HTC China President Alvin Wang Graylin tweeted recently that Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One (2018) is projected to have a “significantly positive impact” on VR adoption in China this year.
Graylin presented a few supporting slides this past week during a talk at a tech conference held by iQIYI, a company commonly dubbed ‘The Chinese Nexflix’. Citing a China VR Market Survey from April 2018, Graylin maintains that Chinese movie-goers who watched Ready Player One account for around a 20% increase in desire to own or upgrade to a VR system over people who haven’t seen RPO.
To put this in perspective, Ready Player One’s US release garnered around $135 million domestically, a respectable number for any summer sci-fi flick—twice as much as Pacific Rim Uprising (2018) earned in the US, which released only a week earlier. China alone made up nearly half of Ready Player One’s gross worldwide earnings, which DeadLine reports account for more than $200 million of the ~$500 million gross box office numbers.
As an official sponsor of Ready Player One, HTC put out several RPO-themed VR mini-games to promote the film, available in VR arcades across China, and through Viveport and Steam for VR users at home.
So while Google Trends doesn’t show a significant search increase for VR during the film’s heyday in March, it appears both HTC and the film itself have better mobilized movie-goers in China for the future of VR.