Virtual Sapporo, Nagoya and Paris to host major VR event

Japan-based VR services provider HIKKY will create virtual renditions of Sapporo, Nagoya and Paris in the metaverse during a major virtual reality event this December. 

Their iconic features in the real world will be converted into three virtual cities on the metaverse that will serve as venues for Virtual Market 2022 Winter. The event, to be held from December 3 to 18, is a major online exhibition where exhibitors and visitors can buy and sell 3D items and products such as avatars.

The idea of creating the virtual cities is part of HIKKY’s “Parareal World Project,” which aims to bring 100 cities around the world into the metaverse within five years. The term “parareal” comes from the concept of combining “parallel universe” and “real world.”

Launched by HIKKY in 2018, the Virtual Market event has attracted more than one million visitors from all over the world. The Guinness World Records recognizes it as a VR marketing event with the largest number of booths.

The event will be held on the social VR application VRChat, but users of smartphones and other devices can also access the event on a browser.

In the virtual venues, visitors can catch a train ride for a scenic tour of the sprawling landscape, watch a movie at the cinema, or dance with friends at a live music event. Friends can interact with one another in real time conversation, shop together, make new friends, or run into and strike up conversations with celebrities.

HIKKY was established in 2018. Last November, it raised 6.5 billion yen through a third-party allocation of new shares with NTT Docomo as the subscriber. In March, it formed an alliance with Docomo and announced a partnership with XR World, a multi-device metaverse provided by Docomo. HIKKY has earlier been involved in creating a virtual version of Akihabara Station in Tokyo, in collaboration with the East Japan Railway Company (JR East).