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BUSINESS, Consumer Products

HTC Spends Nearly $10M On A 15% Stake In Virtual Reality Platform WEVR

HTC is planning to release its extremely well-received virtual reality headset Vive[1] to consumers later this year, possibly in November[2]. In the meantime, the Taiwanese company is busy building out its VR ecosystem. HTC disclosed that it spent almost $10 million[3] for a 15 percent stake in WEVR[4], an open VR platform and community based in Los Angeles.

HTC’s investment in WEVR makes sense because it’s a chance for the company to build more content for Vive[5], which will be an important selling point for potential buyers.

In addition to enabling developers to create and publish VR content, WEVR also runs a grant program called OnWEVR[6] that awards virtual reality producers from $5,000 to $50,000 to support projects.

Vive represents a departure from HTC’s smartphone business. Its has struggled to compete with Apple, Samsung and (more recently) Xiaomi over the past two years, and its shares recently took a nosedive and hit a ten-year low[7] after its flagship phone, the M9, bombed because it did not differentiate enough from devices by competitors[8] (or, for that matter, its predecessors the M7 and M8).

While Vive has been extremely well-reviewed[9] and is expected to be a major rival to Facebook-owned Oculus Rift[10], HTC still has a lot of progress to make before its VR gambit succeeds.

For one thing, it needs to build enough quality content to convince people that a Vive is worth purchasing. Its price has not been disclosed but is expected to be higher than Oculus Rift[11]. In order for Vive to gain traction among a wide audience, it’s important for HTC to develop content that will appeal to non-gamers (HTC has talked to potential partners like HBO and Lion’s Gate[12]).

TechCrunch has contacted WEVR for more information on how they plan to use their capital from HTC.

Source : techcrunch.com

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