HTC is entering the virtual reality space and is ready to give its smartphone rival Samsung some competition. On top of that it has already lined up content from Lionsgate, HBO and Google for the future launch this year of its new SteamVR Vive headset.
The company is developing Vive with Valve Software, a major player in the videogame industry through Steam, its online gaming platform, which has over 125 million active accounts. The partnership with Valve is extremely exciting and it is expected that Valve’s Steam Machine gaming console will play a significant role in powering Vive.
Both HTC and Valve see Vive as a new distribution platform for entertainment. Although Valve is mostly known for their gaming platform, this latest release further push Hollywood deeper into the virtual reality space where promotion of its films and TV shows is big business.
Given Valve’s involvement, the new Vive headset will enable users to play games, but as HTC promotes this more as a mass market device, and with partnerships like Lionsgate and HBO, one can assume users will be able to interact with movies, TV shows and other entertainment content.
Both Lionsgate and HBO have been experimenting with VR through experiences designed around “Insurgent” and “Game of Thrones.”
“Virtual reality will totally transform the way we interact with the world, and will become a mainstream experience for the consumer,” said HTC chief Peter Chou. “Attending real-time concerts, learning history, watching an incredible movie, reliving memories through photos or shopping experiences will be transformed.”
Virtual reality will totally transform the way we interact with the world, and will become a mainstream experience for the consumer
The virtual reality headset war continues to heat up with the introduction of Vive, now entering a very promising market with Oculus, Sony, and Samsung who are making their own devices.
The headset uses 70 sensors to bring virtual reality experiences to life with 360-degree views and use real-world settings like the living room.
“It’s also really light, so you can wear it for a long time without feeling weighed down,” said Jeff Gatis, HTC’s executive director, global marketing.
HTC revealed Vive during a press event on Sunday at the Mobile World Congress, where they mentioned some specifications, but details and price have yet to be revealed. The Mobile World Congress event is the first phase of the launch of Vive, with Valve also set to promote the VR headset during this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
It is assumed that the user version of the handset will be available by the end of 2015.