HTC has found a way to make sure its Vive VR headset will be available to the biggest potential VR market in the world. The company has struck a deal with Hangzhou IT firm Shunwang Technology, one of the largest Internet café software suppliers in China, reports Road to VR. The deal will see the Vive deployed for use by internet café customers in arcade-like Vive zones.
The internet café market is huge in China. The chairman of Shunwang Technology, Hua Yong, has recently become China’s latest tech billionaire, as reported by Forbes. The company’s software is used in more than 100,000 Chinese Internet cafés with more than 100 million users.
The deal was announced at the recent Vive Unbound event in Beijing where the HTC Vive VR headset was formally introduced in China.
The pilot program will allow players to experience virtual reality through the Vive in a specially equipped room. The cost will be between 10 and 30 30RMB ($2 to $5) for 10 minutes.
“As the biggest Internet café platform service provider in China, Shunwang will make full use of its existing network and operation capacity in the industry to bring the best VR experience to hundreds of millions of Internet café game players,” Hua Yong said in a statement.
According to the announcement ShunWang will be the exclusive partner deploying the Vive in Chinese internet cafés. HTC will develop the Launcher for the Vive, but ShunWang will handle the billing, content management system, and the daily operation of the Vive zone.
Augmented and virtual reality are predicted to disrupt markets and our lives in a big way the near future. Digi-Capital projects the AR and VR markets to hit $150 billion, with a disruptive impact on mobile by 2020. Up to 8 million VR headsets could be sold in 2016.