Even as its smartphone business continues to struggle, Taiwanese tech firm, HTC, is betting heavily on virtual reality to take it out of its financial troubles. The company launched its first-generation VR (Virtual Reality) headset, Vive, earlier this year and according to a senior executive, is currently planning on how to go about its follow-up. With a view towards becoming a major player in the sector, HTC has now pumped in $5 million in a Silicon Valley gaming company called Steel Wool Studios. This was announced earlier today through a press release by the Oakland, California-based tech company that’s made up of former employees of Pixar Animation Studios. While details about the deal is still sketchy, the investment does, once again, show how bullish HTC is on the emerging sector.
While the collaboration between HTC and Steel Wool is expected to grow after this investment, the two companies have reportedly been working together for a while now. The Silicon Valley tech startup has already released a VR title on the Vive, called ‘Quar: Battle for Gate 18’. A couple of other titles are also apparently in the pipeline, one of which, called ‘Mars Odyssey’, will reportedly launch on September 9th. However, the co-founders of Steel Wool are reportedly not locking themselves in with the SteamVR ecosystem. The company will go ahead with its plans to develop for competing platforms as well, including the Oculus Rift as well as Sony’s upcoming offering, PlayStation VR.
As far as HTC is concerned, the company recently spun off its VR unit into a separate subsidiary called HTC Vive Tech Corporation, which it says will be used “as a vehicle for developing strategic alliances to help build the global VR ecosystem”. The company has been looking to forge ahead with investments in the VR space of late, and the investment in Steel Wool Studios is only the latest in a series of partnerships and acquisitions that have defined the company’s stance on virtual reality. Among the initiatives taken by HTC recently is the setting up of a dedicated $100 million fund for its ‘Vive X’ VR accelerator that has already announced investments into at least 33 tech startups. Other investments are expected to follow in the near future.