HTC is working on a customized version of Mozilla Hubs with a persistent social layer, Protocol reports.
HTC already has a business-focused social VR platform called Vive Sync, but the report says it’s now working on a consumer platform called Viveport Verse.
Protocol also claims to have a source backing up recent speculation that HTC will soon announce Vive Flow, a “lightweight consumer VR headset” that will be “primarily positioned as a media consumption device”. That same source claims Flow will have positional tracking but won’t ship with controllers, and will use a chip less powerful than Quest 2’s.
Rather than starting its metaverse ambitions from scratch, HTC is apparently building on Mozilla’s open source Hubs platform. Hubs runs on WebXR, so users can access it on any platform and don’t need to install or update an app.
A now-deleted unlisted HTC webpage pitched Viveport Verse as letting users “meet people around the world” and “explore a variety of events, from virtual tourism and exhibitions to sports events and festivals”. It also listed potential future features including NFT integration and user generated content.
The report says HTC is working with open-source distributed social network Mastodon to experiment with adding “a persistent social layer” to Verse, but notes it’s unclear how exactly that would work.
It sounds like Viveport Verse is still early in development, but it could be designed to take on Facebook’s Horizon Worlds. Horizon was first slated for a 2020 launch but still today remains an invite-only beta, with Facebook recently announcing a $10 million fund for creators to build content in it.