The Virtual Arena: New Concepts Launching For VR Entertainment
Kevin Williams looks into the developments at two recent trade shows.
Developments in the Out-of-Home VR entertainment scene continues to gather pace, and several high-profile conferences and exhibitions have acted as a lightning rod to galvanise the circulation of the latest information on developments – industry specialist and VRFocus columnist Kevin Williams, charts the latest developments.
With both the Future of Immersive Leisure (FOIL) conference in Las Vegas and the Euro Attractions Show (EAS’17) taking place in Berlin, Germany recently – there have been a number of major developments spied on and off these trade show floors. We will chart some of the most interesting developments.
Following the launch of the FOIL’17 event, announcements came thick and fast from a number of the sponsors and presenters during the two-day event:
Revealed for the first time during the conference keynote, Douglas Trumbull lifted the veil on his new development. Revealing ‘MAGI’ – the system is an immersive theater pod concept harnessing super high frame rates and large-scale image depth to revolutionize the cinema experience. Creating an immersive cinematic experience without the need for head-mounted displays. First prototype versions of the system are planned for release soon.
The Canadian company launched their entrance into the virtual reality (VR) arcade sector during FOIL’17 with their standalone ARKAVE VR platform. Using a mixture of backpack VR and standalone VR experiences the enclosed environment intends to offer strong throughput in a small space.
The Austrian based operation also came to FOIL’17 and revealed their plans for a totally revolutionary immersive platform. Called the Sensarium, this unique system is an immersive pod, using personal HD dome display technology, haptic effects to create a totally unencumbered immersive experience.
Author’s Note – A detailed rundown of the subjects covered and the other developments charted at FOIL’17 will follow shortly.
Moving to the EAS’17 event – the gathering of the leading amusement and attraction developers ahead of the close of year convention saw a number of brand new developments revealed:
The UK based company presented WePlayVR at the event, and also gave a sneak-peek at their next game design. This backpack VR enclosure has already seen eleven units deployed in the field; and during EAS’17 the company revealed a partnership with amusement supplier BANDAI NAMCO Amusement Europe to represent the platform.
Polymorph / Asterion VR
The French operation revealed for the first time their brand new experience Virtual Rabbids The Big Maze. Part of the company’s partnership with consumer game publisher Ubisoft, the Asterion VR Virtual Arcade enclosure has been developed to play a VR game experience using HTC headsets and PC backpack – traversing through virtual shooting experience.
The Italian developer of 4D motion film content promoted the launch of their latest VR movie releases Aztec VR and Dystopia VR. The company has already amassed a catalogue of experiences that can be run on the current HMD’s applied in special VR equipped 4D motion-rides – a aspect of the business that is gaining momentum.
The UK based media based attraction manufacturer held a major press event to announce that they had partnered with Frontgrid to develop a new VR-based attraction called ParadropVR. To be launched in 2018, the attraction uses VR headsets and special harness system that allows guests to experience a virtual paraglide, incorporating a game experience.
Chinese VR Park developer and operator presented their latest technology to the attendees at the German exhibition – one big surprise was the first Western siting of the wholly Chines built DaPeng ‘DPVR E3’ head-mounted display. The incredibly light system, with a resolution of up to 2560×1440, and using AMOLED screens licensed from Samsung. The system in a strong competitor to Western alternatives – especially as DaPeng are keen to support the Out-of-Home entertainment scene.
EAS’17 is the prelude show to the major November event in Orlando called IAAPA. (You can read last December’s two-part article here on IAAPA 2016.) The massive trade convention will gather the international cream of amusement and attraction professionals to see the latest designs and developments in the field – and it is expected that new VR attractions will play a pivotal part in this years’ show. VRFocus will be in the heart of the action and will be reporting back on developments.