The HTC Vive is our pick for the best 1st-gen VR headset, but one thing it, the Oculus Rift and Gear VR all have in common today is that their content centers (mostly) around one thing: gaming. In an attempt to help highlight content in other areas, HTC is preparing to launch an app store focused exclusively on things that don't involve shooting zombies, bouncing across platforms or hacking away with a Level 5 sword.
SteamVR is the main hub for today's Vive content, and of course SteamVR, like Steam itself, is mostly about games. HTC hopes to expand the Vive's horizons a bit with the Viveport app store: The company is reaching out to content creators and developers to create VR experiences beyond gaming, in fields like entertainment, creativity tools, social media, and shopping apps.
HTC's announcement conjures images of Viveport stocking up on things like movie downloads and other video services, tools like Tiltbrush and perhaps other kinds of virtual travel and entertainment apps we haven't yet dreamed of. HTC is hoping this will be the primary source for these "new and diverse immersive experiences," while SteamVR remains remain the go-to source for gaming content.
Viveport will be accessible through Vive headsets, web browsers, and PC and mobile apps. Like other app stores, it will support revenue generation through pay-to-downloads, in-app-purchases, and subscriptions. A developer beta version will be launched soon, with the consumer version expected this fall.
The Vive is the first and (still) only SteamVR-based headset, but with the potential for other hardware makers eventually partnering with Valve to broaden the SteamVR ecosystem, perhaps Viveport is simultaneously a move by HTC to secure a long-term foothold in this burgeoning market.
You can read more in the HTC blog post below.