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Panasonic Sells Off Its Troubled VR Subsidiary Shiftall

Panasonic Sells Off Its Troubled VR Subsidiary Shiftall

Panasonic sold off Shiftall to another Japanese company.

Panasonic first showed off an ultra-compact VR headset prototype at CES 2020, and its extremely low weight blew us away in our demo, enabled by 2560×2560 OLED microdisplays.

It was a similar pitch to what Bigscreen recently delivered on, with the exact same resolution, but made over three years before.

CES 2020 Hands-On: Panasonic ‘VR Eyeglasses’ Tease An Intriguing Vision In Need Of A Platform
I’ve written plenty of words complaining about the shameful state of a VR market heading into 2020 in which Oculus Go is a best seller with its limited interactions and a nearly defunct 3DoF development platform. So I’ll accept being called a hypocrite to report Panasonic’s 3DoF

While Panasonic originally planned to commercialize the concept as a tethered PC VR headset through its subsidiary Shiftall by the end of 2021, this target has slipped year after year.

The product came to be called Shiftall MeganeX. It was first teased at CES 2022, and at CES 2023 the company announced it would ship that year for $1700. But while a small number of units have shipped in Japan, the headset has yet to launch in the US at all.

Ultra-Compact Shiftall MeganeX Headset Set To Ship This Year
The MeganeX PC VR headset from Panasonic’s subsidiary Shiftall is set to release in spring for $1700.

Despite this, at CES 2024 this year Shiftall announced a new version of the headset, MeganeX superlight.

The improvement in superlight is its weight. Shiftall says it's 50% lighter, down to 200 grams from around 400 grams. This is enabled by the use of new all-plastic lenses, with no glass element.

But while the original MeganeX offered both camera-based inside out tracking or SteamVR Tracking via base stations, the new superlight model lacks any cameras and requires Valve's tracking system.

Shiftall Reveals New MeganeX But Hasn’t Shipped The Original
Panasonic subsidiary Shiftall announced a new MeganeX superlight headset, but it still hasn’t shipped the original MeganeX in the US yet.

Shiftall hasn't yet announced a price for MeganeX superlight, and the company's inability to deliver in the past and change in ownership casts serious doubts about its future ability to deliver.

The new owner of Shiftall is the Japanese firm Creek & River Co. It seems to be a very generalized company with no specific specialty. Here's how it describes itself, translated from Japanese:

"An agency specializing in professionals in the fields of video, games, web, advertising/publishing, writers, medical care, IT, accounting, law, architecture, fashion, food, computer science, life science, performing arts, CXO, athletes, and agriculture (developing businesses such as temporary staffing/introduction), production (contracting/outsourcing), and rights management (monetization of intellectual property).

Furthermore, we are expanding our peripheral services to include VR, AI, professional recruitment sites, SNS that connects lawyers around the world, drones, and laboratory-type offshore development."

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