Virtual reality (VR) is being utilised for many industries, but can it help save one? Videogame arcades have been in steady decline for years, mainly starting in the 90’s when consoles started to provide bigger, richer and more visually interesting content that could be played at home. With the rise of VR, and especially HTC Vive’s Room Scale technology, arcades are now implementing VR or being built specifically for it. For current arcade operators VR could be a way to boost profits, which is why Adores Inc., a Tokyo, Japan-based operator has unveiled a dedicated VR facility.
Located in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, Adores Inc. arcade stretches over four stories with the VR facility taking up one full floor. The arcade uses the HTC Vive head-mounted display (HMD), displaying six titles ranging from first-person shooters (FPS) to playing baseball. All the videogames are supplied by Japanese videogame company, Gree Inc. Eiji Araki, vice president of Gree Inc. said: “To accelerate the launch of the VR market in Japan, we think it’s important to utilize arcades and amusement parks,” reports blooloop.com. Gree has studios across the world and earlier this year launched Tomb of the Golems for Samsung Gear VR. It’s also collaborating with Square Enix on Kai-ri-Sei Million Arthur VR for HTC Vive.
Unlike countries such as the US, Australia or China which tend not to be short of space, Japan is notorious for space being at a premium. Devices such as HTC Vive, which do require a reasonable play area to operate, may not be as instantly accessible for general consumers to setup at home. Therefore VR arcades are able to create new revenue streams whilst providing consumers a means of playing the latest tech. Plus it’s a lot cheaper.
It’s not just traditional videogame arcades that are leveraging VR, HTC has launched the Viveport Arcade in China and Taiwan with more countries being added in 2017. While companies like The VOID and Zero Latency are creating massive warehouse sized experiences for multiple gamers to get involved with.
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