This week, HTC will be celebrating the one year anniversary of the release of the HTC Vive VR headset. The system has been a surprising hit for the aging mobile company, which has devoted a surprising amount of resources towards gaining an early foothold on the incredibly young industry.
Over the past year, HTC has continued to put a major emphasis on building out platform services and initiatives. One of the most notable of those, the company’s Viveport VR game subscription service, will be launching this Wednesday. The service will allow PC-powered headset owners the chance to download 5 compatible titles for $6.99 per month. Users are able to download new titles at the beginning of each month or continue playing ones the in their queue that they are already enjoying.
All Vive owners will be receiving a one-month free trial for the service, which will be launching with a limited number of top titles early-on. The library of about 50 titles includes popular hits like Fantastic Contraption, TheBlu, Everest VR and others.
Right now, most Vive owners download games from Valve’s Steam store. Valve is the creator of the SteamVR operating system which the Vive uses. There are about 1600 titles for the HTC Vive available on the store.
HTC introduced the Viveport app store in August as a home for much of the non-gaming content launching for VR. Downloaded content is can be playable across major PC-powered platforms, which, for now, means just the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Building its own storefront means building a new revenue source outside of hardware in the VR market; HTC will take a 40% cut of all sales through the online store.
Viveport President Rikard Steiber tells me that the goal right now is to hit a quarter million sign-ups for the service, though he admits that might not be a goal that is hit in 2017. HTC has not released headset sales numbers for the Vive, but estimates from the research firm SuperData pins the number of units sold at just under a half million headsets.
On Wednesday, to celebrate its first birthday, HTC will also be giving a temporary $100 discount of the Vive system to new buyers. VR has gained a reputation for being a rather expensive hobby, but other competitors like the Facebook-owned Oculus have been making major strides at increasing its affordability through a $200 discount on the system and its motion controllers and by reducing the minimum hardware specifications of the PCs powering its headset.
HTC will also be giving away a copy one of their newest Vive Studios titles, Arcade Saga, to all Vive owners.