Last year before the commercial version of the HTC Vive virtual reality headset was introduced, HTC signed a deal with Hangzhou Shunwang Technology in order to bring the HTC Vive headsets to Internet cafés in China. Up until now, HTC launched two VR cafes in Beijing and Taipei, Taiwan, and according to a new report the company has now opened its third HTC Vive virtual reality café, this time located in Shenzen and in collaboration with other partners.
The concept of Internet cafes took over the world in the ‘90s and early 2000s, but this trend slowly died off in most parts of the western hemisphere as more and more consumers have acquired their own hardware in order to surf the web and play games from the comfort of their homes. However, in China and other countries including South Korea, Internet cafés are still very popular, and this gives HTC – and other VR headset manufacturers – an opportunity to bring the concept of virtual reality to the masses with more ease. This is why HTC has decided to open Vive VR cafés in China, and why the company’s third VR locale has now opened up in Shenzen. The official announcement came from China Regional President of Vive, Alvin Wang Graylin, who confirmed that the new HTC Vive VR café has been designed and built with other partners than Hangzhou Shunwang Technology. He also added that, while "Shunwang cafés are more Internet cafes converting to VR, this one is more like an arcade and social space". Alvin Wang Graylin also revealed that HTC Vive China will continue to work with other partners in order to open hundreds of VR cafes in the country throughout 2016 and 2017.
As for the rest of the world, Graylin has revealed that once the VR café model applied in China proves to be fruitful, the company will extend into the International market, most likely through franchising. The company will also use this opportunity in China to test the new Viveport Arcade platform launched earlier this week, and will use it "to connect [3000+ VR arcades in China] and bring value to users, store owners, and developers".