HTC is launching a developer beta of its Viveport store today, along with the announcement of the Viveport Developer Awards, meant to recognize software published on the store.
The first awards will be given early next year to apps represented in the non-gaming categories HTC is focusing on with Viveport. HTC is targeting software categories for Viveport that Steam, Valve’s leading storefront for video games, doesn’t spotlight as well as, say, educational or artistic VR experiences. The company behind the Vive headset says the award pool equates to around $500,000 in “cash and prizes” spanning the main categories it’s targeting — “Discover, Create, Connect, Watch and Shop.”
Titles published on Viveport starting today are eligible “subject to the acceptance of the terms and conditions of the contest.” Five nominees will be selected per category and a yet-to-be-announced jury will select the final prize winners in early 2017. All nominees will receive a Vive, according to HTC, with the top three winners in each category receiving $50,000, $30,000 and $15,000, respectively. Those prizes would likely represent alluring awards to some of the smaller teams who are building early VR software.
Viveport is only available in China right now, with a wider launch scheduled for this Fall, but HTC claims it has 7,000 developers already registered with the service. Valve’s Steam store is the standard way people find and buy experiences for the HTC Vive in most countries worldwide. But the store, mostly populated by games, isn’t officially available in China so developers looking to access that massive market have a major incentive to consider HTC’s store for their software, too.