Will VR Gaming Be The Next Driver For HP Stock?

  • HP Inc. announced that it's collaborating with HTC to deliver a high performance,  VR-ready PC.
  • The HP ENVY Phoenix has impressive hardware specs and integrates Vive, the new VR system from HTC.
  • HTC Vive, developed in collaboration with game developer Valve, received awards and rave reviews at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 in Las Vegas.
  • HP, with HTC and Valve, is targeting the higher end of the gaming market, which is likely to be the first big commercial hit of modern VR.

HP INC (NYSE:HPQ) recently announced that it is collaborating with HTC to deliver a certified VR ready desktop PC for gamers. The HP ENVY Phoenix has impressive hardware specs and integrates Vive, the new VR system from HTC, that delivers immersive VR experience with room scale tracking capabilities, combined with photosensors on the headset and controllers, to track a user's movement within a 3D space. According to the companies, the Vive by HTC and HP’s VR-ready Envy Phoenix provide the most immersive room scale VR solution available today.

HP Inc., a company focused on PCs and printers, emerged on November 1, 2015, from the split of legendary 76 years old Silicon Valley company Hewlett-Packard into two different and separately traded companies. HP Inc. retained the former Hewlett-Packard NYSE ticker, corporate logo, and website. The other company that emerged from the split is Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE), a company focused on data center hardware and consulting services.

"HP collaborated with HTC to provide you with the ultimate Virtual Reality experience," announces the Envy Phoenix website. "Do more than play your games. Be part of them, with the latest Virtual Reality system from HTC, and a HP PC built with the hardware you need for a seamless out-of-the-box experience. Tuned and tested for optimal VR performance, this desktop is prepared for the future of gaming." The HP Envy Phoenix sells for $1,699.99, not including the HTC VR System, which is separately sold.

"As virtual reality becomes the next wave of innovation for gaming, customers need a desktop PC specifically configured with quality, performance and computing power to enable the experience," said Kevin Frost, vice president and general manager, consumer personal systems, HP Inc. "HP is excited to be working with HTC to be at the forefront of this new technology to deliver the HP ENVY Phoenix, a purpose built desktop PC to power amazing virtual gaming experiences."

The HTC Vive headset, developed in collaboration with game development company Valve, known for high-end VR games including Portal and Half-Life, features high quality graphics, 90 frames per second video, and high audio fidelity. The system, which comes with new wireless VR controllers that according to the company will make users feel one with VR environments, supports full room scale VR with full 360 degree immersion, letting the user walk around and explore virtual spaces, inspect objects from every angle, and interact with the virtual environment.

"HTC and HP are collaborating to test and optimize hardware to ensure a great customer experience when using HP technology with Vive by HTC," said Dan O'Brien, vice president, HTC. "By testing against the most intensive games on the market, HP and HTC are pushing hardware to the limits to enable constant frame rates for a smooth and glitch-free virtual gaming experiences."

The HTC Vive, which received several awards and rave reviews at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 in Las Vegas, is expected to be available for pre-order starting end of February. The price hasn't been officially disclosed, but according to current rumors it will be more than $1,000, far higher than the $599 pre-order price of Facebook's Oculus Rift.

It's evident that, with the Vive and the ENVY Phoenix, HTC and HP are targeting the higher end of the gaming market. In fact, VR games that take advantage of HTC Vive's capabilities are scheduled to be soon available on Valve's SteamVR game delivery service, and the HP ENVI Phoenix seems an ideal system to run Vive-enabled VR games.

Other top tech companies, most notably Alphabet Inc-A (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are aggressively pursuing advanced "serious" applications of VR and Augmented Reality (AR), but HP, HTC, and Valve, are betting of VR gaming being the first big commercial hit of modern VR. That sounds very plausible, and it's likely to boost HP stock in the short to mid term.

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