Virtual Reality Is Bringing the Arcade Back

Don't have the room in your house (or in your budget) for a fully immersive VR experience? HTC is hoping you’ll find your way to some virtual reality arcades in the coming year.

Credit: HTC

(Image credit: HTC)

The Taiwan-based device maker on Thursday announced plans to roll out Viveport Arcade, its virtual reality arcade, to “thousands of locations” around the world by the end of next year. HTC says it’ll initially roll out the arcade to China and Taiwan, and follow that up with launches in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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HTC is one of the more prominent virtual reality headset makers, thanks to its HTC Vive. The Vive is a standalone virtual reality headset that places you into a virtual 3D world. It competes with the likes of Facebook’s Oculus Rift, though cheaper alternatives that rely on smartphones, like the Google Daydream View or Samsung Gear VR, are also vying for virtual reality dollars.

The HTC Vive isn’t cheap at $799. Add that to the cost of games and the actual cost of ownership can quickly soar.

Price has been cited as one of the potential pitfalls in rapid virtual reality adoption. Price-conscious consumers might not like the idea of buying a device for hundreds of dollars and potentially spending more on games and other content as it becomes available. What’s worse, they don’t know which headset to buy in what is becoming a crowded market with no clear indication of which device might break out from the fray.

That, HTC argues, could be where its Viveport Arcades come in.

Credit: HTC

(Image credit: HTC)

Viveport Arcade is designed to act like the gaming centers of years past, allowing you to strap on a Vive headset and try out games in a mall, at a store, or wherever else it might be available. While the idea is to deliver an arcade experience, it also gives prospective owners the opportunity to try the Vive before they buy and determine whether it’s right for them. It might also help developers trying to get their content noticed.

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According to HTC, it’s quickly ramping up its arcade efforts. As of this writing, Viveport Arcade works with 120 apps or games. Those who choose to place one of its arcades in their location will also get built-in billing, sales, and reporting, HTC says.

A zombie survival game called “The Brookhaven Experiment” will be among the many apps to find their way to its units.

HTC’s Rikard Steiber, president of Viveport at HTC, added in a statement that he believes the company’s arcade could generate more than $100 million in revenue for developers in the next two years, alone.

HTC hasn’t yet shared U.S. pricing on the Viveport Arcade and when it might reach U.S. shores.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.