HTC Vive’s second E3 finds VR gaining some AAA steam

HTC is back at E3 this year for its sophomore turn at the gaming expo, after its first show in 2016 following closely on the heels of the Vive VR headset’s consumer launch. I spoke to HTC VP of VR Dan O’Brien at this year’s E3, to find out a bit about how the company sees the market, its role therein and the state of VR in general now that it’s not the newest kid on the block.

We talked a bit about how important it is to see big games embrace the platform, including Bethesda’s Doom and Fallout VR titles (it wasn’t yet public that Mario Kart would also be making its way to the Vive via Tokyo arcades, but the same conclusions apply). O’Brien was candid about how despite strong indie support, which HTC continues to prize, big name games coming to VR are sure to help it continue to mature as an industry, and attract new gamers who might’ve been content to otherwise stay sat on the fence.

The Vive has also evolved from a hardware perspective, and O’Brien pointed out that both the new Deluxe Audio Strap, and Intel’s upcoming WiGig wireless adapter kit for Vive are going to be on display and available for testing this year at the show. The Vive Tracker, which brings other objects into the gaming world, is likewise on display with some new game integrations. The headset itself may not have changed since last year, but we’ve learned a lot about user experience, on both hardware and software fronts.

VR might not yet be a breakaway smash hit, even when it’s tied to a console and with a lower barrier to entry than the Vive, as with PS VR. But O’Brien doesn’t seem under any illusions about the work that still needs to be done in the space, and as proof he points to recent partnership announcements, including with Google, on different approaches to broadening the appeal of VR in general.

HTC didn’t get have anything as grandiose as its own Vive keynote at its second E3, necessarily, but it did see the VR pioneer incorporated in big announcements from Sony, Bethesda and Nintendo – not bad for a relative gaming expo novice.