Taiwanese electronics firm HTC is best known in the game industry for producing (in concert with Valve) the HTC Vive VR headset, and now the company is digging in with the launch of its own VR dev division: Vive Studios.
Notably, HTC says the unit will work much like the first-party development/publishing units maintained by console manufacturers like Sony and Microsoft. This brings HTC well in line with competitor Oculus, which has now evolved beyond being a headset manufacturer to behave like a bona fide platform holder.
Like Oculus, HTC says it plans to both develop Vive games/experiences internally and cut deals with third-party studios to get their work on the Vive, potentially opening up new funding opportunities for VR devs.
"For external developers, Vive Studios is now a partner they can turn to for development funding as well as publishing and marketing support on VR content," reads an excerpt of a Vive Studios press release sent out by HTC today. "Vive Studios is actively creating content across key categories for VR including games, education, cinematic, design, social, real-estate and sports, as well as tools and applications that can revolutionize areas such as media, retail, healthcare, and location-based entertainment centers and arcades."
That's especially topical given the ongoing furor around funding and exclusivity deals (timed or otherwise) in VR game dev, which Oculus representatives have defended as being necessary for the growth of the VR industry. Meanwhile, Valve frontman Gabe Newell has said Valve is interested in funding VR developers but won't ask them to make their games Vive-exclusive.
It remains to be seen what sort of deals Vive Studios will make with external devs. It's already released its debut first-party title, Arcade Saga (pictured), a $30 Vive game developed by internal team 2 Bears Studios.