The Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC) in San Francisco is specifically for developers interested in working in the virtual reality (VR) space. To have a completely sub-section of the Game Developers Conference (GDC), which takes place in San Francisco should be an indicator to anyone that VR is a significant discussion topic for those looking at the videogame industry’s future. VRFocus sat down with Rikard Steiber, the president of Viveport at VRDC to discuss what the company is working on, how its helping developers in the space to grow, as well as its working partnership with Google.
Steiber explains that there are over 2,000 apps currently available on Viveport a year on from launch. He says that in Q4, the main focus is to support studio’s on the VR ecosystem by giving back 100% of the revenue to developers as well as giving them free marketing. HTC Vive understands that it is still early days for the VR industry, and although hardware and software are becoming more accessible and cheaper, it is still an expensive undertaking for any developer to create a VR application. He hopes that by doing this, Viveport will help support developers sustain a business and in turn help create a healthy environment for VR to grow.
To further help developers and consumers, back in September HTC Vive released the Viveport Scene SDK; a new toolset which allows developers to create VR previews that can be showcased in Viveport. This would allow customers to potentially have a sneak peek, if you will, of an application before purchase or rental. The Viveport Scene SDK allows for VR Previews that are rich and interactive 3D environments as well as VR Skyboxes; 360 degree preview images that surround the user as they browse the content grid in the Viveport store. The company hopes this will help discoverability and engage potential customers, similar to a DVD case, a trailer, teaser or poster of 2D entertainment products.
Steiber is also extremely keen about the deal HTC and Google recently did, which will see certain HTC employees move to Google in a $1.1 billion USD deal. The relationship between Google and HTC seems strong, and Steiber explains that HTC now have a billion more dollars to invest in VR and augmented reality (AR). The close relationship with Google is also evident when HTC announced at Google I/O that the two companies are working together with Lenovo on a standalone headset. Steiber explains that there is a separate version for China, but that both headsets will have 6 Degrees of Freedom (DoF) and the controllers will be 3 DoF.
Steiber’s personal passion though, seems to be in VR for impact. HTC Vive is working together with the United Nations (U.N). to help create 17 experiences to support the U.N.’s 17 sustainability goals that touch on courses such as climate change and poverty. HTC has set aside $10 million to help support the initiative, so you can expect various experiences that revolve around saving the world sometime soon. Steiber talks about how VR and AR will define the future in the rest of the video, and find out more about how he views the two technologies and what consumers might expect in the future.