A short time ago, I mentioned an interesting new product by the name of Zone Dome in a weekend news collection post. I couldn’t find out if this was designed to also work in arcades/amusement but fortunately the company reached out to AH and I have a little more information on these now.
It is no secret that dome screens are becoming important in the arcade space, Bandai Namco has been taking the charge with that technology in games like Mach Storm, Lost Land Adventure and Star Wars Battle Pod. That is their own patented method for doing it but not the only one out there.
According to Running Unlimited which has designed the Zone Dome, their dome is available for use in any out-of-home entertainment product and “arcades are front and centre of how we see them employed…We want to help grow the development of gaming (and attractions) content.” Given the new push for unique displays like dome screen, this is one alternate way that other concepts could jump into the dome fray, at a cost of around £3000 (in the range of $4600 – $4700) for the dome.
Here is a video I found of the dome being used with a treadmill/running setup (EDIT: This is running their “version 1” of the hardware, it has since been updated with a slightly smaller design and clearer screen):
The units project the image in Full HD and have VGA or HDMI out. Given the R&D has already been done here, it offers an already available alternative for any arcade company that was wanting to get into this technology.
I imagine there are a number of concepts that could benefit for arcades – on one end perhaps “standard” versions of Namco’s dome screen games (although admittedly I have no idea how much their dome technology already costs and what the comparison is – the Zone Dome does look smaller so with the right cabinet structure around it, it could work) or perhaps lower cost dome screen gaming which could explore some different ideas. Lower cost dome screens would be ideal right now since there is a big push to do something different for arcade games from a hardware perspective.
I think that is one of the exciting things about the whole concept – new tech makes game designers think in different ways in regards to entertaining with that tech. Purely circular screens alone have never been huge in arcades but they have existed from time to time. What do you think the potential is for screens like the Zone Dome in arcades?