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Subscriptions Overtake Paid Downloads on HTC’s Viveport VR Service

Subscriptions for the Vive ( ) headset are getting more expensive: The company is raising the price of its subscription service by $2 for new members on March 22, to $8.99 per month. Existing subscribers, or anyone who subscribes before that date, will be able to use for $6.99 per month until the end of the year.

Users of HTC 's Viveport VR content store now download more titles via the company's subscription service than as paid downloads, revealed Viveport president Rikard Steiber during the company's VR press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Monday.

Publishers still make more money with paid downloads than with the company's subscription service, Steiber told Variety on the sidelines of the press event. However, he said that he'd expect subscriptions ultimately to become the biggest revenue driver as well.

HTC launched its Viveport VR subscription service in April of last year , and has been offering consumers the ability to download up to five titles per month for a flat fee of $7. The company splits this revenue 70/30 with developers, meaning that developers get $1 every time a consumer downloads one of their titles. Steiber didn't want to comment on the number of subscribers HTC has signed up for the service, but he said that it is generating real revenue. "It is starting to become meaningful for developers," he said.

HTC primarily used its CES event to unveil new hardware, including a Vive Pro headset with a higher display resolution and a wireless tracker that will allow consumers to ditch the cables that have until now tied their headsets to their PCs.

But the company also used the event to announce the launch of a new version of Vive Video, an app that allows VR users to watch 2D and 360 videos with their headset. For this latest version, HTC has teamed up with Vimeo to make the service's catalog available via Vive Video.

HTC also announced a Vive Video version for Google's Daydream VR platform Monday. "Vive Video wants to be a tool that works across platforms," Steiber told Variety . At this point, HTC is focused on adding content to the app, but Steiber said that it may ultimately add monetization options as well. "It has been challenging for many creators to monetize 360 video," he said. HTC may at some point add in-app payments, ads or subscriptions to help with monetization, Steiber said.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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