HTC has reportedly entered into a partnership with China's largest internet caf© operator, Hangzhou ShunWang Technology, to promote its Vive VR headset by targeting the 100 million people who are believed to frequent such internet access outlets in the country. This, according to HTC's Chairwoman and CEO, Ms. Cher Wang, who announced the tie-up at a conference held by the Taiwanese tech company at Beijing last Friday. The partnership is an effort on part of HTC to promote its first VR headset, which is supposed to hit the market commercially in April, next year, after many a delay over the past year or two. The conference, titled 'HTC Unbound', discussed issues regarding the future of the fledgling virtual reality technology and its implementation in consumer-grade gadgets.
China Post is reporting that the two companies have apparently already set things in motion by starting a pilot program that allows interested customers at the internet caf©s owned by ShunWang, to spend 10 minutes with the Vive headset in specially created Vive experience zones at a charge of 10 to 30 Yuan ($2 to $5) for up to 10 minutes of usage. While Shunwang Technology owns around 100,000 internet cafes across the length and breadth of the country, it isn't immediately known as to how many of those outlets will actually be participating in the Vive program. While virtual reality is still a comparatively new phenomenon at the consumer level, HTC is hoping to secure the early-mover advantage by catching the hardcore gaming community, whose active involvement (or lack thereof) may well decide the success or failure of the device.
Coming to the HTC Vive, the upcoming VR headset from the Taiwanese tech company is a collaboration between HTC and the world's largest digital video game distribution company, Valve Corporation. The device will compete in the marketplace with other, similar offerings from companies like Sony with its PlayStation VR, (originally known as Project Morpheus), Oculus VR, with its upcoming Oculus Rift and of course, Samsung, whose Gear VR headsets are already available for purchase. Of late, HTC has been going all out in trying to promote its upcoming virtual reality headset, and reports earlier this month indicated that the company has tied up with German automaker Audi, to deploy the headset at the Bavarian automobile manufacturer's flagship showrooms, whereby potential customers of the automotive major will be able to take a virtual tour of Audi vehicles with the help of the VR headset.