From the start of Oculus’s crowdfunding campaign, the current run of virtual reality machines has put gaming first. But, when Facebook bought Oculus, we started hearing more talk about other potential uses for virtual reality — movies, virtual travel, shared meeting spaces, real estate, and the list goes on for a long time. Today, HTC embraced those other uses by opening Viveport, an app store dedicated to virtual reality apps for anything other than playing video games.
Games for the HTC Vive are mostly sold on Steam, HTC’s virtual reality business partner. Steam is (almost) only a video game distribution platform, so HTC needed another outlet for other uses. At launch, Viveport has a handful of exploration experiences (you know Mars is on there), along with apps that let users create their own virtual reality experiences. There are also shared VR spaces, including AltspaceVR, which has become the go-to virtual reality meeting place out of the gate. The store also has a handful of recommendations for games available on Steam.
To celebrate the grand opening, some of the Viveport apps are on sale for $1. The pickings are somewhat slim out of the gate, but Viveport probably has a lot of promise. The potential uses for VR in more boring settings like business, construction, and real estate haven’t been talked about as much, but they’re all surer bets than video games. While most of what’s on Viveport is consumer-facing for now, HTC could use it to attract those more buttoned-down users in the near future.