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VRChat popularity in Japan causes HTC Vive supply shortage

Published: 09:05, 09 June 2018
HTC Vive Pro promotional picture. It looks like any other VR headset.
HTC Vive Pro

Japan seems to be infatuated with VRChat as it is cited as the main reason behind the shortage of HTC Vive VR system shortage in shops across the country. Several shops have reported that the weekly supply simply doesn't meet the demand.

According to the website of Akhibara, a Japanese PC retailer, there has been sort of an HTC Vive shortage for a little over a month now. The VR drought began in May 2018 when the shops started reporting the weekly resupply selling out extremely fast. This resulted in HTC's official website declaring that "the date of receipt is undecided" as they are not in position to ship the orders immediately.

The same goes HTC Vive Pro as the high end model is also selling out faster than dislikes are popping up on Battlefield V's reveal trailer. Japanese VR enthusiasts therefore have to place reservations on VR systems before they even arrive but there is no indication on how long the waiting list is.

There seem to be two main reasons for this - VRChat's rise to popularity in Japan and HTC Vive's price drop in March 2018. The VR set now costs 69.390 yen with tax included, which translates to ~$633 or ~£472. The biggest reason seems to be VRChat's popularity though, as the site has also reported an increase in sales of PC components needed for VR Chat.

HTC Vive shortage is reminiscent of the GPU one caused by cryptocurrency mining as the retailers don't see when it might actually end, simply stating that they will be short on the components " ". VRChat fans are not giving up though as they seem to be regularly checking the shops' arrival schedules in hopes of getting their hands on a VR set.

AltChar Image of Ugandan Knuckles with a white wrap on his head with a single red circle, resembling Japan's flag Ugandan Knuckles

Considering this is Japan we're talking about, it is easy to conclude that the main appeal of VRChat lies in being able to hop into an anime avatar and talk with loli girls but it makes one wonder if memes are also popular in Japan's slice of virtual world as well. I mean, would Ugandan Knuckles even make sense there as the character's signature is English language with a heavy African accent.

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