HTC is offering $100 off its Vive virtual reality system on April 5th, celebrating the Vive’s first birthday and the launch of HTC’s subscription VR game service. On Wednesday, “new customers” can buy a Vive for $699, and any user can download a free copy of HTC’s internally made game Arcade Saga. People will also be able to sign up for Viveport Subscription, a new feature in its Viveport store, for $6.99 a month.
Viveport is HTC’s attempt to compete with Valve’s Steam storefront, which is most people’s default source for Vive games. It was rolled out globally in fall 2016, and it later launched a section for public arcades, which could get access to games while paying royalties to developers through Viveport. Viveport Subscription offers yet another business model. Each month, subscribers can pick five games or apps from a library, which HTC says includes around 50 titles right now. It’s not quite “Netflix for VR,” but since VR games often cost between $10 and $50, it could still be a good deal depending on the library. There’s also a one-month trial period, which people can sign up for here once Subscription launches.
This announcement comes not long after HTC launched its $99 Vive Tracker, a small disc that can let the Vive track almost any object, from toy guns to pet cats. It’s part of HTC’s growing independence from Vive co-creator Valve, which has started working with other companies on Vive-like headsets — like a prototype SteamVR-compatible design from LG. It’s also time to look back at what we thought of the HTC Vive at its commercial launch, exactly one year ago on April 5th.