updated model 8890 has been introduced in 2016.

Regarding why the Samsung S7's latest processor was not used, at the M2 conference in March, CEO Chen Chaoyang of Da Peng VR answered: "The older processor is more stable and mature."

But there are also industry insiders who are working on the underlying architecture of the chip. The main reason that the M2 used the 7420 old model is that it uses a surplus batch of Samsung chips. Due to the sales volume of S6 series products being lower than the production capacity expectation, the listing of S7 has resulted in a batch of stocks of Exynos 7420 being indigestible.

As a result, the big one-piece machine is very likely to become an important channel to digest Samsung's excess chips, but after digesting the batch of chips, whether Samsung can provide the normal supply of low-order chips is unknown.

2) The interactive program also applies Gear VR supply chain?

As mentioned earlier, after the all-in-one manufacturer and the chip manufacturer have reached an agreement on the supply source, they need to jointly develop the performance, SDK, and other aspects, and this process also largely determines the overall performance and experience of the all-in-one. effect.

Due to the use of the same chip as the S6, more performance parameters such as FOV 96 degrees, less than 19ms delay, right touchpad interaction, built-in position sensor, and head rotation (visual sighting) control are achieved. Similarities. Many people are very curious about how deep the relationship between Da Peng and Samsung is.

Some industry insiders revealed to Chih-shing that not only the chip, but also the VR module and chip optimization solution used in the Big Brother M2 came from the same supplier of Gear VR. If it is true, it means that on the interactive module of the mobile VR-one, now There is still a lack of reliable alternatives.

3) The screen also comes from Samsung?

Although Daping M2 uses a Samsung AMOLED screen, but also stressed the AMOLED screen and other advantages such as low-end, but it is clear that Daping M2 is still used in the refresh rate of 60Hz single-chip mobile phone screen.

The delay based on the rotation of the human head and the picture cannot exceed 20 milliseconds, otherwise there will be a visual smear and the principle of vertigo on the senses. The theoretical refresh rate of the image processor is at least 1/14=71.5 Hz.

According to supply chain sources in the industry, based on previous experience with Samsung chips, Samsung Display could not open an independent VR production line solely for cooperation with Da Peng. As the production capacity of mobile phones is generally reduced, Da Peng M2 may have changed. UF screen.

In addition, he added, South Korean chip makers such as South Korea's chip production capacity is expected to be low, supply instability, long lead times, after this because of their own overstocking.

Through the analysis of the case of the big one machine and the interpretation of the industry insiders, we can see that the Big Brother VR machine almost reorganized many core parts of the Samsung S6 and GearVR in another way. Is it a coincidence? It is likely that all VR-integrated device manufacturers are actually using another VR-based model to integrate and restructure mobile phone industry chain resources.

Fourth, VR machine blowout behind the scenes

Why are so many Chinese manufacturers keen to make VR ones? Really advertised, because "one machine is the best choice for mobile VR"? Or is it just a combination of capital, supply chain, and video game companies that have contributed to the development of a self-built track to attract passionate entrepreneurs to a pseudo-demand competition?

With the gradual decline in mobile phone sales in recent years, excess mobile phone industry chain resources such as chips and screens have become an important resource for promoting the final landing of VR integrated products. However, in fact, at the capital level, users of content such as videos and games also play a significant role in the initial stage of product establishment. The core drivers come from these areas:

1) Capital promotion

Da Peng completed 100 million yuan financing at the end of the year, and the next year was turned into a machine by PC VR. On December 21, 2015, Da Peng VR (Shanghai Lexiang) has officially completed the round B financing with a total amount of RMB 180 million. The investors are Thunder and Xiaomi. In the same month, Aofei Animation also announced the B round with a few million yuan.

The big friend who had been pushing the PC-side VR helmet ever before, launched the VR all-in-one in 2016, and was the main line product. Another case was the Storm Mirror. After the announcement of the second round of financing of 230 million yuan at the beginning of this year, after the valuation of 1.43 billion yuan, the VR machine “Magic King” has always been one of the plans announced by Storm Mirror and became a storm mirror.” An important part of the VR story.

2) Content vendor assistance

The one-piece machine seems to have a high unit price, a tall product, a high profit, can make money, and a low content threshold. Most mobile game manufacturers can do it, hoping to grab a share of the profits of hardware manufacturers.

Both Youku Tudou in the Internet circle, Mango TV in the traditional radio and television circles, and Dragon TV, etc., all move through the mobile VR platform to allow new VR panoramic video content to have new distribution channels. This is also a lot of VR integrated machine manufacturers. Tell a very important part of the future story.

3) Chip manufacturer layout

According to reports, Qualcomm, which is currently the largest mobile operator, provides a low-level SDK that allows developers to call up sensor data. It also optimizes GPU rendering and power consumption.

In addition, Samsung Exynos drives Gear VR and Big Brother VR all-in-one; Storm Devil and 3Glasses Blubur W1 use Intel chips; ARM, which is responsible for designing chip architecture, is also optimizing for VR. The domestic Ruixin Micro launched the RK3399 chip; In April, Quanzhi also launched a set of VR hardware solutions based on its own chips.

The chip architecture design company ARM also has its own action in VR. ARM has launched the Mali VR SDK for the Android platform. Due to the highly overlapping supply chain of VR-based mobile phones and mobile phone products, in the context of the overall slowdown in the global smart phone market, chip manufacturers are laying out the next hardware platform that can host mobile chip requirements, which has become a resurgence of the rise of the VR all-in-one. The other hand.

V. Conclusion: Is the VR One Machine a Pseudo Need?

Based on the highly intensive and well-developed electronic supply chain resources in China and the rich supplier channels, the VR all-in-one is a new type of VR product born under this background, and it has developed rapidly and landed. At the same time, in this process, the surge of hot money from the capital side, as well as the strong carrier requirements of games, video, and other content, have jointly accelerated and catalyzed the pace and progress of the vendor's all-in-one model.

The VR all-in-one form is definitely a kind of product with its needs. In the future, there will be its market and demand, but whether it will become the next one billion-scale market like a smart phone will be extremely unreliable.

From the perspective of market and consumption, the price of 2000-3000 yuan still kept most of the consumer groups out of the door. Comparing the shipment data of tens of millions of mobile phone VR products can be seen, the price is still an important key to determine the volume of VR products in the consumer market. Based on in-depth investigations and interviews with the industry chain, all-in-one VR products still have many limitations such as unstable raw material supply and high cost.

In addition, according to a domestic manufacturer of PC VR helmets, Google's Daydream platform's first mobile phone VR products will be announced in September or so; then, the experience of standardization, helmet products within hundred dollars gradually to fill the VR needs of the light experience, However, it seems that the VR integrated machine, which is sandwiched between high and low end products, will not respond.

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