When Razer announced its $5 million developer fund for indie virtual reality developers, we were rather excited about the potential of this investment to help drive the production of new VR games and experiences. But as it turns out, that was merely a drop in the bucket, though, as HTC has just announced a new VR development fund driven by a number of companies, with a total of $10 billion in available capital.
On top of splitting off its VR business into its own, separate Vive company, the Taiwanese phone maker has helped create a new fund, known as the Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance. It features 28 different VC firms, all planning to invest huge sums of money in the development of new virtual reality hardware and software (thanks CNet).
Apple and Intel backer Sequoia Capital is a major contributor, alongside the likes of Matrix Partners and 500 Startups. Together they and the other members have pledged to invest as much as $10 billion in virtual reality, something that will be very welcome for anyone concerned that VR may not receive the support this chicken/egg industry may need.
HTC itself pledged more than $100 million to help develop the VR industry in the past, though many have highlighted its falling smartphone industry relevance as a sign that HTC could struggle to meet such obligations in the future. However, now that it has spun off its Vive business and VR itself has received such strong backing, there is greater assurance that the Vive headset will be supported in the future.
That’s great news for those who bought the room-scale VR headset too. We named it our favorite VR headset when we tested it earlier this year and it has proven impressively popular, despite Oculus VR having a big lead and backing from Facebook’s vast coffers.
Although there are many other companies investing in virtual reality, none have been quite as forthright as HTC. Companies like Valve have declared their backing for a number of developers, only to become embroiled in concerns that it too may lock games to exclusivity contracts as Oculus has been doing.