Another week and another anniversary, this time its HTC Vive’s. To celebrate its first birthday the company has rolled out several promotions, giving away Arcade Saga for free, dropping the price of the headset, and launching the Viveport Subscription Service. But what has this first year meant for developers and where do they see the next 12 months heading? VRFocus caught up with some studio’s to get their reactions.
HTC Vive was the first headset to allow users to physically walk around in a virtual world, which was a big draw for many studios including Waltz of the Wizard developer Aldin Dynamics. Hrafn Thorri Thorisson, Aldin’s CEO said : “At the time Vive debuted, no platform was able to deliver full freedom of movement and hand tracking. Those capabilities are vital in letting you move and act as in reality, paving the way towards mainstream adoption by making the user experience more powerful and intuitive. It were the system capabilities that we at Aldin had been waiting for since we got into VR in 2013.
“HTC and Valve have been a powerful force in pushing this industry forward and they play a large role in making us more excited than ever about where things are headed. Virtual reality is a medium that will be constantly evolving for decades to come and their approach to fostering collaboration and an open platform is driving the industry forward at a faster rate than otherwise possible. We fully expect motion controllers and roomscale to remain the most powerful form of VR, and we’re starting to see the rest of the industry align with that philosophy.”
Steve Bowler, President, CloudGate Studio, creators of Island 359 and avid Vive Tracker enthusiasts had this to say: “We at CloudGate obviously were blown away with the incredible potential of the Vive when we first put our hands on the developer kits; enough to quit our jobs and form our own company so we could pursue room scale VR full time. As we enter Year 2 of consumer VR, we’re incredibly excited that we get to work with an incredible partner like HTC. The Trackers are going to open up new horizons we didn’t even know were possible and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for VR! Happy Birthday, Vive!”
“Like many new content platforms, it starts with experimentation such as passion projects and short experiences. Once there is consumer adoption we begin to see growth and monetization. We’re already seeing an ancillary VR marketplace which includes accessories for shooter type games, wireless adapters for cordless play, skins for HMD’s etc. It’s exactly this kind of commitment that drives the innovation and brings VR mainstream,” Russell Naftal, Co-Managing Partner at VRWERX replied. “Regarding the HTC Vive team, they have been extremely active lately, from investments in third party developers to subscription gaming, and more recently, distribution with the launch of Viveport. One thing for sure, HTC Vive absolutely believes in the future of VR.”
Carsten Boserup, Community Manager at Racket: Nx developer One Hamsa sees the platform as the perfect way to enjoy sports, and wireless high-end VR is the next step. “My eyes have been widely open to the fact that VR Sport is here and it is growing fast. People who don’t have much spare time and who have to chose between going to the gym or play games, are now burning calories and getting their heart beating, in their own living room while playing VR sports games,” effused Boserup. “You can already enjoy VR Sport games in full 360 on the HTC Vive. Though, when the wireless HTC Vive arrives, it’ll change sports and how we exercise today, dramatically… in a good way!”
These early days of consumer VR have lead to a lot of experimentation within the community, but with some companies eager to get on board this has also meant quite a few similar titles. But this will expand and the quality will further improve expects Denny Unger, CEO and Creative Director, Cloudhead Games.
“At launch there was a push to establish best practices which gave everyone a base level to develop towards. Since then we’ve seen further experimentation, far too many wave shooters, late attempts at longer format AAA-like experiences, and Hollywood desperately trying to wrap its head around what it all means for their industry,” said Unger. “I think that the next wave of development will continue to be content focused but with a push towards polished games, tools/training, as well as Hollywood taking a much deeper dive. In Asia at least, the industry will likely attempt to balance out a slow growth home market with location based multiplayer experiences, while in North America we will be purely content fixated.
“Beyond the next year the market is going to slowly become a very competitive place and we may start seeing some homogony in terms of platform. Hardware will improve and prices will shift. That will signal a tipping point for the industry and that’s when things get really interesting.”
Do you agree with the devs? Or do you see HTC Vive and VR going in a different direction? What do you hope will happen in the next 12 months? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.