VR: Should Subscription-Based VR Services Be More Widespread?


Services like NVIDIA's GeForce NOW and Sony's PlayStation Now have ushered in the advent of a streaming video game era, and HTC's Vive headset is now part of that club having launched the Viveport service back in April. Just yesterday HTC announced that Viveport was getting a crop of new games added to the library for users to have access to even more game titles. This new set of games included 75 titles in all, which is more than double what it used to be at launch. This is great for those with a Vive, and perhaps an Oculus Rift as the Viveport service has been rumored to make the jump. This also begs the question of whether or not other VR headsets should be doing the same thing.

At this point there isn't many other VR headset options that would fit into this category. The PlayStation VR could technically count as a headset that would benefit from similar content access, but this is meant for the PlayStation 4, which has PSNow, and there may eventually be some PSVR games available in the service. This question is more geared towards mobile VR headsets like the Gear VR and Google's Daydream View. Both headsets having a continually growing list of VR content to enjoy, but should either of those platforms offer consumers a subscription service like Viveport where access is opened up to a collection of games and apps to stream instead of having to buy them?


There's a reason why people say that content is king, because without the content, it doesn't matter how good a piece of hardware is. This leads us back to the reality that while more apps and games for Daydream and Gear VR are being added fairly often, the library of content is still low, and a subscription-based service might help to broaden that library a bit. If anything, it would least give users a way to test out certain games for longer than the return period that Google Play offers. While 2 hours is nice, a subscription service that offered every Daydream app and game that costs money with access to those titles as long as the subscription was in place, would allow people to use those games and apps for longer than 2 hours and provide a better opportunity to check things out before perhaps committing to a purchase.

On the flip side of things it would simply give people a way to play as many games and check out as many apps as they want, or it could do what HTC is doing with Viveport, and let people choose only a few different titles to check out each month. This could curb the amount of content that users check out in a 30-day time frame, which would keep some users from checking out everything under the sun for one low monthly price. Essentially it would help stop people from getting to play 10 to 15 games for the cost of what it would be to buy just one and doing all of that in a single month, then dropping the service. Limiting the amount of choices could serve to foster some sort of incentive to keep the service going, after all more titles would eventually be added and simply join what would hopefully already be a large list of options to choose from. Whether or not this is something that will ever happen is unclear, but it would certainly make for a nice improvement to the Daydream and Gear VR platforms. It's also worth noting that the report in which HTC is rumored to bring Viveport to the Oculus Rift also states that it's thinking about bringing it to other platforms, so perhaps we could see Viveport pop up on the standalone VR headset that's being made by the Vive team for the Daydream platform.

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Justin has written for Android Headlines since 2012 and currently adopts a Editor role with a specific focus on mobile gaming and game-streaming services. Prior to the move to Android Headlines Justin spent almost eight years working directly within the wireless industry. Contact him at [email protected]

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