If you’ve been keeping up on tech news from Mobile World Congress this week, there’s a good chance you may have either heard about or seen HTC’s new virtual reality headset that they’re partnering with Valve to make. This would be yet one more device being thrust into the world from HTC that takes them just a little further away from being just a mobile device manufacturer and transitioning them into becoming a company that makes and sells products of a varied scope, which includes other devices like the RE Camera,(HTC’s action camera device)and the recently announced HTC Petra, a fitness tracker aimed at athletes and fitness enthusiasts in partnership with Under Armour.
HTC has for the longest time just made mobile PDA’s and smartphones, and a few tablets here and there. So why start venturing out into the unknown now, and specifically, why with a VR headset? HTC America President Jason Mackenzie this week talked about the reasons for HTC getting into business with Valve and proceeding to develop and produce a VR headset, which at its most broad, is because HTC wants to innovate and is “always looking for the next opportunity and what’s new.” HTC’s Jason Mackenzie saw this with VR he states, after he took his first demo and tried VR for himself. As for why HTC decided to partner with Valve, Mackenzie says that it’s because they feel gaming is what’s going to interest people in virtual reality from the start, and Valve is probably one of the biggest names in gaming with a huge network and community of users, so he says that Valve was a natural fit.
At first glance it might seem like HTC’s Vive headset(that’s the name for those who were unaware)is just like any other consumer ready VR headset that’s already on the market,(like the Gear VR for example)but Mackenzie explains that the Vive will be different in that their working with Valve to develop the headset to allow for 360 degree interaction with the 3D world users experience when wearing Vive, and he states that they call this 360 room scale. The idea is to make it so that users can wear the HTC Vive while playing a game and have the ability to walk around and interact with objects that may be in the room.
It might seem odd for HTC to jump in with both feet into a market that they haven’t ever really been a part of, which is virtual reality and gaming, but gaming is likely to be a driving influence for people being interested in VR, and Valve’s steam network which Mackenzie states is going to be their primary target for the HTC Vive, is vast, with many devoted gamers who come back to the platform time after time after time to grab more games. Which is something they took into consideration. He also mentions that HTC will be working with Valve and some of Valve’s development partners to create games and apps for the platform. HTC’s Vive may look a little weird right now, but there’s still a real possibility it will come out looking more refined and slightly different once it’s ready for launch. Needless to say, HTC seems very heavily invested and excited about the prospect of virtual reality and are going at this project head on.