We’ve often talked about VR being used for virtual tourism, but this isn’t exactly what we had in mind.
HTC today announced a partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to bring the HTC Vive to sites in Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Sanya. Guests can head to a ‘Vive Zone’ to sample the SteamVR headset with a selection of games and experiences. More interestingly, they’ll also be able to try some of the content from HTC’s Viveport storefront in their own rooms.
In a prepared statement, Alvin W. Graylin, China Regional President of Vive, HTC called these spaces “VR-Ready guest rooms”. Now there’s an odd request to make at the front desk. Emily Chang, Chief Commercial Officer, IHG Greater China said the installations would “lay a solid foundation” for utilizing other technologies in the future.
The feature will be available from Monday, October 31st at Hotel Indigo Shanghai On The Bund, Crowne, Plaza Beijing Sun Palace and InterContinental Sanya Resort. More hotels will be added in the future.
Getting VR into people’s hands is an important way of marketing headsets. Companies like Oculus and Sony are busy doing that through retailers and events, as is HTC, but providing guests with their own units could give them a much more personal and immersive experience than standing in line for a few hours to see a five minute demo. HTC has not yet announced any plans to bring the idea to the west.
It’s not the only new initiative HTC is launching this week; the company also revealed its Vivepaper concept, which mixes VR and AR to bring magazines into virtual spaces and make them much more immersive. Perhaps, instead of having the morning paper delivered to your room, you could wake up and download it straight to your Vivepaper.