Now that HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are out there, a few businesses are quickly jumping onto the bandwagon. So far everyone is going for the HTC solution as Oculus shot themselves in the foot early on with their refusal to allow commercial locations to use the hardware. Via Chicago Inno
The timeline on these locations opening up are all within days of each other, Immersion Arcade reached out to us stating that they believe they were first by opening on June 14th with June 15th for Ivirtex. We’ve made the corrections and added one from Utah that Immersion pointed out. Thanks to them for the info.
Immersion Arcade – This one opened their doors first, with a number of VR games to enjoy. As you can see in the picture below, they are using an open space with a floor mat design. Immersion offers different tiers for you to rent out depending on how long you wish to try it and they have pictures showing that they’ve set their equipment outside to draw attention. Their main website is here; their Facebook reviews show several 5 star reviews already.
Ivirtex – Opening just a day after Immersion, they have booths setup with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and different compatible games. They have at least one arcade-like setup with a triple screen simulator machine; They’ve also garnered several 5 star reviews per their Facebook page.
UPDATE: VR Junkies Opens In Orem, UT on June 17th – Despite being local to me, I hadn’t heard of this location until it was mentioned in the email by Immersion Arcade. This is billed as the first VR arcade in Utah and like Immersion they have a focus on the HTC Vive headsets and compatible games, in a space of 100 square feet per customer. They also sell VR equipment from their storefront location. You can visit their main website here.
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For anyone unfamiliar with the Utah region in question, Orem is very close to where The Void VR facilities are being developed – which if The Void can open soon will be able to one-up other facilities by offering physical environments to interact with as opposed to the open space; they also will have their own proprietary HMDs and software. That just goes to show, competition is going to be heating up fast in this space.
Some advice for these new locations:
As a word of warning, there is still a ways to go – You’ve got to keep an eye on the users to make sure they don’t injure themselves thanks to the long cords that the Vive has to use (this is why Chuck E Cheeses cancelled their ticket VR game). But it does seem that all these locations have attendants at the very least. Hopefully they’ll pay more attention to the user than to Pokemon Go on their phones…
If these facilities do manage to remain popular, you can also bet that larger developers will want to start charging locations big fees to use their software (like what Valve and Blizzard do to PC LAN centers); the same will occur with fees from certain cities, much like what still exists with arcades today in various places.
I think that these locations would benefit from adding at least a few arcade machines around for any users that have to end up in the waiting queue – you might as well make use of the opportunity and any empty space that you have. True, there are not many present arcade games that attempt to offer a VR-like experience and those that do may not be something that a location like these can afford (thinking of Mach Storm or Star Wars Battle Pod Dome edition; there is also the VR motion games we saw at IAAPA by companies like MediaMation). But again, any place where waiting is going on can make use of the right games – even old timey flat screen games. That’s why you always find an arcade attached to a laser tag arena, it just makes sense to generate that extra revenue.
What do you think about these VR-class arcades?