As an HTC user, there are two official shops available when you buy digital games online. For the purchase of 3D configurators there are other platforms like Sketchfab. Between Valve’s SteamVR platform and the recently released Viveport, users often wonder which solution is best for their needs. In this article, we want to get to the bottom of this question.
What is SteamVR?
SteamVR is Valve’s in-house Virtual Reality (VR) platform and serves as a central service for the distribution of digital games and multiplayer gaming. Building on the existing Steam platform that already dominates desktop PC distribution, SteamVR gives users access to hundreds of titles and other additional features within a single consistent ecosystem.
Originally a single point of contact for all HTC Vive content, SteamVR is now advertised almost exclusively for gaming purposes. With established social services based on PC gaming experience, SteamVR is the ultimate destination for VR games.
In addition to game distribution, SteamVR also offers a wide range of features for multiple desktop VR headsets. With integrated support for Oculus Rift and OSVR headsets, the platform offers a range of content for all VR users. You also get direct integration to access the social element of the Steam ecosystem.
Overall, SteamVR is a fully-fledged gaming platform with great support for various VR headsets. Although Valve was not originally developed for VR, it has made great strides in seamlessly integrating the experience into its ecosystem.
What is Viveport?
Viveport is a newer platform for most HTC Vive owners, after a worldwide release shortly after the headset’s debut. Since SteamVR was the central location for VR games, Viveport sees itself as a portal for interactive experiences.
Viveport is packed with content shortly after its launch, covering both educational content and traditional entertainment. This allows HTC to promote a wider range of work by independent developers without being buried in the entire Steam library.
However, while Viveport offers some of its own unique content, the platform has difficulty keeping pace with the ecosystem already established by Steam. While both SteamVR and Oculus offer a number of social features, HTC’s bare-bones alternative simply doesn’t achieve this depth. Over time, the platform has undergone some minor improvements, but Viveport simply doesn’t offer the functionality to be its only showcase for HTC Vive content.
What are the differences between SteamVR and Viveport content?
As already mentioned, Viveport was promoted as the indispensable marketplace for all VR experiences. SteamVR has focused on providing a more robust gaming experience and theoretically marks a wide gap in the content they offer. The implementation of this split has proved difficult as several titles have no clear place on both platforms. This can lead to a crossover between the two marketplaces, with some titles available on both services.
Prices may also vary, with some titles distributed between the two platforms at different prices. Both platforms operate independently of each other, with certain discounts and sales periods also being available exclusively at a particular store.
Viveport is also the main distribution channel for games in many Asian countries, adding a significant number of additional games to the store.
What solution should I use?
Although Viveport and SteamVR both offer HTC Vive content, the services are very different. Despite the fact that SteamVR has a wide range of features tailored for players, Viveport is a highly visible place for abstract experimentation for HTC Vive. Since both platforms are free for HTC Vive users, there is little reason not to take advantage of both services when searching for content. But if you only have to choose one, SteamVR’s depth still stands out from Viveport’s offerings.
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