The HTC Vive virtual reality headset debuted a year ago today, and HTC is marking the occasion with some new offers and deeper discounts. Among the offers, HTC is cutting the Vive’s price for new customers by $100, bringing the overall price down to $700 on April 5. But it’s only for one day.
HTC’s Vive Day celebration will include the launch of the Viveport Subscription with a one-month free trial. And customers who already bought a Vive will receive a free download of Vive Studios’ Arcade Saga, which otherwise costs $20.
The Viveport Subscription will give consumers access to five titles from a collection of hundreds of VR titles in exchange for a subscription fee of $7 a month. By comparison, Oculus recently cut the price of its Oculus Rift VR headset from $600 to $500, and a pair of touch controllers from $200 to $100. That means you can now get the Oculus Rift with Touch for $600.
“We’re surprised every day by what our fans and developers have brought to VIVE in its first year,” said Daniel O’ Brien, general manager for the U.S. HTC Vive, in a statement. “We’re astounded by the impact that VR is making in the home and in the enterprise, and we want to celebrate Vive’s first birthday by giving a bit back to our fans and by introducing Vive to more people.”
Subscribers will get unlimited access to the apps they choose, or they can rotate out their selection every month. All apps in the subscription service are also available for sale, letting customers try an app before they decide to buy.
For developers, the subscription model represents an additional revenue channel and a way to reach broader audiences. Viveport Subscription is launching with more than 50 titles available, including must-experience VR apps such as TheBlu, Richie’s Plank Experience, Everest VR, Fantastic Contraption, Mars Odyssey, and more.
“The marketplace for Vive apps has grown at a tremendous pace with more than 1,600 titles now available across different app stores and over 30 new apps launching daily,” said Rikard Steiber, president of Viveport at HTC Vive, in a statement. “The rapid growth of the app market is a win for VR overall yet it can present discoverability challenges that affect both customers and content creators. Introducing a subscription model to VR is a natural evolution of where this market is going, and as film, music, and TV have proven, it’s becoming the preferred way customers want to explore and experience entertainment content.”
The Arcade Saga game was developed by HTC’s internal studio 2Bears Studios. Arcade Saga has three distinct game types — Smash, Bowshot, and Fracture — that take inspiration from pinball, table tennis, and archery and add the physics and physicality of VR. Each game type has head-to-head online multiplayer and a campaign mode with 84 levels.