HTC is getting into the content game with the launch of Vive Studios, a new corporate unit with the goal to kickstart the development of virtual reality (VR) games and experiences across a wide range of genres. Vive Studios will work both with internal developers and external partners, and released a came called “Arcade Saga” as the first title developed internally by the studio Thursday.
Vive Studios consists of a total of 50 staffers and is being led by Joel Breton, HTC’s VP of Content. Breton told Variety at the Virtual Reality Strategy conference in San Francisco Wednesday that HTC had identified ten major use cases for VR, ranging from video games to location-based VR arcades and from cinematic experiences to health care applications. The goal for Vive Studios was to eventually be active in all of these areas, he said. “We started with games because most of us are from games. We can do that with our eyes closed.”
“Arcade Saga,” the studio’s first title, has been developed in-house by an internal studio called 2 Bears Studios, which is staffed by video game veterans from Microsoft, Rockstar Games and Amazon. The game consists of three games that are each based on arcade classics like “Breakout” — only in VR, you’ll have actually move through the room and swing the Vive’s controllers to hit bricks with a ball, shoot with bow and arrow and dodge enemy bullets.
In the coming months, Vive Studios is also looking to distribute cinematic experience that focus more heavily on storytelling. However, the studio will likely collaborate with third parties on those experiences, said Breton. HTC’s goal is to have “several dozen” pieces of content available to consumers by the end of next year, he said.
One obvious motivation behind the launch of Vive Studios is to have more exclusive content available to Vive owners. However, Vive Creative Director J. Epps argued that it was also about highlighting the capabilities of the device itself. “The most important part for us is to show what’s great about the Vive,” he said.