HTC plans to open Viveport Arcades in the U.S. and other select regions like Europe, China and Taiwan. They hope to open thousands around the world by the end of next year.
HTC’s Viveport Arcades are basically internet cafes with virtual reality as their theme. These “location-based VR [virtual reality] entertainment platforms” hope to meet the demand of consumers who can’t afford their own VR setup. An HTC Vive currently costs around $800 by itself, on top of the cost of a computer powerful enough to meet the system requirements.
HTC recommends a GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better ($300 - $400 minimum MSRP). For the CPU, HTC suggests an Intel Core i5 4590 ($199 MSRP), AMD FX 8350 (MSRP $150) or greater. The rest are standard fare: 4GB RAM, HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or better, a USB 2.0 or faster port, and at least Windows 7 SP1 or newer. Not exactly top of the line, but still fairly expensive.
“HTC recommends a GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better.”
HTC is partnering with arcades, internet cafes, theaters and shopping malls. They also opened a VR theme park, Viveland, last week. They are even developing a hub for VR-centered apps and 360 degree content, “Viveport M”. Viveport president Rikard Steiber stated “Viveport Arcade will represent a more than $100 million market opportunity for VR developers in the next two years".
The HTC Vive launched April 5, and so far has sold more than 140,000 units. The Vive took an early lead on the Oculus Rift, which also launched earlier this year, due to unexplained component shortages. Sales for the PlayStation Virtual Reality (PSVR), which launched less than a month ago, October 13. Sony says sales for the PSVR are on track, and expected to number in the “hundreds of thousands”.
“Sony says sales for the PSVR are on track, and expected to number in the “hundreds of thousands”.”
HTC’s project could be just the push that VR needs. The infant technology hasn’t made it to the homes of consumers nationwide because of cost and demo availability. Bringing the technology to arcades nationwide is a great way to increase adoption rates, and will provide some competition with the PSVR’s home only approach. Keep an eye out for some arcades later this year, and many more next year.