Mon, Dec 25, 2017 - Page 15 News List

Acer’s virtual reality venture introduces technology at Japan’s Sega game arcades

ESCAPISM:The Taiwanese computer maker hopes it has found a way to diversify its revenue sources away from the PC segment, where it is facing growing competition

Staff writer, with CNA

StarVR Corp (宏星技術), a virtual reality (VR) joint venture between Acer Inc (宏碁) and Sweden-based game developer Starbreeze AB, is working with Japan’s leading interactive entertainment giant, Sega Entertainment Inc, to capture the Japanese VR market.

The two partners are planning to bring StarVR’s arcade experiences to existing Sega game centers across Japan.

By the end of March next year, facilities will be set up in three Sega game centers, after their debut in the flagship Shinjuku Kabukicho branch in Tokyo on Friday, Acer said, adding that the number would rise to 10 by the end of next year.

Sega operates nearly 200 game centers in Japan that offer customers a wide range of entertainment, such as prize games, music video games and video games.

Select Sega outlets have also photo sticker booths called purikura with costumes available for rental, Acer said.

“We’re especially excited to bring StarVR arcade experiences to Japan, as it has the world’s most sophisticated arcade industry and culture,” StarVR vice chairman Jerry Kao (高樹國) said in a statement on Friday. “Collaborating with Sega Entertainment, the leader in the local market, we’re confident that we can make truly immersive and premium VR experiences widely available to Japanese consumers soon.”

In the initial stage of the cooperation with Sega, Japanese customers will be able to access VR content, said Acer, which is keen to enter the growing VR arena to diversify revenue sources and offset the effects of escalating competition in the company’s core PC segment.

StarVR has launched a VR headset for enterprise and entertainment operator use. The gadget features 5K resolution, a 210-degree field of view and an “ultraimmersive VR experience,” the company said.

Meanwhile, global shipments of standalone smart VR headsets are forecast to surpass 1.5 million next year and grow at a compound annual rate of 140 percent to 9.7 million units in 2021, research firm Canalys said.

“Standalone VR headsets are expected to help push the VR headset market to 7.6 million units in 2018, twice the shipments forecast for this year,” Canalys said in a statement on Tuesday.

Oculus, the virtual reality company owned by Facebook Inc, as well as HTC Corp (宏達電) and Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想), are launching new standalone headsets aimed at different market segments, which will drive rapid market growth, the research firm said.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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