HTC Vive Targets VR Developers With Tracking Peripheral And Subscription Service

HTC’s Vive subsidiary hopes hardware and software enhancements to its Vive virtual reality (VR) headset and app store, will improve how VR software is accessed and controlled.

Viveport, the Vive’s equivalent of an app store, will soon offer a monthly subscription service that will give Vive users access to a host of VR experiences, games and applications at a fixed monthly cost, rather than forcing them to buy individual apps.

While the cost of the monthly subscription was not disclosed, it should be a boon for developers looking to crack the VR software market as it offers them a new way to monetise their apps without relying upon just sales volumes.

Vive Tracker

On the hardware side Vive debuted the Tracker, a peripheral to the main headset and sensor package, which enables the motion tracking of new objects and form factors in a virtual environment, in turn enabling more accessories to be created and tracked in VR and giving developers working on Vive app a means by which to expand the virtual experiences they are creating for VR system.

With Vive Tracker, accessories such as model rifles built for shooting games in VR or gloves with haptic feedback can be tracked and help make navigating and interacting with virtual worlds a more real and immersive experience.

“To foster the long-term growth of VR, we want to make it even easier for developers to prototype and market more immersive controllers and accessories,” said Daniel O’Brien, general manager of the US and EMEA regions at Vive, the company created by HTC and games giant Valve to bring the Vive headset to market.

“The Vive Tracker is the first step in growing an ecosystem of third-party accessories that will change how we interact with virtual experiences and provide consumers and businesses with an unlimited amount of content opportunities.”  

To fuel the development of accessories with VR tracking, 1,000 Trackers will be given away to developers. However, Vive has yet to reveal exactly when the Tracker will ship beyond the second quarter of 2017, not did it reveal any pricing for the peripheral.

Vive Deluxe Audio Strap

On top of the Tracker, Vive also announced the Deluxe Audio Strap, which as the name would suggest are adjustable headphones in a strap configuration that offer better adjustment through the use of a dial so that wearers of the Vive headset can enjoy 360-degree sound, a key part in making VR seem more immersive.

Hardly a revolutionary step forward in the Vive hardware, by it is likely to make an already comfortable VR headset a more pleasant experience when strapping it to one’s head.

Pricing was not announced for th strap but it will be made available in the second quarter of the year.

While the Vive may be seem primarily at as a consumer VR system, HTC Vive boasted at CES 2017 that the Vive has enterprise applications as well, championing the ability to support VR software for use in numerous sectors.

How much do you know about virtual reality? Try our quiz!

Roland Moore-Colyer

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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