Devs can now apply for a free HTC Vive VR headset

Vive, HTC's VR headset. Photo: HTC

Vive, HTC’s VR headset. Photo: HTC

If you’re planning to develop games and apps for HTC’s upcoming Vive virtual reality headset, you could be eligible to get one absolutely free. The Taiwanese company is giving away developers kits to selected software makers, and you can apply for yours right now.

As expected, Valve, HTC’s partner for Vive, has setup a new webpage that allows developers to submit their interest in the device ahead of its launch “at a later date this year.”

Those who are eligible will receive a kit — which includes the Vive headset with two displays, two controllers, and a base station for tracking — free of charge. The kits will begin shipping this spring and continue to be available throughout the summer.

To apply for Vive, you’ll need to submit a company name, tell Valve exactly how big your development team is, provide a URL, and provide a detailed description of the software you intend to build for the device.

Valve will then access each application to determine who is eligible. The company told Ars Technica that “all interested developers, big and small,” can apply and will be considered.

“Our goal is to support as many VR content creators as possible and, to that end, we will be distributing dev kits continually, with new units going out every couple weeks,” Valve said in its announcement. “However, supplies will be limited.”

The program aims to encourage Vive development, ensuring there is plenty of content for potential adopters to enjoy when it goes on sale later this year. A decent catalog of apps and games could give Vive an advantage over rival VR headsets.

We expect to see a number of those this year, including Sony’s long-awaited Project Morpheus, and the Oculus Rift, which, incidentally, comes at a price of $300 to $350 for developers who are interesting in building for it.