HTC releases first feature-length VR film

TAIPEI (CNA) – Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp., which is already active in the global virtual reality (VR) market, announced today that its first feature-length VR film, 7 Miracles, is now available on the HTC VR platform as well as on Android devices via the Google Play store.

The VR adaptation of the seven miracles of Jesus Christ is based on the Gospel of John, according to Vive Studios, HTC’s VR content development and publishing initiative.

Producing images in 8K, the seven-part episodic feature has a run time of more than 70 minutes and premiered at the 2018 Raindance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the U.K. on Oct. 3 2018, the studio said.

“This [7 Miracle] celebrated story has been retold over and over, yet through VR, we’ve developed an experience that allows the audience to connect with this epic in a brand new way,” Chris Chin, Vice President & General Manager of Vive Studios said Thursday.

Available globally in English, 7 Miracles can now be purchased on Viveport, HTC VIVE’s global platform and app store for US$19.99, while Android owners can purchase the mobile version of the film for US$9.99 through the Google Play Store, according to the studio.

HTC has diversified into the global virtual reality market and is expected to ship 800,000 VR units in 2019, according to Taipei-based Topology Research Institute.

The diversification strategy was adopted in response to increasing competition in the global smartphone market. HTC unveiled its first VR headset – the HTC Vive – in 2015, with global sales rolled out in April 2016.

The Taiwanese smartphone brand has also extended its reach into other VR-related fields such as art, film, TV series and education.

By Jiang Ming-yan and Chung Yu-chen