HTC is gearing up to celebrate the first anniversary of Vive with the launch of the Viveport subscription model. The Viveport worldwide content distribution platform launched in September, and now the company is offering a low-cost subscription package to help you access the variety of content without breaking the bank.
“We’re surprised every day by what our fans and developers have brought to VIVE in its first year,” said Daniel O’ Brien, GM US, HTC Vive. “We’re astounded by the impact that VR is making in the home and in the enterprise, and we want to celebrate Vive’s first birthday by giving a bit back to our fans and by introducing Vive to more people.”
The HTC Vive isn’t a cheap system. It will set you back $800 just for the hardware (if you already have a VR-ready PC), and then you must dole out more money for the content. HTC recognized that cost is a barrier holding customers back, so it tried to sweeten the deal by tossing in a few free titles with the purchase of a Vive. (Developers did their part, too, by releasing a wide variety of content for free.) But the cost is still a factor for many people.
HTC created the Viveport content distribution service to help reduce the burden of purchasing content, and to bring content to regions that can’t access Steam (China). The Viveport platform offers hundreds of titles, and HTC often holds sales to reduce the prices even further.
“The marketplace for Vive apps has grown at a tremendous pace with more than 1,600 titles now available across different app stores and over 30 new apps launching daily,” said Rikard Steiber, President of Viveport at HTC Vive. “The rapid growth of the app market is a win for VR overall yet it can present discoverability challenges that affect both customers and content creators. Introducing a subscription model to VR is a natural evolution of where this market is going, and as film, music, and TV have proven it’s becoming the preferred way customers want to explore and experience entertainment content.”
In January, at CES 2017, HTC announced two more initiatives that address the burden of the high price. The company revealed that you could now purchase a Vive on a monthly payment plan. It also said it would be adding a subscription service to Viveport that would give you access to a wide range of content for a low monthly fee. At the time, HTC wasn’t discussing the details about Viveport Subscriptions. Now we know some of the details, and it’s working out to be an incredible value.
The Viveport subscription service launches on April 5, 2017, and it will cost you $7 per month. For that decidedly reasonable fee, you get access to five games of your choice per month. Every month, you can choose to keep the same games, or you can return them and select a new collection of five games. If you’re the type of person who finishes a game and then moves on to the next one, the subscription service could save you a tremendous amount of money. You can also use the subscription service to test out games before you commit to buying them. Every game available in the Viveport Subscription system is also available as a standalone purchase.
HTC said there are over 50 titles available in Viveport Subscription, and it expects the lineup to expand quickly. Developers have complete freedom to choose how they wish to distribute their game through Viveport. They can sell it for full price as a standalone product only, or they can opt into the Viveport subscription. HTC expects that most games will eventually end up on Viveport Subscription because it's an additional revenue stream for developers.
HTC is giving away a free one-month trial of Viveport Subscription to everyone who signs up. The company is also giving away copies of Arcade Saga to everyone that has a Viveport account. Arcade Saga is a VR multiplayer game that features room-scale pinball, table tennis, and archery game modes. It also features a campaign mode with 84 levels for you to unlock.
To sign up for Viveport or Viveport Subscription, register at www.viveport.com. If you don’t have a Vive yet, the anniversary might be a good day to order one, because HTC is offering a $100 discount to newcomers on April 5.