Last week HTC Vive launched their much-heralded Viveport Infinity subscription service. Dubbed “The Netflix of VR”, Infinity removes Viveport’s previous subscription limit of 5 apps per month and instead allows users to download as many of the 600+ titles available whenever they want.
Working out at $99 a year, Infinity offers a convenient “all you can eat” option for schools looking to use VR. By way of comparison further down the page you will find my top 10 educational picks from Viveport Infinity. If you were to purchase all ten of these excellent apps directly, the total cost would we around $150. So for two thirds of that price, you can get all ten AND have access to hundreds more titles (e.g. all of the additional apps I listed after the main 10.) Viveport Infinity also boasts a dedicated area for immersive video content. Whilst some of these are entertainment-focused, there are already some great choices for educators – especially for the social studies and geography classroom.
So Infinity is offering a huge and ever-expanding library of content for a price tag that’s less than the cost for just a handful of apps. When schools are looking to support a variety of departments teaching a range of subjects, this really does seem like an excellent option. It’s also worth remembering that Infinity is not just for Vive users either since Viveport is open to Rift users and whilst official WMR support is incoming, I can confirm that the majority of titles I’ve tried with my Acer headset work just fine. You can also add on the Focus and Focus + as content for the Vive standalone headset is also included on Infinity as a part of the same subscription. I think it's fair to assume that the upcoming Vive Cosmos will also be supported.
Imagine if Apple offered schools something like this - all the apps you want from The App Store for a set fee. Of course schools using iPads will likely be using Apple School Manager and the Volume Purchase Plan (which allows organisations to download apps in bulk at a 50% discount as long as the volume if more than 20) but for many schools a single subscription cost would be preferable if not from a financial perspective then at least from a logistical one (app purchase orders are a particular headache for our staff due to the number of steps in the process.) How would the Viveport Infinity service would work for a school looking to use multiple VR headsets though? Would they need a separate account/subscription for each device? I reached out to Rikard Steiber (President of Viveport) for clarification on this and he told me that later this year Vive would be looking at special pricing for schools which is excellent news.
But what about Steam? Steam does have a wide range of experiences and yes, some are not available in Viveport so you’d have to get them from there. Accessing Steam can be problematic for some schools though as it is still essentially a gaming platform. I know several educators who have had a nightmare trying to get Steam content past school firewalls and other internal security systems. Paired with that you have the fact that Steam has a lot more inappropriate content on it, making Viveport a more agreeable and “professional” option for educational institutions (and businesses).
There are over 100 educational titles already available through Viveport Infinity. Here are my picks for the 10 essential education downloads to get schools started on their VR journey:
1/ Tilt Brush
The original reason I bought my first Vive and still one of the greatest experiences you can have using a VR headset. Simply put, this should be in EVERY school.
Mindmapping comes to VR. Students can brainstorm in full 3D and conceptualise like never before. Noda has been one of my favourite educational VR apps since 2017.
3/ VR Frog Dissection
Recent recipient of the VDA Education Award for 2019, Victory VR’s excellent frog dissection experience is interactive, educational and super fun too.
4/ Number Hunt
Mental maths meets first person shooter in this fabulous game for up to four players. Perhaps the most under-rated educational app of 2018 and definitely one you should take a look at.
5/ Operation Apex
The awesome Curiscope team outdid themselves with this shark themed app which has a strong backbone of marine ecology.
6/ 3D Organon VR Anatomy
Explore human anatomy by pulling it to pieces. This app has amazing depth and is a richly rewarding science experience. Note that this is the FULL version of this experience not the free lite one!
7/ Amazon Odyssey
This is still probably my favourite app from Vive Studios. A wondeful journey into the Amazon Rainforest where students learn about its various inhabitants and document their discovery using a camera tool.
8/ Hololab Champions
Another award-winning app and another unique VR experience that gamifies the chemistry classroom by letting students to complete various lab-based challenges in a gameshow style format.
9/ Apollo 11
Whilst the recent HD update of this app is currently not available as a part of Infinity, the original is still a fantastic immersive experience and one that students will not forget. The authenticity is ramped up thanks to the use of original audio from the Apollo mission.
Only available on Viveport this is a wonderful experience that lets you embody a tree and go from seed to sapling to the top of the rainforest canopy. The gut-punch finale works so well because of how beautiful the proceeding experience is.
I want to throw a few honourable mentions out too as there are a lot of great educational apps on Viveport that are also part of Infinity, namely - Athenian Acropolis, Gravity Sketch VR, The Secret of Puffin Cove, MakeVR, Overview, Star Chart, Swedish Art Gallery, AnimVR, Tvori and Masterpiece VR. It also bears mentioning that schools have access to a lot of excellent free applications via Viveport and Steam such as Blocks by Google, Sharecare VR, Within, Mindshow and Engage.
Plus you best go grab Richie’s Plank Experience too as that’s still the most fun you’ll have showing new teachers how powerful VR can be!
To find out more about Viveport Infinity, head to www.viveport.com/infinity
Oh and yes, the title of the article is an Avengers pun.
It was either that or “To Infinity and Beyond”