Joel Breton, GM of HTC’s Vive Studios division, thinks that VR companies need to start looking beyond gaming in order to succeed.
Speaking to UploadVR, Breton explained that gaming was a core pillar of helping the industry succeed, stating that he was looking forward to selling Studio’s existing games on new headsets like the Oculus Quest. “When I see Oculus Quest I’m like “God bless it, there’s a bunch more headsets that I’m going to be able to sell my content for,”” he said.
Indeed, Vive Studios has made a habit of bringing some of its published content over to other platforms; Grab Games’ Knockout League is available on both Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR as well as Vive, whilst many of the team’s published games on Steam also support Rift and Windows VR.
However, as we spoke about Studios’ strategy over the past two years, Breton emphasized his belief that VR content production needs to look beyond gaming. “‘The competition, I don’t want to speak for them strategically, but they are very, very focused on games,” he said.
I noted that Quest itself had been introduced primarily as a gaming console, with Facebook promising over 50 launch titles including experiences like The Climb and Robo Recall.
“As a gaming console, yeah, I think that’s interesting,” Breton replied. “I’m a game producer, that’s been the bulk of my career so I love creating games but, again, we think if VR is relegated to a gaming console, everybody loses. Because it’s so much more powerful than that, and we’ve seen it. Not just cinematic but we’ve seen the power in all those other use cases.”
To that end, Vive Studios has indeed been looking beyond gaming with its output thus far. Apps like TrueScale focus on interior design while MakeVR is a design tool aimed at professional use. Vive also just premiered an episodic 360 degree VR movie named 7 Miracles.
Breton went on to talk about applications in health, such as helping with depression and pain. “There’s so much going on that is not being– I mean it is being talked about a little bit, but it’s just kind of incubating there to where these companies are doing their tests and getting their data back on what works and so that part of the market is about ready to explode.”
But doesn’t Vive need to push gaming to help it in the consumer arena? “Gaming, I feel, is an important area, but it’s kind of taking care of itself now,” Breton said. “Like I said, the third parties can make money, they can either adapt or make something at reasonable scale on multiple platforms and benefit.”