×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

HTC Opens Up Viveport Virtual Reality Subscription Service to Developers (EXCLUSIVE)

First came Spotify, then Netflix. Now, HTC is betting that the time is right for virtual reality (VR) to join the subscription bandwagon. HTC’s Viveport VR subscription service officially opened its doors for developers this week, allowing them to register their games and VR experiences and be part of the service’s launch later this spring.

HTC first announced its plans to launch a subscription service for its HTC Vive VR headset at CES earlier this year. Since then, more than 14,000 consumers have signed up to be notified about the service, said Viveport President Rikard Steiber in an interview with Variety this week. HTC will charge consumers $6.99 per month for the service.

He also revealed some other key details about the upcoming service: HTC will launch the subscription service some time in the coming weeks, and Steiber said that new as well as existing Vive headset owners will get a month of free access.

For their monthly fee, consumers will be able to download 5 games and experiences at a time to their PC to use with their HTC Vive headset. Users can then opt to “trade in” one of these games or experiences to download and use a new one at the end of the month.

Steiber argued that subscriptions aren’t just a proven business model, but also a good way to get more exposure for VR games and experiences that may otherwise get lost among the more than 1000 titles already available for sale for the Vive headset. “We see it as a very important promotional tool,” he said.

He mused that some developers may decide to put their titles on the subscription service first to gain exposure before deciding to sell them. Others may use more traditional windowing, and sell individual downloads before eventually moving titles to the subscription service. The company is taking a 40 percent cut of the subscription revenue, while developers get 60 percent, he explained.

Already, Viveport has signed up some notable publishers to be part of the subscription tier. These include Time Inc. with its “Remembering Pearl Harbor” VR experience as well as “Lumen,” Steel Wool Studios with “Mars Odyssey” and Groove Jones with “Arcade Artist.”

The company wants to use next week’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco to woo developers and publishers, and have plenty of them sign up ahead of an official consumer launch of the subscription service in the coming weeks. “We are trying to create some urgency,” said Steiber.

Update: 2/27: This post was updated with details on the price of the service and the number of titles consumers can rent.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Andrew MorseVariety's Entertainment & Techonology Summit,

    Listen: CNN Digital Chief Says Trump Doesn't Drive Traffic Success

    No subject might get as much attention across CNN’s digital properties as Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean the news network is dependent on him for web traffic. Andrew Morse, executive VP and general manager of the AT&T-owned company’s digital operations, pointed to recent coverage of natural disasters and international incidents as more potent audience [...]

  • Jonah Hill attends the press conference

    Instagram Debuts Jonah Hill’s ‘Un-filtered’ Bullying Docu-Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Facebook’s Instagram, as part of its anti-bullying initiatives, funded a new series directed by Jonah Hill featuring teens and young adults talking about their experiences with bullying. The four-episode “Un-filtered” goes live Wednesday (Sept. 18) on Instagram’s IGTV channel on its mobile app and the web. In the unscripted series, Hill interviews people aged 13-25 [...]

  • Plex

    Plex Signs Up Lionsgate for Upcoming Ad-Supported Video Service

    Media center app maker Plex has struck a deal with Lionsgate to add some of the studio’s movies and TV shows to its upcoming ad-supported video service. The news comes just weeks after Plex announced a similar deal with Warner Bros. “Lionsgate is one of the biggest names in the business and we know our [...]

  • Comcast Xfinity Flex

    Comcast Drops $5 Monthly Fee for Xfinity Flex Video-Streaming Set-Top for Broadband Customers

    Comcast will hand out one free set-top box for broadband subscribers to access Xfinity Flex, its video-streaming product for internet-only customers, as it looks to punch up the value of its high-speed internet business. Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chairman and CEO, announced the new strategy at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference Wednesday in New York. “One of [...]

  • Facebook Portal TV

    Facebook Announces $149 Portal TV Device, 2 New Portal Smart Displays

    Facebook wants you to put a camera into your living room: The company officially unveiled its Portal TV device Wednesday that brings video chatting, augmented reality (AR) and Facebook Watch to any TV set. In addition, the company also unveiled two new Portal smart display devices that are aggressively priced to grow the company’s home [...]

  • Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, South

    Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series to Shoot in New Zealand

    Amazon Studios has set New Zealand as the location for its upcoming series production of “The Lord of the Rings,” following in the footsteps of the movies made by Peter Jackson. Pre-production on the series has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. “We knew we needed to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content