Virtual Reality (VR) is all over the news, but have you had a chance to see it for yourself? If you have tried VR on a smartphone or Google Cardboard, you have only experienced the tip of the VR iceberg. Those devices are attractive from a cost perspective, but they do not have the screen resolution or tracking capabilities which blunts the experience. However, experiencing high-quality VR can be challenging unless you invest in hardware which can cost thousands of dollars for the goggles, sensors, hand controls and necessary computing power.
The cost and equipment barriers combined with major innovations in VR technology have given rise to a new market opportunity -- VR experiences and arcades. Several pioneering companies have moved into this market to make VR accessible to a wider audience. And this is global phenomenon; China already has over 3000 VR arcades in operation.
So where do you go in the U.S. to experience VR?
AMC VR Experience
AMC IMAX Theaters now offer a VR Experience in many locations. IMAX has invested in the latest VR headset and control technology for a deeper level of realism. Step into the role of a character like a superhero from the Justice League movie or play a game with your friends in one of their IMAX theaters.
Lofty labels like hyper-reality are typically off-putting, but this time the label is deserved. The Void has created hyper-realistic experiences like Ghostbusters in New York City and Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire at Disney Land and Disney World. They are immersive explorations that incorporate vibration, smell, touch, interactivity and stereo sound with the visual story. Participants don custom VR equipment disguised as part of the story's costume and step into a maze that is filled with sensors. The Void also incorporates full-body haptic feedback and sensory stimulus like piped-in smells to make you feel like you are part of the story itself.
VR World NYC
Purchase a pass in this VR arcade to try over fifty different VR experiences. Play single- or multi-player games with friends or check out the Moveo flight simulator. Guides lead you through each experience and ensure that you have a full understanding of the equipment, so it's perfect for first timers. VR World is an excellent way to sample many different types of VR--games, painting or short films.
VR Junkies boasts the largest collection of licensed VR content from developers around the world so you can experience a wide variety of VR games, art, music and films. VR Junkies also works to provide access to titles not available to other arcades or the general public. Play single-player games on your own or multi-player with friends, or join a regional or global challenge and see your rankings on their leaderboards. VR Junkies has locations all over the US and Canada and is actively expanding their number of locations through a franchise model.