Virtual reality gaming can be quite expensive, that’s why HTC is trying to make it more accessible by opening up an arcade. Called the Viveport Arcade, it will allow developers to license their VR games to be playable in public.
HTC has announced two major VR games that will be playable in an arcade, “The Brookhaven Experiment” and “Everest VR,” according to Engadget. These games will be playable in several Vive installations found in theaters, internet cafes or HTC’s own Viveland which was first revealed earlier this week in Taiwan. Viveland will also open with a total of 120 games.
HTC has already partnered with Chinese internet cafes to bring the Vive Arcade to China. Although HTC is focusing on China right now, the company is planning on expanding to other regions including the United States and Europe, according to The Verge. The plan here is to make sure that plenty of people will be able to experience the HTC Vive before virtual reality becomes more of a mainstream platform.
Developers who want their games to be playable in HTC’s Vive public installations will have to sign up to the Viveport Arcade program through the Viveport app. Arcade owners will then be able to buy minutes of play for each game with HTC splitting profits evenly with the developers.
“Viveport Arcade will represent a more than $100 million market opportunity for VR developers in the next two years,” Viveport president and SVP of HTC’s Virtual Reality platform Rikard Steiber said (via TechCrunch). “We believe this will be a cornerstone in democratizing access to high-end virtual reality and turning curious consumers into longtime fans.”
The arcade gaming market is still big in the Asian market, and it will only get bigger with the addition of virtual reality. The challenge facing HTC right now is how it will roll out this program in the U.S. where arcade gaming isn’t a huge market.
HTC will also be facing competition in the U.S. as other companies are already offering virtual reality entertainment in some public locations. IMAX for example has announced that it will be opening centers where people can experience VR. There are a few VR arcades that have opened in the U.S. as well.