HTC launched the Viveport M platform to make it easier for smartphone owners in China to experience mobile VR.
Viveport M is a companion platform to the Viveport digital marketplace where Vive HMD users can download apps, games, and other VR experiences. HTC said that Viveport M is compatible with most Android smartphones and that the software can be downloaded via Alibaba's PP Helper app. People who act quickly will be given a Vive-branded cardboard VR display if they download two titles (one of which must be paid) between November 8 and 20.
This platform is likely meant to make it easier for people to get a taste of what VR can offer and, hopefully, purchase the HTC Vive to get a better experience. It's also capitalizing on the popularity of the original Viveport to make VR experiences more broadly accessible to people who don't have the means or the desire to purchase a VR HMD. Here's what HTC said about Viveport and Viveport M in the press release announcing the latter's debut:
Alvin W. Graylin, China Regional President of Vive, HTC, said, "Viveport is currently the leading VR content distribution platform in China. We are so excited to extend our high quality VR content to mobile users in China via the newly announced Viveport M. It's an honor for Viveport M to be selected by so many top-level partners as their preferred distribution platform."
HTC isn't the only company trying to ease people into the VR craze. Valve, which partnered with HTC to make SteamVR available on the Vive HMD, recently announced the expansion of a program designed to let business owners set up VR arcades. The principle behind these announcements is the same: HMDs are expensive, and convincing people to spend money on them during this early stage requires some kind of a gateway VR experience.
The companies also share an approach to enticing consumers to these platforms. SteamVR did so with free access to Job Simulator, Audioshield, and other popular VR games. HTC's doing something similar by partnering with YoukuVR to make more than 100,000 videos shot in 360 degrees available to Viveport M users and working with Taobao Buy+ on a VR shopping experience that allows people to "try on" items before they decide to buy them.
The original Viveport launched in 30 countries, but Viveport M is currently limited to China. HTC didn't announce plans to make it available in other regions, but if the platform truly is meant to get people hooked on VR, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Viveport M launch in other countries soon.