Taiwanese phone maker HTC made headlines when it announced that it was partnering with PC game and software giant Valve to make the Vive virtual reality headset, and now after its launch the Vive is seeing great success, so much so that HTC wants to turn its virtual reality headset business and the VR ecosystem that goes along with it into a subsidiary company named the HTC Vive Tech Corporation. While retaining full control of its new subsidiary, HTC will use the new company as a vehicle to seal new contracts with game developers and other companies engaged in the business of virtual reality. HTC has reportedly confirmed that it has established a wholly-owned subsidiary for the Vive, and will be using that “as a vehicle for developing strategic alliances to help build the global VR ecosystem,” according to a spokesperson from HTC. This confirms previous reports on the fact that it will spin off the HTC Vive business into an independent subsidiary.
It’s not that HTC has been struggling to ink new contracts for the Vive VR project until now. Earlier this month, HTC announced a partnership with renowned game developer and publisher Bethesda Softworks, thus paving the way for the popular Fallout 4 to be modified into a virtual reality game that can be played on the Vive VR headset in 2017. Given that Fallout 4 had grossed over $750 million in sales in the first 24 hours of its release, HTC is hoping to capitalize on its popularity to increase sales of the Vive headset, sales of which are expected to touch 400,000 units by the end of this year. If part of the reason for spinning off the business is to attract even more contracts and game developers, the creation of the new subsidiary dealing exclusively with the VR ecosystem may lure in other Bethesda titles like Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to be curated into virtual reality games in the future.
HTC has, however, taken a grim view on VR gaming titles being snapped up as exclusives by various console-owners like Bloodborne on the Sony PlayStation 4, and Titanfall on the Microsoft Xbox One. Joel Breton, the Vice President of HTC’s VR content, said that exclusive titles not only lock users out of brilliant content, but also do not do justice to developers and publishers by blocking out their titles from a good portion of the customer base. By basically implying that all VR gaming titles should be available on all consoles, he also said that gaming will be eventually eclipsed by other uses of VR, which include enterprise usage, medical, educational, live video, cinematic experiences and others. In the meantime, HTC will have to live with and compete in the present environment of exclusive titles and will have to seal new partnerships with more prominent game developers to make the Vive VR headset a more attractive proposition to virtual reality gamers in the near future.