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HTC Continues to Push VR to the Mainstream

Nikitas Glykas, the President of HTC Middle East and Africa.

Nikitas Glykas, the President of HTC Middle East and Africa, speaks to Review Central about the future of VR tech

Nikitas Glykas, the President of HTC Middle East and Africa.

2016 was a pivotal year for VR. What sort of key market trends have you seen in the VR space since then?
Virtual reality (VR) is no longer limited to the gaming world. Apart from premium gaming and entertainment content, we have also seen more applications in the enterprise space, including those in automotive, healthcare, cultural, education and logistics industries, with partners seeing the benefits of increased support in the coming years. Its uses in businesses are undeniable as a technology independent from smartphones and computers.

Many technology observers expect that virtual reality technologies will make radical changes to the way business sectors operate. In our case, this has been driven by continued improvements to the core HTC hardware, by introducing Viveport—the industry’s first VR subscription service—and by investing in new developer platforms.

HTC is now at the forefront of the push to take VR to the mainstream. This year has been a great one for HTC Vive as the business has diversified regionally and around the world.

Is there enough content for VR to be adopted in a massive way?
We’re seeing huge investment in VR content today both in terms of gaming and entertainment as well as enterprise-specific applications. We want to drive development of VR content that continues to push the boundaries on the kind of experiences VR can deliver.

HTC has been funding and partnering with VR developers since before the launch of the HTC Vive. According to a recent report from UBM, more developers are building experiences for Vive than ever before, and Vive was chosen as developers’ top target when creating content.  With more than 3,600 titles available across Steam and Viveport and with new AAA content arriving soon like Fallout4 and Doom, Vive will continue to be the platform of choice for developers and consumers alike.

In addition, Viveport Subscription allows consumers to choose from over 250 pieces of content from a highly-curated offering, giving consumers another opportunity to discover the best VR content available.

Apart from gaming, which are the other industry verticals wherein VR tech can be properly implemented?
Based on the volume of support from the developer community – from major studios to indie developers, as well as the extensive partners currently working with Vive – 2017 is a year of tremendous growth for VR.

There is an incredible amount of interest in VR across every sector from entertainment, education, gaming, retail, medical, engineering, enterprise and many more. The hardware is there, the platform is there, the content is there, and the next 6 – 12 months will be incredibly exciting for VR.

Many startups today are working on VR projects that focus on bringing the goodness of the technology right to the customer’s door step. Is your company working with such startups to elevate the adoption of VR tech?
Vive X is HTC’s $100 million global VR accelerator – the first accelerator to focus solely on VR companies. It is designed to help advance innovation in VR and support the whole ecosystem. In the first batch, we have invested in more than 30 companies across San Francisco, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Taipei and are seeing amazing results.

Vive X is really creating the next wave of content, services, platforms and hardware for the VR ecosystem. While there are many examples of success for Vive X, one example is TPCast, who created a tether-less adaptor for HTC Vive allowing users to experience Vive without being tethered to the PC.

This year we also announced that, in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, we are starting a $10 million program, VR for Impact, dedicated to showing how VR can lead to positive impact and change. We know that VR provides a tremendous opportunity to develop and share ideas in impactful ways that can lead to change, and through VR for Impact, we will fund and support content and technologies that create the most powerful experiences to transform our world.

A couple of years ago, there were only two major VR headset suppliers – Oculus and HTC Vive. Today many brands have joined the bandwagon – Taobao, Baofeng, LeTV, ZTE, Huawei, and so on. What does that mean for customers and the industry in general?
We believe that competition overall is a positive thing for the consumer. Across the VR ecosystem, competition is a driver of innovation. We feel very confident that within this ecosystem HTC will continue to be a market leader in terms of room-scale experiences, content creation, and building a profitable VR ecosystem for everyone–developers, creative agencies, enterprises and hardware vendors.

What according to you is next for VR?
We believe that VR is a transformative technology that will revolutionize entire industries, one that will leave a lasting impact for many future generations to come. In order to achieve that dream, we are working tirelessly to ensure that the VR startups today get the resources they need, so that they can grow into the industry titans of tomorrow.

HTC Vive is also developing its own ecosystem, and we’re seeing amazing momentum with more and more global brands aligning to Vive and our beliefs in the ultimate power of VR.

For example, HTC Vive has partnered with the biggest tech giants across the globe:

  1. Google (stand-alone product)
  2. Intel (partnership to bring wireless accessory to Vive using WiGig technology)
  3. Apple (Apple supporting SteamVR and Vive with external GPU)
  4. Enterprise applications being used by VW Group, UPS, GM, Salesforce and more.

Our technology is continuing to grow with Vive Tracker and the Deluxe Audio Strap (DAS), which is rewriting the rules of traditional businesses and motion tracking within the VR realm.

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