There aren't many people who actually own a high-end VR headset and the requisite beefy PC to play VR games, but that doesn't mean that VR developers can't reach a larger audience. HTC, the hardware manufacturer behind the Vive, believes that it can revitalize arcades with VR while also giving developers a way to more effectively monetize. Viveport, the company's own VR app storefront, is expanding with Viveport Arcade, a program that aims to bring VR setups to physical locations such as arcades, internet cafes, theaters and shopping malls.
HTC will begin by launching initially in China and Taiwan and "will roll out into thousands of locations by the end of 2017, creating a significant revenue opportunity for VR developers and a powerful new driver for consumer adoption."
"Viveport Arcade will represent a more than $100 million market opportunity for VR developers in the next two years," said Rikard Steiber, President of Viveport and SVP of Virtual Reality at HTC. "From the largest amusement centers to arcade installations at family entertainment locations, virtual reality is clearly becoming the next big draw for entertainment. We believe this will be a cornerstone in democratizing access to high-end virtual reality and turning curious consumers into longtime fans."
Part of HTC's announcement involved signing two more popular VR games for Viveport Arcade, which already boasts over 120 VR apps. Phosphor Games' Brookhaven Experiment, which has already started a push into casinos thanks to Gamblit, and Sólfar Studios' Everest VR have joined the roster.
"Arcade distribution is going to prove very important for VR and we're thrilled to be partnered with HTC to lead the charge on Viveport Arcade," said Justin Corcoran, CEO of Phosphor Games Studio. "As developers, getting our content in the right consumer friendly locations gives us the chance to reach bigger and broader audiences globally, empowering us to continue creating great VR experiences."
"The Viveport Arcade program allows our team to focus on being creative and innovating on great experiences for consumers," said Kjartan Pierre Emilsson, co-founder and CEO Sólfar Studios. "It is great to have a trusted partner in HTC who can manage secure distribution of our content into entertainment centers around the world."
Aside from giving VR developers another way to monetize, HTC said that it may also look at "potentially investing in partnerships to develop unique experiences" for Viveport Arcade. HTC is already investing in some VR projects though its Vive X program, a $100 million fund and accelerator program; HTC is still accepting new submissions for consideration through December 1. Viveport Arcade also complements HTC's recently unveiled Viveland, a theme park in Taipei to showcase VR experiences.