HTC Vive inks agreement for Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ as it expands market

HTC also signed agreements with China’s largest home appliance retailer and a publishing company

A man tests out HTC Vive

A man tests out HTC Vive (By CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- HTC Vive (宏達電) and Warner Bros. Studios signed a strategic cooperation agreement on Monday with China’s largest home appliance retailer Gome (國美) through which HTC Vive will be the exclusive virtual reality (VR) partner for Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” and the two companies will promote the film and VR products via Gome’s sales channels in China.

Vive will produce VR content related to the film that will be available through Viveport, which will distribute the content globally to VR in-home platforms. “Ready Player One” content will also be available on Vive’s Viveport Arcade platform for location-based entertainment, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Through its agreement with Gome, HTC Vive will be able to enter China’s cinemas with its VR technology for “Ready Player One” and future films, according to cnYES.

In addition, Vivepaper, HTC’s augmented-VR app that lets Vive users check out interactive VR content from publishers, signed an agreement on the same day with China-based Qingdao Publishing Group (青島出版社) to establish a VR reading and innovative education platform. The two sides expect to release educational content that will be distributed through schools, libraries and Xinhua Bookstores in China.

HTC Vive China President Alvin Wang Graylin (汪叢青) said the company plans to focus on entertainment, education and business applications this year. He added that with the entertainment industry embracing VR technology, the sector should see greater public adoption of the technology. As the VR industry needs more diverse revenue streams and distribution channels, the agreements HTC Vive has entered into will help stabilize the company’s market.

Graylin said in order to meet the diverse needs of entertainment, business and education markets, especially in China, HTC launched the Vive GE (Group Edition) commercial multi-person set that includes 10 sets of Vive BE commercial version headsets and two Lighthouses (tracking tech), priced at RMB49,999 (NT$219,000), which is intended for cinemas, recreational venues and schools.

The deals with Gome and Qingdao Publishing were signed in Shenzhen, China, at HTC's Vive Ecosystem Conference (VEC2017), but further details were not released. At the meeting, HTC and the Shenzhen Municipal Government announced they would jointly establish a Virtual Reality Research Institute in the city.

The HTC Vive is already available in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, with an expansion to Thailand planned for the second quarter of this year. HTC expects VR technology in Thailand to grow rapidly as the country’s online game market has doubled each year recently, an Apple Daily report noted.