HTC celebrates Vive's 1st birthday by turning on Viveport subscription service

Grab five VR apps for $6.99 a month
HTC turns on Viveport subscription service

HTC is shaking up how we buy VR apps to celebrate the HTC Vive's first birthday. Its Viveport Subscription service is going live on 5 April for $6.99 a month on a rolling contract.

Each month you can choose to keep or swap out the five apps in your locker - plus as a birthday treat, all new and existing Vive users get a one month free trial.

Read this: The best SteamVR games you need to play

First announced at CES, we now know that there will be more than 50 apps included in the program at launch and the fee gets you five apps at any one time. And we mean apps.

There are some games on Viveport, but most are more like experiences than fully fledged games. (It's a worldwide launch in "30 markets" and in China, the subscription will include over 100 apps and games).

HTC is namechecking Everest VR, Fantastic Contraption, Mars: Odyssey, The Blu and Richie's Plank Experience as apps included in the scheme, some of which cost $10 - $25 to buy.

You can pre-register now and the sign up page lists a few more titles you'll get to choose from - Arcade Artist, Lumen, Airborne VR 1944, Knock Out League, Stonehenge VR and Russian Coasters VR.

HTC's Viveport Subscription is going live this week - Netflix for VR will cost $6.99 a month

VR discovery engine

"You're probably going to buy your hardcore games on SteamVR. This is a complement to allow you to explore much more content than you otherwise would do, for a very low monthly fee," Rikard Steiber, HTC's SVP of virtual reality and head of Viveport, told us.

Of course there are already plenty of great free HTC Vive apps to try out via Viveport. Longer term, though, HTC wants to help developers make money and says 60% of the revenue from Viveport Subscription will go back to developers. We also just heard of plans for HTC's new VR Ad service which will include banners & videos and even 3D in-game/in-app ads within the virtual worlds, like product placement. We knew it was coming.

If the aim is to get more interest in the paid for apps, though, a Netflix-style subscription option is a clever way to do it.

"After we announced this at CES, we had 15,000 sign ups pretty much straightaway," said Steiber. "We now have over 1,700 apps on the platform in less than a year's time. A year ago when people were thinking about Vive, they were thinking about the headset. And today it is more of an ecosystem of VR technology.


"The Tracker, which we put up for sale last week, has actually sold out here in the US after just two days." And, indeed, the Vive Tracker is currently showing as out of stock.

If you buy a Vive headset on 5 April, you'll get a $100 discount so hold off if you were about to take the plunge. Plus you can download Arcade Saga from 2Bears (part of Viev Studios) for free too.

In the run up to its 1st birthday, HTC has been making a splash with a whole bunch of mid-sized announcements - the $99 Vive Tracker accessory going on sale to devs (but you don't need to prove you are one), its upcoming Ready Player One experiences with Warner Bros, MakeVR, a VR app that hooks up to 3D printers and 30 more Vive X startups getting serious investment.

Stay tuned on the site this month as we look back at VR's first year in terms of both HTC Vive and Oculus.

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