Taiwanese tech giant HTC announced the winners of the first iteration of the Viveport Developer Awards (VDAs) and revealed some details about its upcoming virtual reality (VR) panel at the next Game Developers Conference (GDC) that's scheduled to take place in San Francisco on Monday. The VDAs were established to promote talented developers of VR content who work on more types of products than just games. The Taiwanese company secured a $500,000 prize pool for the winners which were chosen across five categories, including Connect, Create, Experience and Explore, all of which are also featured on the Viveport digital store. The final category is called Community and as its name suggests, its winner is chosen based on the votes from the VR community and not HTC's expert panel.
Cloudlands: VR Minigolf developed by Futuretown won the first place in the Connect category, while Northway Games' Fantastic Contraption was chosen as the best game in the Create category. The Experience award was given to Allumette, an emotional VR story developed by Penrose Studios, while the Explore one was awarded to Immersive VR Education and its creation Apollo 11 VR. Finally, this year's community choice was A Chair in a Room: Greenwater, a survival horror experience developed by Wolf & Wood Interactive. Apart from receiving cash prizes, Northway Games, Futuretown, and Penrose Studios will all join the HTC Vive team during its upcoming GDC panel, the company announced.
HTC's upcoming panel will be focused on the challenges of building a VR ecosystem, the company's surprising decision to turn to arcades to promote VR technology, and some previous success stories from developers who worked on HTC Vive games and experiences. The firm's GDC panel can be interpreted as an extension of HTC's VR strategy that saw the company make an early jump into this emerging technology that's still some years away from mainstream adoption, provided it doesn't end up being a fad. The Taiwanese tech giant is currently troubled by the poor financial performance of its mobile division and its executives have previously revealed how the company is hoping its VR unit will help it bounce back and recoup some of its recent losses.