Virtual reality (VR) arcades are growing in popularity, thanks largely to the buzz around the medium coupled with the expense of the hardware. HTC’s Graham Breen, Program Manager EMEA Virtual Reality, spoke about the rebirth of arcades in a talk at Virtual Reality Evolution, London, today, and his cautious enthusiasm for the physical venues.
“Virtual reality arcades are getting very popular,” states Breen. “In fact, there’s probably an arcade within 30 minutes of where most people in this room live.”
HTC has taken note of this popularity – indeed, systems such as Viveport and the HTC Vive Business Edition are designed to make the technology more accessible to companies wishing to introduce VR to the public in new ways but are not able to create their own content – however, according to Breen, there’s reason to be cautious.
“People are willing to pay for good VR experiences, but we want to make sure those experiences are good. Also, we want to make sure the people making this good content are getting paid.”
Breen goes on to explain that the business model for VR arcades isn’t perfect. There are many locations who have simply purchased a videogame or experience from a digital distribution platform, such as Steam, and are profiting from repeated public custom.
“There’s a lot of black market arcades out there that are just downloading content and the developers are not getting paid.”
Breen stopped short of stating exactly how HTC plan to combat this issue, however many developers will undoubtedly welcome the acknowledgment that such an issue exists. VRFocus will of course keep you updated with any new initiatives from HTC to support developers and VR arcades.