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Viveport Development Awards Offers Cash Prizes For VR

HTC is giving away $500,000 in prizes to get developers to develop for Viveport.

How do you attract developers to a fledgling virtual reality content delivery service for a VR headset that already has a shopping platform? With half a million dollars in cash and prizes, of course! Today, HTC announced the Viveport Development Awards: a contest with a $500,000 prize pool designed to attract developers the HTC‘s global VR app store.

HTC hopes that the competition will inspire programmers and designers to explore the world of VR development. Today’s announcement of the Global Viveport Development Awards follows up on HTC’s recent launch of Viveport, an online store and showcase for HTC Vive applications. Viveport serves as an alternative to Valve’s Steam, which serves as the current mainstream option for VR content. The Viveport however unlike Steam is set to host largely non-gaming content.

HTC Viveport Virtual Reality Development Awards

The Viveport store will largely focus on hosting non-gaming verticals. Including “education, design, art, social, video, music, sports, health, fashion, travel, news, shopping, creativity tools, and more. HTC will take a standard 70/30 app store revenue split with developers, potentially opening themselves up to some major profits. The store will also support in-app purchases and subscriptions alongside a more standard pay-to-download model.

HTC says the Viveport store will be available as web browsers, the PC app as well as on mobile. HTC has previously not shown off many pursuits in the mobile VR space, which is perhaps a bit ironic given its former status as a major leader in the mobile space.

HTC Gear VR Virtual Reality

HTC is now offering additional incentive to distribute their creations through Viveport with its Development Awards. Which will honor winning apps with prominent store placement and advertising, in addition to its promised slate of cash prizes. Developers are eligible to win awards across multiple Viveport categories, including Discover, Create, Connect, Watch, and Shop. Each individual category has its own standards and prerequisites, and the best apps from each will enter a final round for a shot at HTC’s prize pool.

HTC notes that it will select five finalists from each Viveport category “based on customer engagement and the VR experience.” Nominees will then go on to a final round of competition where an HTC-selected jury will pick the contest’s winners in early 2017.

“I am thrilled to see how Viveport is passionate about creating success for developers,” said Visionary VR co-founder Gil Baron. “The Viveport Developer Awards is an excellent opportunity for developers like us to feel appreciated, and benefit from the global marketing and promotion.”

Contestants can submit their VR creations via Viveport’s online community, and new developers can sign up for Viveport here.

HTC Vive Job Simulator VR Virtual Reality Games

Viveport’s Development Awards is open to any developer that submits an app to the platform from today, and five finalists each will be selected for each category. From there, a panel of judges will pick the grand prize winners — though HTC says all of the final nominees will be awarded prizes.

With any luck, the awards program will help Viveport build a strong library for the consumer launch later this year. If not? Well, at least we’ll always have Steam.