Yeah, you read the headline right, HTC is building its own take on the metaverse, called the Viverse.
If you’ve been blissfully living under a rock, the metaverse is a concept broadly meaning the intersection of web-based services in a readily accessible form. Most of the time people summarise this as “Ready Player One”, but most of the hype around the metaverse exists in the NFT and crypto space.
Well, HTC, who you might know previously as a phone maker, wants to build its own version of the metaverse (The Viverse). This kind of makes sense when you consider that HTC’s recent tech has been very metaverse-adjacent, in particular a large range of VR headsets (broadly known as the HTC Vive) and a blockchain phone.
But again, what the heck is the Viverse? Is this HTC trying to do something similar to Meta (the former Facebook) with the metaverse? Yeah, pretty much, except it seems to be a bit more realised.
The Viverse, unlike a lot of metaverse projects, seems to want to lean on already existing products. Without revealing too much, HTC brought up that it works with hundreds of partners in creating an open ecosystem, like VRChat (my personal favourite VR app), Beatday, Engage, the Museum of Other Realities and HTC’s own Vivesync. Supposedly, the Viverse is an open ecosystem that’ll work with these companies as partners.
Just to mention, VRChat is probably the most popular application listed above as a partner to HTC’s VR stuff – and that the company doesn’t really want to meddle with NFTs or blockchain.
“Viverse is the next chapter of our Vive Reality vision. Vive is our brand and means ‘life’, and Verse refers to the chapters of life. Viverse provides seamless experiences, reachable on any device, anywhere, and is enabled by the virtual and augmented reality, high-speed connectivity, AI, and blockchain technologies that HTC has invested in for several years,” says Cher Wang, the co-founder and chairwoman at HTC.
“We invite partners to join us on his fantastic journey to the internet of presence.”
So how will the Viverse work? Well, it’s mostly about bringing these applications together in a readily accessible space. A demo was shown at Mobile World Congress 2022 earlier this week, demonstrating that users could enter through a browser on a multitude of devices, like phones and PCs.
The demo also demonstrated a Vive avatar tool, letting you bind an avatar to a device and take it to different applications. This functionality was shown through Vive Sync and Engage.
Additionally, HTC announced a new Vive headset at MWC 2022 – the HTC Vive Flow, a headset that supports a crypto wallet (letting you store and manage digital assets). It’s a lightweight headset intended for portable use, priced at $749.
No word yet on when HTC’s Viverse application will be accessible, but you can access any of the earlier mentioned applications individually right now (just know that some require a VR headset).