You may be used to getting comics digitally by now, but how about virtually? Enter Comic Vket 1, a virtual reality-based market event set to take place in August 2020. HIKKY Co., an company specializing in Virtual and Augmented Reality gatherings, is organizing and will hold the event in a “Virtual Akihabara” location.
Comic Vket 1 aims to be the first event of its type, providing fans a way to get together and buy doujinshi fanzines without leaving the comfort of home. While fans have been able to buy doujinshi online for years now, Comic Vket 1 aims to replicate some of the experience of attending an in-person doujinshi event. To that end, booths and exhibits from 382 participating circles and over 60 exhibiting partners will be arranged in a virtual recreation of Akihabara. Attendees can then join the fun and navigate the space in real time, exploring booths, chatting, and even making purchases – either electronic versions of a vendor’s work or even ordering physical editions for delivery.
And while virtual reality is the main selling point for the event, it’s not actually required. The event will be accessible via the programs VRChat, Cluster, and Styly, all of which do not require the use of a VR headset. Even mobile and browser-based users can join in, if they want to, though the experience will probably be ideal for those with the hardware to take advantage.
Check out some footage from Comic Vket 0, a test event held in April 2020. Over 25,000 people attended.
The “Vket” in the Comic Vket name is a reference to “Comiket”, the largest fan convention in the world and until 2020 a twice-yearly pilgrimage for many fans of indie fanzines, comics, music, video, and cosplay. The real-life Comiket 98 failed to launch in May 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and on July 12, 2020 the planned Comiket 99 was moved from December 2020 to May 2021.
Comic Vket 1 will be held from August 13, 2020 through August 16, 2020. A neighboring event focused on music, called Music Vket, will release its own details at a later time. Check out the official site here.