Influential gaming fair see moves to meet demand of nation's insatiable market
A raft of virtual reality-ready product launches during ChinaJoy, the country's most influential gaming fair, has lifted the lid on the thriving Asian VR development scene.
The latest moves to meet the insatiable demand from the gaming sector were unveiled at the event, held between July 28 and 31 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center.
For hardware manufacturers, VR-supported devices are prerequisites to capture growth in the billion plus Chinese market that accounts for a quarter of the world's gaming revenue, according to market consultancy Newzoo.
Alienware, a brand known for its gaming computers and owned by Dell Inc, unveiled a premium line of VR-enabled devices－from systems, monitors to customized computer mouses and keyboards－aiming to pamper users with an immersive gaming experience.
These featured a team-up with Intel Corp's latest processors to enable smooth multi-tasking, a keyboard with memory function, a high-resolution screen that supports spontaneous and responsive game-play, among other things.
"One of Alienware's missions is to enable the best VR experiences with turnkey solutions," said Frank Azor, Alienware vice-president and general manager.
"China currently has the largest gaming market in the world and we want to be the first to bring the latest tech to our community and take risks."
Alienware said China is its second-biggest market, fueled by a growing number of users that are wealthier and seeking sophisticated gaming experiences. With over 130 Alienware stores in the country, parent group Dell is set to expand that range to tempt players with vivid VR experiences, said Raymond Wah, senior vice-president for Consumer Products Marketing at Dell.
According to Newzoo, China's gaming market is projected to be a billion industry by the end of 2018, growing at a pace of billion a year－a market segment up for grabs that virtually every PC gaming hardware maker is scrambling to get a slice of.
During the expo, HTC Corp announced that it is working on a stand-alone headset for the Chinese market built on its Viveport content platform, underscoring the significance it attached to its presence in the country.
"China is the leading mobile market in the world today, and has the momentum to lead the global VR market as well," said HTC Vive China President Alvin Wang Graylin.
Sony Interactive Entertainment also took to the stage and announced a wide range of new VR titles for its PlayStation as it pushed hard into the Chinese market.
Alienware's Azor said the competition was intense.
"A key stroke can mean the difference between winning and losing," he said.
"Innovation applies to the products people can buy from us today and the concepts like VR, AR (augmented reality) and AI (artificial intelligence) that will shape their tomorrows."