Last week I was joined by Carl and Clair to have a blast around Secrets of the Empire down at the Westfield Centre in Stratford. It’s such an incredible, immersive experience we simply can’t get enough, and so it’s great news to read that virtual reality experiences like SOTE by The Void and other companies in that arena are blossoming to more and more locations across the States and the world.
The Hollywood Reporter took a look at this huge growth area of entertainment.
(I)n recent weeks, Fox entered the location-based VR entertainment business with its Alien: Descent, a free-roaming VR experience created by FoxNext Destinations that opened at The Outlets at Orange in Orange County, Calif. ($20 entry fee), while location-based VR startup The Void opened its newest location at The Grand Canal Shoppes in The Venetian and The Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas, starting with Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire from ILMxLAB ($30).
With VR for the home not growing as fast as many would have liked, VR stakeholders have concluded that location-based entertainment is the way to jumpstart the business. Greenlight Ventures even projects that location-based VR experiences will be a billion-dollar business by the end of the year and grow to $12 billion annually in five years.
“The most important thing for location-based entertainment is you have to give people something they can’t get at home in order to get the price point,” said Brooks Brown, global director and vp at Starbreeze Studios, which is currently looking to open its new Hero VR experience that put the viewer in Syria during a bombing.
The animated experience uses motion platforms (the floor shakes during the bombing), and 4D effects including heat (when you walk near flames) and wind (a blast at the point of the explosion). It also teamed up with DTS and is using DTS’ immersive sound system to create an involving sonic experience without the use of headphones.
Other VR installations rely on motion seats (Starbreeze’s The Mummy VR Experience) and props such as guns (i.e. you’ll uses these to fight off Stormtroopers in Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire). And an increasing number are multiplayer, enabling more social experiences for groups (Alien: Descent).