Pimax yesterday announced that it is facing more delays with the Pimax 8K production schedule. The company redesigned the lenses again, and it is now awaiting delivery from the factory. The update set the M1 beta test back at least three weeks, which likely means that Kickstarter backers are also facing another delay.
Last September, Pimax launched a Kickstarter for the Pimax 8K VR headset and accessories. The campaign was wildly successful, and Pimax procured more backing than the Oculus Rift campaign from 2012. The excitement for the headset was partly due to the reports from early tests, such as our own hands-on experience in October, but also because Pimax claimed that backers wouldn’t be waiting long for their headset. The company expected to deliver the first Pimax 8K units in January 2018, just three months after the campaign's conclusion.
As you might have expected, Pimax bit off more than it could chew when it promised January delivery. It takes time to build an innovative VR headset that pushes new technical boundaries. In March, Pimax announced that it was approaching the home stretch and that it was about to begin a closed beta test with a small group of about 10 testers who would receive a near-production-ready headset called the Pimax 8K M1. Pimax said the M1 testers would receive their headsets in April, and barring major concerns from the test group, the Pimax 8K would go into production in time for Q2 delivery to backers.
Last week, Pimax announced that it had selected eight people who would receive an M1 beta unit, but it hasn’t yet revealed the names of the testers. A company representative said that Pimax would reveal the testers after they receive their test unit. We were under the impression that the M1 headsets would be delivered this month, but that won’t be happening anymore, because Pimax’s engineers weren’t satisfied with the current iteration of the headset’s lenses.
Pimax revealed that it made further adjustments to the lens design that should improve visual clarity, but improving the design pushed the production schedule back again. Each lens adjustment takes a “few weeks” for the factory to make the changes. They also come with a hefty price tag, which suggests that the company’s engineers feel strongly about the changes they request. Pimax said that each new factory tooling also costs the company between $50,000 and $100,000.
The latest change is the third time Pimax adjusted the lens design since January, and hopefully, it will be the last. However, the company isn’t ruling out additional changes. It said that there are two reasons the production schedule could be delayed further: a component delay or a design change.
Pimax said it expects to receive the first set of the new lenses in early May and that M1 testers would receive their test units later that month. Pimax previously said that it would need time to test the headsets to ensure they function properly, so we estimate late May delivery for the M1 test group. Pimax didn’t say anything about pushing the Q2 delivery estimate into Q3, but time is running out for June deliveries. If the M1 test goes perfectly and the company doesn’t need to make any further adjustments (doubtful), it could feasibly ship the first unit in June, but we’re inclined to suggest that backers shouldn’t expect to receive their headsets until well into the summer months.