HTC celebrated the start of the 2017 Vive Ecosystem Conference (VEC2017) today and announced strategic partnerships across multiple sectors, mainly in China.
With IVRI as a platform, Vive and the Shenzhen government will work together to make Shenzhen a global center for VR research, development, and applications. Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC, who will serve as President of IVRI, VR pioneer Dr. Tom Furness, and many other industry experts are set to partner with IVRI to support its development.
Vive also revealed the winners of the VIVEPORT Developer Awards China, where winners received 100,000 RMB in cash and finalists were given a consumer edition of HTC Vive. Select winning applications, games, and tools will soon be available to Viveport users nationwide.
The second batch of companies selected for Vive X, Vive's global accelerator program, were also announced at VEC2017. Over 30 new companies from eight countries around the world were chosen to help build and advance the global VR and AR ecosystem together. Viveport M also signed a multi-party partnership agreement with six VR viewer manufacturers to expand Viveport's reach around the globe to 10+ million new mobile VR users by year's end. For consumers, a new monthly subscription service will also open for orders soon, allowing users to subscribe five VR apps on Viveport for 29.99 RMB per month, and the first month is free.
In order to create a revenue model for VR developers, HTC is launching Vive's VR Ad Service and Viveport SDK, which provides brands new ad formats and enables developers with in-app-payment models and multi-user services.
To help push VR to mass awareness, a strategic partnership between Vive and Warner Bros. was also announced at the conference, whereby Vive will serve as the exclusive VR partner for all content and online/offline activations for the theatrical and home entertainment release of Steven Spielberg's coming film, Ready Player One.
Vive also signed an agreement with GOME, the largest home appliance retail channel in China. Under this agreement, Vive will serve as GOME VR cinemas' main technology partner and provide support for China's first chain of one hundred VR locations this year.
Meanwhile, VIVEPAPER signed a partnership agreement with Qingdao Publishing Group to construct a "Demonstration Platform for VR Reading and Innovative Education" set to reach key schools in major cities across China in the coming years. The platform will mobilize the content and channel resources of Qingdao Publishing Group and industry partners to distribute VR education content and services to schools, libraries, and Xinhua Bookstores. VR technology and platforms including Vivepaper will be used to implement the content and services.
To serve the needs of the entertainment, enterprise and education markets, Vive officially introduced the Vive group edition bundle (Vive GE) to the China market, which offers 10 sets of Vive BE (business edition) HMDs and 2 lighthouse base stations for 49,999 RMB, available for order today at http://groupedition.vive.cn. It will enable multi-user scenarios well suited for cinemas, arcades, and schools, bringing Vive's VR experience to a wider audience at a more affordable price for business owners.
Vive is a virtual reality system developed in partnership by HTC and Valve. Designed from the ground up for room-scale VR, Vive allows true-to-life interactions thanks to an adjustable headset displaying high-quality graphics, two wireless controllers with HD haptic feedback and 360˚ absolute motion tracking. Vive incorporates essential functionality from your phone and features a front facing camera that blends physical elements into the virtual world.
Last but not least, HTC announced tha the Vive Tracker is now available for developer purchase for $99 on Vive.com.
For developers, the Vive Tracker represents a quick way to add motion control for a host of VR experiences from bringing real world objects into VR, to building mixed reality videos, to implementing full body tracking.
Vive released an open source implementation of full body tracking using three Vive Trackers.
HTC also promised to release more accessories and VR experiences later in the year with the consumer launch of Vive Tracker.