The PC and premium virtual reality business remains highly important to HTC, but the company notes many use cases for simple, cordless VR exists. This includes consumers who do not want a high-end gaming device, as well as classroom use, automobile showrooms, and many other settings where lower complexity is a big advantage.
Dan O’Brien, general manager, VIVE, Americas Region, explained the Wave SDK — or software developer kit — accomplishes three chief goals:
- It is open and free and supports multiple all-in-ones and mobile VR headsets.
- It provides a platform for developers to target the Wave SDK and have a common store with common feature functionality that caters to a wide variety of devices. The SDK provides features like an embedded web browser, video player, leaderboards and multi-input support. “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for developers to use one SDK and have a clear platform to work across multiple headsets, inputs and accessories,” O’Brien said.
- It provides easy monetisation for the developer. They can opt for payment models like pay for play, subscription, advertising or even simply free. HTC derives its revenue for hosting the store as a commission on sales, in line with other stores from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Steam and the rest, but unlike many other stores there is no cost to the developer to access or use the SDK in the first place, nor to publish through the store. Consequently, the barrier to entry for developers is extremely low.
HTC’s own portable all-in-one VR headset, the Vive Focus, is available in China and parts of the Asia Pacific and will be made available in Western markets later this year under a consumer SKU and a professional SKU. The professional pricing will offer end-user licensing for business use and an enhanced warranty.