China is expected to be one of the largest countries adopting virtual reality. From $860 million in 2016, to $8.5 billion by 2020 the Chinese VR market is expected to grow exponentially.
One key reason for this growth is the dedicated VR arcade cafes spreading across the country. These cafes bring the experience of virtual reality to consumers who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford themselves.
Having known this potential, HTC Vive opened its first official Vive VR cafe in Shenzhen, China. The company has already two other official branded VR arcades in Taipei and Beijing.
The announcement of Shenzhen Vive VR Cafe came from Alvin Wang Graylin, China Regional President of Vive. Exclusively responding to the questions of Haptical, Alvin Wang says the main reason to build these VR cafes in China is to give the market a reference of good user experience and test out Viveport Arcade platform in the market.
The Viveport Arcade platform is a management platform for virtual reality arcade experiences, announced by HTC Vive earlier this week. The platform is designed to help VR arcade cafe owners manage their VR content in an easy and convenient way.
Internet cafes are an important part of the popular culture in China creating a large economy in the gaming industry. According to Niko Partners, China had 146,000 internet cafes in 2015 with 20 million daily users.
Alvin Wang says there are 3000+ VR arcades in China. “We’ll be using Viveport Arcade to connect them and bring value to users, store owners, and developers,” he adds.
Shenzhen Vive VR Cafe will be a prototype for others
The new Vive VR Cafe in Shenzhen may be an important step for the expansion of Vive’s branded VR cafes in China and globally.
Alvin Wang confirms that HTC Vive China will work with other partners to roll out hundreds of VR cafes in 2016 and 2017. According to Wang, once the VR Cafe model proves out in China, the company is planning an international expansion with franchising opportunities likely.
By the end of 2015, HTC Vive had announced a partnership with Shunwang, one of China’s largest internet café software providers. But Alvin Wang says the new Vive VR Cafe in Shenzhen is designed and built with other partners. “Shunwang cafes are more Internet cafes converting to VR” he says, “this one is more like an arcade and social space.”