After starting off in VR with some killer hardware, HTC’s getting into VR software, too. The company recently announced the Viveport app store is now available to Vive users in more than 30 countries including the U.S. Previously, Viveport was only available in China.
Viveport’s fairly small right now, with 60 titles currently available. But that’s sort of the point, as HTC’s app store is a more curated market focused on non-gaming VR experiences.
There are a few games to be sure, such as Cloudlands: VR Minigolf, Everest VR,Fantastic Contraption, and World of Diving. The larger focus, however, is on VR experiences such as cinemas, planetariums, guided meditation, and virtual tours. All of the games that do appear in Viveport could loosely fall into those categories as well.
Viveport may not restrict itself to Vive-compatible software, either. The company toldVenture Beat that while there are no Oculus VR titles in Viveport users should “stay tuned for news on that in the future.”
While games may come to Viveport one day, HTC is smart to focus on non-gaming titles. For VR to go truly mainstream it has to offer more uses and experiences than just games. Besides, HTC partnered with Valve for the release of the Vive virtual reality headset and room-scale hardware. That means many Vive users are getting their games from Valve’s Steam storefront anyway, and likely did so in the pre-VR gaming world as well.
The story behind the story: Viveport’s a way for HTC to add value to its headset without crossing over into Steam’s territory. For now, that is. Once SteamVR pops up on more headsets—as Valve plans to make it widely available—HTC may very well want its own storefront to stand out from the crowd.
Viveport’s available to VR users now. Over the next 48 hours, HTC is offering several Vive games for just $1, including theBlu, Mars Odyssey, Stonehenge VR, The Music Room and Firebird – La Peri.