HTC shows off Vive virtual reality platform with Dota 2 Secret Shop

Struggling Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has expanded on its virtual reality partnership with gaming company Valve by unveiling a VR take on a hugely popular computer game.

HTC is showcasing its Vive VR platform at the Gamecom trade show in Germany and is featuring demos from a number of developers, including a virtual shipwreck, a cooking simulator and an art tool that enables users to pain all around them.

The headline-grabber, however, was the demo developed in partnership with Valve, based on its massively successful Dota 2 game. The demo featured an in-game feature called The Secret Shop, which is one of the places players can spend game currency on items such as weapons, magic, etc. The Vive platform is receiving positive reviews and VR could prove an important avenue of diversification for HTC away from an increasingly challenging smartphone market.

Dota 2 is a realtime strategy game in which a player controls a character within a team of five which competes against another team of five. In common with many RTS games a major feature is improving the character’s capabilities over the course of a game, which typically lasts 30-60 minutes. In-game shops are part of this process and in this case offer the opportunity for HTC to be associated with Dota 2 without having to move the whole game to VR

Perhaps not coincidentally the Dota 2 annual tournament kicked off this week. To put the scope of the game into perspective for those new to it, the prize pool is $18 million at The International this year and Dota 2 dominates the e-sports earnings list. The game is owned by Valve, which developed it from a user mod of Warcraft 3 and offers it for free via its Steam platform. It’s not an MMO like World of Warcraft, but is nonetheless one of the most played computer games today.

In other HTC news its flagship One M9 smartphone is now supporting EE’s wifi calling service in the UK.  “We’re proud to bring this new service to HTC One M9 customers, helping them to stay connected wherever they are,” said Peter Frølund, HTC General Manager UK and Ireland.

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