Even with virtual reality’s (VR) enormous growth and future potential it’s still a polarising technology, with some highly invested in its success while others still don’t quite understand it. In the early days of VR’s re-emergence companies closely worked together to ensure it became viable, but with the launches of the major headsets this year that’s all begun to split. But HTC doesn’t think this should be the case, saying recently that everyone still needs to work together to ensure the industry’s future.
Talking to GamesIndustry.biz, Rikard Steiber, president of Viveport and SVP of VR at HTC said: “We are in the early days, and all of the VR players need to work together to make sure virtual reality happens. Rather than competing, we should make it easier for developers to create great content and monetise it. We need to help consumers navigate this field that might be initially confusing. But I do think, people with mobile phones are going to upgrade to some sort of virtual reality experience, I think it’s natural if you have a games console that you’ll upgrade to a more immersive experience, if you have a high-end PC then you’ll want to do this.”
HTC has been heavily pushing VR worldwide – especially in China – through initiatives such as Viveport and its accompanying Viveport Developer Awards. There’s also the Viveport M mobile platform, Viveport Arcade and the Vive X Accelerator Program to name just a few.
And Steiber sees Viveport as a multiplatform VR store saying: “Our vision for Viveport is for it to be the leading agnostic virtual reality store. We are not just for Vive, we are for all platforms and devices. We launched in China where some of the US companies struggle having a presence. In China we cover all types of content and we have just launched our mobile VR offering, so we also have Android VR and Daydream applications in there. We also launched our Arcade programme [where people can go to a real-world destination to play VR]. We want to help developers get into China, and safely monetise their content across PC VR, home VR, mobile VR and public location-based VR.”
Rivals such as Oculus and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) are providing their own support for developers, whether it’s financial or technical. But generally this means exclusive deals secured for their own platforms, ensuring they get a return on their investment by attracting more customers to purchase their headsets.
Some developers such as CCP Games are trying to bridge the gap. EVE: Valkyrie for example is one of the few titles (possibly the only one) that supports cross-platform play over all three of the main headsets.
Whilst it would benefit the VR industry and gamers alike if HTC, Oculus, SIE and others worked together for the betterment of VR, the likely hood it’ll happen is probably slim.
VRFocus will continue its VR coverage, reporting on all the latest news from around the world.