When it comes to demoing the latest in virtual reality, access and affordability can be a barrier for many looking to experience the range of content already available. And that’s where location-based VR becomes more important than ever.
If there’s one place that’s leading the charge to make VR accessible to consumers — it’s China.
VR in China is steadily going mainstream, thanks to hundreds of dedicated arcades and cafes popping up in major cities across the country. Most of these VR cafes charge visitors a fee to demo VR content for a set amount of time, much like you would expect from a more traditional arcade or internet cafe.
By eliminating the need for consumers to shell out hundreds of dollars to buy their own hardware and gaming PCs, it’s clear why location-based VR retail is gaining in popularity and helping build China into a massive VR market that’s projected to be worth $8.5 billion in just four years.
HTC is poised to best capitalize on the opportunity, with many of the VR arcades and cafes already open for business using their Vive VR system to power experiences.
But the Taiwanese consumer electronics company is not stopping there — having just opened their first Vive branded VR cafe in Shenzhen, China Friday.
HTC’s push to open their first branded VR cafe in China gives them valuable consumer feedback on VR experiences and creates a space to further test their Viveport Arcade platform in the market.
HTC revealed Viveport Arcade on Monday as a new VR content management and sales platform customized for offline experience centers. Designed for centers like VR cafes and arcades, Viveport Arcade will speed up the process for VR arcade operators to legally acquire VR content, as well as help solve the problem of accurately tracking and sharing revenue split for both operators and developers.
Pilot programs for Viveport Arcade have already been deployed in a number of locations in the past months and will soon expand to hundreds of gaming centers, amusement parks and karaoke bars across China. After proving out the VR cafe model in China, HTC will look to expand globally.
For now, this first Vive cafe is a good start — and this will definitely be our first stop when we visit Shenzhen.