Successful Future of Immersive Leisure Conference Wraps Up
The inaugural Future of Immersive Leisure (FOIL for short) conference took place in Las Vegas, NV this past week and site friend Kevin Williams was there as a part of the conference talks. As stated in the report from Replay Magazine, the conference was designed to “[bring] together some of the most innovative voices working in virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, projection mapping, cinema, amusement and other forward-thinking industries.” The discussion of VR arcades and VR tech was central to a lot of the talks and it sounds like it was reasonable – aka, Virtual Reality will find it’s niche within the entertainment business and have it’s place but it won’t replace all existing forms of entertainment. Those are my words but that’s the gist of what I got from the Replay quotes. 😉 That’s opposed to a lot of the hype I’ve heard when at trade shows and read in print, making grand proclamations about how VR will replace everything then it has sputtered in sales. Kevin Bachus from Dave & Busters was also there and talked about the company’s testing of VR (of which they experimented with a few different ideas); to pull the quote from him, “The novelty is not sufficient to build a business.”
I also have said that I think that there is a lot of potential for Augmented Reality in the arcade space, perhaps moreso than VR since not all AR solutions have to involved putting something on your face and many more people already own an AR device (a smartphone). One way I imagine this working for arcade machines would be smartphone holder that users could slide their phone into, say on the top of a mounted gun. Then you have a brand new Laser Ghost style concept ;). Granted, it would likely make more sense and cause less hassle to simply add a camera/screen to the top of a gun and then let it play with AR features, something that Konami tested out seven years ago in fact. Or another radical idea would be to allow a game to use two different controls – one, what the game ships with, another, connect to the user’s phone and let them use that entirely. Kind of like what Jersey Jack did in Dialed In! pinball; or as I was reminded of, NEON FM’s mobile app, which lets you adjust game options while you wait.
VR Sense Testing In Japan
Since we’re on the subject of such games, Kevin W. pointed me to a location test report for Koei Tecmo’s VR Sense arcade game. We mentioned this one in our report about upcoming Japanese arcade games and Koei Tecmo has been giving it a number of location tests in Japan.
According to Ariesu, there were two units setup for play that appear to be linked. The per game charge was set to 800 yen. This was setup to be paid to the shop staff although there is apparently a coin mechanism on the game itself. As we saw with the VR Sense when it was first unveiled, it is an arcadeified PSVR station, with the PSVR googles themselves being worn by the user who also controls the action with a PS4 Dual Shock. What is supposed to make this one more compelling that simply operating a PSVR at home are the additional effects. Users need to fasten their seat belt first (not saying that as a phrase, it’s a literal requirement) then pick their game and get to feel things like leg ticklers, force feedback in the seat (although it is not a motion unit), water spray and smells. The user who wrote up the test played the Jockey game and the Dead Or Alive Extreme Sense game, mentioning that in the latter you can “feel the smell from the girls all the time.” Otherwise, he doesn’t provide any other feedback on how the experience is, from what I can see.
I could see Dave & Busters as well as Round1USA give this one a chance out West although the real question will be, how does it earn. I have my doubts that locations would get away with $8 a pop but I believe a lot of the VR arcades out there charge something like $1 a minute. What do you think about the VR Sense?
Linking your mobile phone with an arcade game has so many interesting interaction possibilities. It would be relatively simple too for modern PC type arcade hardware to use onboard wiifi in adhoc mode. As a player you could use your phone to change in game weapons, shot rate, maps, etc. As an observer, you would get game score/stats, current player profiles, even interact with the player in the game in some limited fashion.
That reminds me, NEON FM does have arcade-to-mobile integration with their app. It lets you adjust game options while you wait your turn. They probably would offer the standard to follow in that regard but major game makers only seem interested in offering barebones QR code score sharing :/