GDC 2017: Vive Users Can Soon Pay $6.99 for a VR Content Subscription

by Joe Durbin • February 27th, 2017

At GDC 2017, UploadVR had the chance to speak with HTC’s president of Viveport and SVP of virtual reality, Rikard Steiber. During the interview, Steiber revealed the price point for Viveport’s upcoming subscription service for VR content. According to Steiber, the plan will cost $6.99 USD a month and will be available to current Vive owners and new customers “in the next few weeks.”

Steiber also reconfirmed that HTC will be offering a free, month-long trial of the Viveport subscription to all current Vive owners and new users when the service launches.

According to Steiber, with this subscription plan “users will be able to select 5 experiences a month from our pool of Viveport content” and these can be “kept month to month” or swapped out for new selections.

viveport-beta

This content pool will be sourced from the content created by Vive Studios and any Viveport developer that chooses to opt in. The entirety of Viveport will not be available automatically to subscribers, although Steiber does expect that “many” studios will chose to be included.

In a previous story, we reported that developers will be getting a 60 percent cut of the subscription revenue, while HTC reportedly takes the remaining 40 percent. Meanwhile at MWC Alvin Graylin, China Regional President of Vive, further clarified the financial allocations for developers in the subscription plan.

According to Graylin, studios will get a piece of the revenue if their app is chosen by users. He explained that if developers create content that is “super sticky” and their app is selected by subscribers in a given then they’ll get a share of the revenue, making it in developer’s best interests to create content that people will keep coming back to.

“That’s something that I think that we want to encourage,” Graylin said, referencing apps that encourage users to keep coming back like Google’s Tilt Brush and Google Earth.

According to its official website, “Viveport is the app store for virtual reality where customers can explore, create, connect, and experience the content they love and need.”

Tangentially, Viveport is described by Steiber as as a place for the promotion and distribution of VR content that falls outside the category of a game. Experiences built for dducation, medicine, real-estate, enterprise and commerce would all be examples of Viveport-appropriate experiences.

Steiber has been pushing a vision of Viveport as a vital showcase for the less flashy VR experiences for some time now. This subscription model may be his best way yet to direct the masses towards the content they may otherwise miss.

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  • bschuler

    As long as I can swap out each of the 5 items once, any time of the month… then I will probably join. I just don’t want something where I have to make my selections once.. then wait 30 days to change any of them.

    • Full Name

      I think that would defeat the purpose. They don’t want people to play through the entire catalog in a month. Pretty sure it will be 5 selections per month, not just 5 concurrent games per month with unlimited selections.

      It will be interesting to see what content they will have though – at $6.99 seems to me the content needs to be pretty top notch (at least some of it).

    • M0rdresh

      That is unrealistic

  • Kimberly Martin

    So AltspaceVR, The Body, Pearl, Google Earth VR are currently free to access, so these are going to be now costing money via subscription? For $9.50AUD a month I ONLy get access to 5 titles at once, but for the same price I can get the full Netflix catalog or access to all of Microsoft’s Office 365 titles, and on up to 5 machines.

    • Konchu

      I concur confusing to list free titles here.

    • CaptainAwesomer

      The math seems right to me. Take a few things that are free in America and the rest of the world, then convert FREE to AUD. I end up with $9.50 AUD. 🙂

  • usherjerksoffsonyfanboys

    hmmmm….doesn’t really seem to be worth it.

  • Royce Edgar

    There are not enough details yet so I would not condemn this right off.

  • Eric Nevala

    So, does this mean that a developer will get 1/5th of $6.99, of which they have to give 40% to HTC? In other words, if a customer subscribes to a VR game, the developer gets $0.84 from the customer that month?

    • StarLightPL

      If and only if their app is “super sticky”, whatever that means.

  • Totally Magical Unicorn

    With so much VR content being short ‘experiences’, I much prefer the idea of paying a small amount monthly rather forking out a lot of money for 20 mins of entertainment. I love these experiences but I can’t justify some of the prices. Hopefully this subscription will be a viable alternative.

    • M0rdresh

      True, I think this subscription model is ideal for this

  • Yuxuan Liu

    “dducation”→“education”

  • Xodroc

    Don’t care for the idea of “subscribing to content”.. That implies a certain mentality of pumping things out at a specific pace. A pace that often leads to mediocrity. Though not relevant here, I especially hate that philosophy in the context of MMO “content”.

  • Buddydudeguy

    $8 a month for Indy shovelware. Goody.