Meta Platforms is working with Tencent Holdings to sell the Quest 2 VR headset to Chinese consumers, according to a report by 36Kr, but what will this mean for VR game developers and the bigger studios?
The Quest 2 is the most successful selling head mounted display (HMD) ever, literally by a country mile. The VR headset has become popular around the world for its ability to offer high-quality VR experiences at a price point, albeit heavily subsidised. Really, this is the first proper mass market consumer HMD that didn't need to be connected to a PC.
The Quest 2 is especially popular in US and European markets since it was first released in May 2019, and since seen several updates and iterations, such as vastly improved hand tracking, better avatars etc. Hell, they've sold 20 million (plus) units to date.
As our article eludes to, a recent announcement indicates that the Oculus Quest 2 would/could soon be released in China through a partnership with Tencent.
This development could have significant implications for developers.
For my own part, this is exciting, my product is perfect for the Chinese market, and effectively increases my already sizeable addressable market four fold plus.
Excited, but caution needed?
But with all the excitment, there is also some trepidation, i'll go through the questions racing around in my head.
What does this mean for my users data? USA, UK and European data centers are safe and secure and we know where we are with them.
What does this mean for IP rights? In my previous startup, there was interest from a representative of a Chinese Insurance Company, they wanted to invest, but I was told catagorically that I would have to give access to my code base and any data both user and user output. There was of course, more chance of three feet of snow in Key West at the end of the Overseas Highway than me agreeing to that.
China has form for copying western goods and services, so they can certainly copy the code base of a game, especailly if handed on a dinner plate.
Would Meta, who have previous form, sell my data to China? Anything is possible and would we, as the little people ever find out?
New regulatory bureaucracy to deal with? The Oculus Quest ecosystem in China could result in new regulations and restrictions for western developers. China has a unique regulatory environment, and developers will need to be aware of the local laws and regulations that apply to their work. This could include restrictions on content, privacy and data protection, and censorship.
Meta, will have to be on the front foot here, not the usual banter.
There are many more questions that no doubt I will think of later, so I will add them to this article over time.
The release of the Oculus Quest in China will open up a new market for VR developers, thats a given. China is an incomprehensibly massive market with a vast population that is increasingly interested in technology and gaming. The release of the Oculus Quest in China will give developers the opportunity to create VR experiences for this new audience and potentially quadruple their revenue streams.
The Oculus Quest ecosystem in China could lead to new partnerships and collaborations between Chinese and western developers. Chinese developers have a strong presence in the global gaming industry, and the release of the Oculus Quest in China could provide an opportunity for cross-cultural collaboration between developers from different countries. This could lead to the creation of new and exciting VR experiences that draw on the strengths of developers and design ethos from different regions, multiculturalism is good for almost everything right?
So, in essence, there is an ocean of opportunity for developers to expand thier audience and hopefully their wallets too, but proceed with caution.
I'd love to know what you think, so connect with me on Twitter, always nice to chat shop!
BTW, here's a link to the South China Post who go into more detail.