HTC launches 'VR for Impact' program

2017/01/21 18:11:38
HTC launches 'VR for Impact' program

Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturer HTC Corp. (宏達電), which is keen to diversify its product line by exploring the virtual reality business, has launched a "VR for Impact" program to fund the development of VR content and technologies.

In a statement, HTC said it will invest US$10 million in the VR program, which is expected to create a positive impact and change, in a bid to support the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

According to HTC, The U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call for action to end poverty, protect the Earth, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

HTC, which has launched its first VR headset -- the HTC Vive --, said VR's ability to immerse people into an experience is unmatched, and that VR can drive the world to act on global issues.

The Vive is one of HTC's gambits to diversify from its core smartphone market, in the hope of generating a new revenue stream to turn around its money-losing business.

Jointly developed by HTC and U.S. video game supplier Valve, the HTC Vive was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress show in March 2015 and officially went on sale worldwide in 2016.

Through the launch of the VR for Impact program, HTC is calling for ideas about social change caused by VR technology on its website and the first winning projects will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, the Taiwanese firm said.

"The potential for Virtual Reality to help us learn, understand, and transform the world is limitless. VR for Impact is a challenge to the VR community and content developers across the globe to help drive awareness and solve the biggest challenges of mankind," HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅) said in a statement.

"HTC Vive will fund the best ideas using Virtual Reality that truly drive awareness and positive change in our world. We encourage all players in the VR eco-system to join, as only together can we drive real impact," Wang added.

Gabo Arora, Creator of the U.N.'s VR Initiative and Creative Advisor to the World Food Programme, said that the HTC Vive's room-scale VR capability can serve as a powerful tool for immersive storytelling, education and training, which is expected to empower more people to affect global change and give voices to the vulnerable.

(By Esme Jiang and Frances Huang)
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