HTC is planning to open more Viveport Arcades in the United States along with select regions such as Europe, China and Taiwan. The company's goal is to open thousands of such locations around the world before 2017 ends.
To those not in the loop, Viveport Arcade can be considered a form of internet cafe but one that exclusively caters to virtual reality. HTC calls the concept a location-based VR entertainment platform and is being built to address the demand of those who cannot afford to purchase their own VR setup.
To put this in context, the HTC Vive alone already costs $799 and the high-end computing rig that will satisfy the system requirements will most assuredly expand that amount further.
Viveport VR locations could allow the public to experience VR without purchasing a VR headset. HTC is aiming to partner with arcades, internet cafes, theaters and shopping malls. The company has also opened a VR theme park last week called Viveland in Taipei.
Developing VR Content
With the Viveport Arcade, HTC is leveraging its VR platform by creating ways to reach a broader market. If successful, it could lead to mass adoption, making it extremely viable for developers to publish VR games and content. The initiative is a clever move on the part of the Taiwan-based company since it reinforces the favorable attitude among developers toward the Vive VR technology.
In a recent study, 49 percent of VR developers are found to be working on projects for the HTC Vive as opposed to the 43 percent claimed by the Oculus ecosystem. Along with HTC's latest VR-related initiatives, these figures seemed ominous for competitors such as the Sony PlayStation VR.
To further push the Viveport Arcade initiative, HTC has already began developing its Viveport M platform, which will serve as a hub for VR-centered apps and 360° content.
"Viveport Arcade will represent a more than $100 million market opportunity for VR developers in the next two years," an upbeat Rikard Steiber, president of Viveport, said in a press release. "We believe this will be a cornerstone in democratizing access to high-end virtual reality and turning curious consumers into longtime fans."
The Viveport Arcade announcement also included the unveiling of titles that are being touted as perfect for arcades. These include the zombie survival game called The Brookhaven Experiment and the VR climbing simulation Everest VR.
The string of Viveport Arcade installations are expected to open in the United States at the end of this year. It is not yet clear if HTC will be forging partnership agreements with internet cafes, a strategy it has pursued in China.
The company will be explaining about the Viveport Arcade, including its monetization scheme, by way of a keynote presentation at the Virtual Reality Developers Conference in San Francisco, which opened Nov. 2.