This week at CES 2019, HTC Vive announced that it will offer an unlimited VR subscription service named Viveport Infinity for the company’s VR headsets. While HTC Vive previously offered access to five games per month to subscribers, it hopes to make this new service “the best way to experience VR apps and games.”
Based on a monthly fee, the new service will grant unrestricted access to more than five hundred games and apps in the Viveport Infinity library. This will range from popular games like Torn to creative applications like Tilt Brush and even meditative experiences.
“This model allows users to try different things, that they might not have wanted to pay for,” said Viveport VP Michael Almeraris in a feature video. “We’ve been growing our users to tens of thousands of paid subscribers, and for that, developers will have access to a larger user base.”
This suggests that the Viveport service is following in the footsteps of Xbox’s Games With Gold subscription, which saw its subscribers’ play time increase by 20 percent in 2018, and the average back-catalog game usage increase sixfold in the same year. For many smaller indie developers, a subscription style service offers the potential to reach more customers that wouldn’t have originally paid for the game.
Likewise, VR isn’t losing any popularity from the gaming audience: With Steam VR users nearly doubling in 2018, it seems virtual reality is no longer a gimmick. While Xbox is still apparently disinterested in VR coming to their platform, more games than ever are supporting VR headsets, and Viveport Infinity looks to cash in on that player base.
Last year, faith in the VR platform was shaken when Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe left the company, with many fans believing that the Oculus Rift 2 might have been canceled. Oculus quickly reassured that the Rift 2 was still in development within the Facebook-owned company.