(Thanks to Michael Louie for the tip & photos)
A little over a year ago, we reported that Dave & Busters was investigating VR technology for use in their facilities. That particular setup came and went but D&Bs interest in VR tech hasn’t waned. The tech needs to reach a standard above what VR-at-home will offer, as any commercial use entertainment product needs to do for long term viability.
UPDATE: More of an official announcement page can be found here as well as a little teaser trailer. I also have confirmed that VRCade setups are available to any facility, not just D&B, handled directly with VRCade.
Spotted at the Dave & Busters in Milpitas, CA, here is the new “VRCade” setup that is currently being tested. We have also discussed VRCade before, which was a business setup to create something akin to a holodeck using VR Tech – this is the first installation I have heard of for them outside of Seattle. What is a little different about this is that the headsets and the gun prop used are both wireless, allowing the user to wander in that particular area without worrying about having to trip over a cord. Currently it is running a zombie game, which Michael described as having graphics “somewhat poor for this day and age.” I guess that is part of the VR curse, so much attention is given to making other aspects of the game work, that the graphics have to take a back seat (many other VR games or ideas we’ve covered have also suffered in the visual department).
Presently the VRCade is not using D&Bs card system but at the moment is a cash system ($5 per play). I have to imagine that they will figure out something to integrate with the card system at some point but that’s what it is for now.
I’ve seen some heated and passionate arguments about VR on the interwebs and while I can appreciate the embrace of new technology, I think that those who are equating it being the next thing that will replace mobile are over-hyping the potential, to put it mildly. Aside from not everyone handling wearable face tech, it will have to prove itself in the long run after the initial ‘fresh smell’ wears off. If anything, the out-of-home amusement industry stands to benefit the most from it since it is easier for them to absorb the higher costs that will come with varied ideas and expanded hardware add-ons but that will come with its own batch of problems – guaranteeing reliability, balanced ROI (which includes maintenance costs), and good software that fits the arcade-style play model. Still, D&B are the trend-setters in the arcade industry right now so if this works then expect other FECs to attempt to follow suit. D&B has been wanting something that is more exclusive to their chain and this certainly fits the bill.
What are your thoughts? Comment below or on one of social media channels!