HTC, maker of the Vive virtual reality headset, has launched its new Viveport VR app store as a site where enthusiasts of the technology can find the latest games, videos and other content to use on their devices.
The Viveport app store was unveiled to users in the U.S. and other countries on Sept. 30 as a central place to find VR content in a wide range of subjects, including art, design, education, fashion, music, sports, travel, video and more, according to HTC. "Viveport's mission is to democratize access to the world's most diverse selection of immersive experiences by empowering all content creators to reach and engage the fast-growing global VR audience," the company said in a statement.
New VR content that launches first on Viveport will be called "Viveport Premieres" to highlight its freshness, including initial offerings such as the latest content from Everest VR, Google Spotlight Stories' Pearl, Lifeliqe, Stonehenge VR, The Music Room and a new edition of theBlu.
"We believe Viveport is the place where customers will start their journey into new virtual reality experiences," Rikard Steiber, the president of Viveport, said in a statement. "Now, fans in over 30 countries will join us on a fantastic voyage, as they get to experience amazing VR apps published by the best content creators in the industry."
To celebrate the new app store, Viveport customers can get special $1 pricing for several VR content titles in the first 48 hours of the new service, said Steiber. The $1 sale titles will include theBlu, Mars Odyssey, Firebird - La Peri and more.
Viveport participants can also join the Viveport community to connect with other VR enthusiasts.
Viveport can be used by VR fans in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States so far, with more countries to be added in the future. Viveport previously was available only in China.
In June, HTC moved its popular Vive VR product line into its own company-owned subsidiary as the main company continues to react to its tough financial performance in the first quarter of the year. The new subsidiary aims to support and promote the company's VR ecosystem, while isolating it from the parent company's financial woes.
The HTC Vive VR headset (pictured) sells for $799.
A wide range of virtual-reality products are being developed and marketed as the technology continues to mature. A recent report issued by research firm TrendForce concludes that Sony's upcoming PlayStation VR headset, which will released in October, is already priming the global virtual-reality marketplace, according to an earlier eWEEK story.
Sales of the PlayStation VR are expected to "overwhelm its competitors this year," as big preorder numbers for the headset point to the device making up some 67 percent of the expected 9 million VR devices that will be sold in 2016, the research concluded. Competitor Oculus will ship about 2.3 million units of Rift, and HTC will ship only about 700,000 units of its Vive headsets, according to the report. The report also projects sales of some 50 million VR devices globally by 2020, for a compound annual growth rate of 53.5 percent.
TrendForce also estimates that total sales in the VR market globally will be more than $70 billion in 2020, with software making up about 60 percent of that total.
The $399 PlayStation VR headset, which was announced in March, is aimed at bringing virtual-reality game play to its popular PlayStation entertainment systems.
Also in March, Oculus began shipping preordered units of its $599 Oculus Rift virtual-reality headsets to customers, while the $99 Samsung Gear VR headset went on sale last fall, giving users the chance to view video games, movies and more in immersive, new ways. The Samsung Gear VR is a consumer version of virtual-reality headsets made by Oculus.