(Thanks to Luis Canon for the tip)
First it was Dave & Busters setting up a “VR Lab” where they tested out some VR concepts, now Chuck E. Cheeses is doing the same with “Chuck E cheeses Virtual Ticket Blaster”. This is a setup that is entwined with their birthday party feature of putting the birthday person in a hurricane simulator type chamber that blows tickets around them. As the user looks at the tickets in the helmet, it will collect the tickets for them. This trial run will cover specific locations in Dallas, San Diego and Orlando and then go from there. More info and some videos about it can be found here: Oculus Rift For Birthday Parties In Select Markets.
Overall I think this can work for them and it’s a bonus that they are using technology that is not common in the home yet combined with an exclusive game idea that they promote with every birthday party. This also stresses the strength of VR in the arcade place, with more companies jumping on-board since an arcade environment can provide the extra hardware needed beyond the VR headset to make certain game ideas truly work. That is a problem with VR in game consoles – for many concepts to work in practice and not just paper, you need to buy even more hardware, like an onmi-directional treadmill to make game types like FPS work. A lot of the VR projects shown so far have needed some extra hardware, which is where it puts widespread success at home in trouble since most consumers are not going to rush out and figure out their own VR “Konix Multisystem”.
Here is the CEC press release about the project:
Chuck E. Cheese’s Introduces Oculus Rift for Birthday Parties in Select Markets
Famed Virtual Reality Headset Takes Birthdays to the Next Level With Chuck E. Cheese’s Virtual Ticket Blaster Experience
Birthday parties booked during the six–week test in the three markets will offer the Birthday Star a turn in the virtual Ticket Blaster. The headset uses 360–degree head-tracking technology and features a 3D view so users feel as though they are inside the Ticket Blaster with Chuck E. During the experience, the headset will register the number of tickets collected, which will be fully redeemable at the merchandise counter.
The first store equipped with “Chuck E. Cheese’s Virtual Ticket Blaster Experience” will be at 13364 Montfort Drive in Dallas. Later this month will be 15 more locations in the Dallas–Fort Worth area, six in Orlando, Fla., and eight in San Diego, Calif.
Chuck E. Cheese’s originally began working with Dallas–based Reel FX in 2012 on the reimagination of Chuck E. Cheese. Reel FX is a pioneer at the forefront of Oculus Rift virtual reality content, so they were a natural choice to bring Chuck E. into a virtual reality experience and game.
“We believe that virtual reality eventually will be as popular as our handheld devices,” said Reel FX founder and Executive Creative Director Dale Carman. “It’s a game–changer, and we’re investing incredible time and talent into developing content for the Oculus Rift.”
Reel FX was an early adopter and supporter of Oculus Rift, dating back to the technology company’s initial development and fundraising push through its Kickstarter campaign in 2012. Facebook acquired Oculus VR in March 2014 for $2 billion.
Families are encouraged to book their kids’ birthday parties today. For more information and resources about Chuck E. Cheese’s party packages, visit chuckecheese.com/plan.
About CEC Entertainment, Inc.
For more than 30 years, CEC Entertainment has served as the nationally recognized leader in family dining and entertainment and the place Where a Kid can be a Kid®. The company and its franchisees operate a system of 571 Chuck E. Cheese’s stores located in 48 states and eight foreign countries or territories. Currently, 518 locations in the United States and Canada are owned and operated by the company. CEC Entertainment, Inc. and its franchisees have the common goal of creating lifelong memories for families through fun, food and play. Each Chuck E. Cheese’s features musical and comic robotic entertainment, games, rides and play areas, as well as a variety of dining options including pizza, sandwiches, wings, appetizers, a salad bar and desserts. Committed to providing a fun, safe environment, Chuck E. Cheese’s helps protect families through industry–leading programs such as Kid Check®.
Chuck E. Cheese’s aims to promote positive, lifelong memories inside and outside its stores. In addition to providing a fun entertainment experience for millions of families across the world, Chuck E. Cheese’s has donated more than $9.9 million to schools through its fundraising programs. For more information, see the company’s website at chuckecheese.com or connect with them onFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and foursquare.
About Reel FX
Reel FX develops and produces animated films, commercials, and interactive digital and location–based experiences. The company’s feature slate, released under its Reel FX Animation Studios banner, includes the Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) themed project The Book of Life with 20th Century Fox Animation, which will be released in theaters October 17, and an adaptation of theBeasts of Burden graphic novel. Reel FX’s first full-length animated feature, Free Birds, was released by Relativity Media on November 1, 2013.
Based out of Dallas, Texas, Reel FX launched its feature-length development and production slate in 2010 after almost 20 years of experience as an award–winning one–stop studio for the creation of animated content including films, special attraction/live venue projects, commercials, and interactive projects for companies including Fox, Warner Bros., DreamWorks Animation and Universal Studios. The studio continues to do short–form work including commercials, music videos, theme park attractions and live experiential animation.
Since starting the development and production of feature films, Reel FX has aligned itself with some of the most recognized and respected names and brands in the entertainment industry for its projects including Free Birds (Jimmy Hayward, Scott Mosier), The Book of Life (Guillermo del Toro, Jorge R. Gutierrez), the Beasts of Burden adaptation (Dark Horse Comics, Andrew Adamson, Aron Warner), Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (Cirque du Soleil, James Cameron, Andrew Adamson, Aron Warner), and a partnership with Strange Weather Films (Andrew Adamson, Aron Warner and Jeffrey Fierson) for animated and live–action movies. For more information, visit reelfx.com.
Director, Corporate Communications, CEC Entertainment, Inc.