From Power Slides to Blue Shells, HTC Vive Talks Mario Kart Arcade GP VR

VRFocus talk with Graham Wheeler to learn more about Mario Kart Arcade GP VR now open in London.

Out of all the virtual reality (VR) titles that have been released arguably the one that people have most looked forward to getting to try is Mario Kart Arcade GP VR. This experience was released in Japan but now, thanks to HTC Vive the title has made it’s way to London. After getting to try out the title VRFocus’ own Nina Salomons talked with Graham Wheeler, VP Sales, Product and Operations HTC Vive, Europe to discuss HTC’s involvement with the title.

“How we’re involved is basically making sure that we have great VR experiences everywhere where people can try them out and then get to understand what VR can do.” Wheeler explains: “So here with Mario Kart VR, first time in London, it’s just amazing. It adds that immersion to another level when you’re driving in Mario Kart you grab out, you chuck a turtle shell over to the next person and that’s the idea is showing people what you can do in VR and then hey want to try it at home.”

HTC have worked hard to be able to bring the popular title over to London at the VR Zone Portal located within the Hollywood Bowl at The O2. The location allows for up to four players to jump into a race with each other and see who is able to win the mushroom cup within VR. This release has been made possible thanks to the working relationship which HTC have with other parties which Wheeler explained by saying: “The relationship we have with the VR zone guys and Namco Bandai in Japan, so we’re just here making sure that it runs perfectly for these guys and making sure the setup is working great and making sure everyone gets a great experience.”

Mario Kart Arcade GP VR screenshot

The setup for Mario Kart Arcade GP VR is built up of numerous components starting with the HTC Vive head-mounted display. They are running with the original Vive HMD for the moment but Wheeler does explain they are getting the Vive Pro setup and ready for the experience shortly. Users will also get to wear the deluxe audio strap for improved immersive and comfort, along with the HTC Vive Trackers which are used to track the hands in VR. This is important because it is what helps make Mario Kart VR stand out from other racing titles by offering that option to grab items to throw at other racers. All of this is then brought to life even further thanks to an actual kart setup which you sit in complete with a steering wheel.

“Everyone has come out with a massive smile on their face.” Said Wheeler when asked how the response to the experience has been: “We sent some of our office here when I came back from a business trip and literally the entire office just didn’t stop talking about it. So it just shows that even though we’ve been in VR a lot it’s a great kind of company to be in and VR experiences but this is just really immersive level people know Mario Kart, everyone has played it so they just naturally go into it so even the skeptics love Mario Kart VR.”

The Mario Kart Arcade GP VR experience is now open in London and the full interview with Wheeler is available to watch below. If you are curious what VRFocus thought about Mario Kart Arcade GP VR then read our hands-on and for all things VR in the future, keep reading.

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