HTC launches Viveport Arcade to open VR arcades across Asia
In a huge leap forward for making VR accessible to the masses, HTC is partnering with Leke VR to create thousands of VR arcades across China and Taiwan.
Although arcades may seem like a relic of the long forgotten past, HTC and Leke VR have plans to usher in a new age of accessibility for the VR industry by creating custom VR experiences that anyone can visit and enjoy. VR arcades might seem counterintuitive to the home VR theme of the most recent generation of headsets, but at this stage of the game it could be the perfect opportunity for virtual reality HMDs to bridge the somewhat frustrating price gap that’s keeping the bulk of users from diving into the new technology.
By giving users a chance to try before they buy, or otherwise giving them a reliable source of virtual reality experiences, it gives players a chance to gauge the tech and takes the risk vs. reward factor out of the equation. Here, users can casually try VR with friends, and jump in to try a game that they find interesting but might not be willing to purchase a headset for. Meanwhile, virtual reality steadily works its way in as a normal part of everyone's lives – similar to the way traditional arcades bridged the gap for early video game titles in the not-so-distant past.
Of course, these VR arcades are a little more than just a pretty face, and they offer an interesting twist on VR, even for dedicated users. They feature unique control schemes, cooperative areas, and chairs that allow you to physically control your locomotion in real life and in game. The whole thing looks like a carnival playground for developers and users alike to create a whole new world of VR to enjoy.
HTC is keen on bringing the Vive to as many users as possible as quickly as possible, and partnering up with Leke VR seems like a great way to get it done. Right now, Leke VR will provide the distribution platform and facilities through their growing network of arcades, and HTC's Viveport will focus on regulating and curating quality VR experiences as they make their way to customers.
CEO and founder of Leke VR Evan He stated, “The objective of this strategic partnership between Leke VR and Vive is to jointly promote the development of the VR content ecosystem. With this major boost, the VRLe offline content distribution platform will seek to continue enriching user experiences and cooperate with more VR content partners set on revolutionizing the VR experience.”
As it stands right now, these arcades are due to have thousands of locations open by the end of 2016 and 1000's more in 2017. Although you'll only find these particular setups in China and Taiwan proper, where arcade-style gaming is more likely to kick off in the short term. Of course, that could change if the concept gains popularity in other parts of the world.
What do you think? Are we about to see a revival of the arcade scene? Or will home VR systems outpace the arcade's place in video game evolution? Let us know in the comments below.