For anyone who thinks the Virtual Reality components of their favorite gaming system are priced to high for admission, or for those who just don’t want more tech cluttering up their living room, there is a new option for experiencing the unique aspects of being placed within a video game world.
A company called Sandbox VR, one of the first official Virtual Reality Gaming Centers in Canada, located in Richmond, B.C., (which is also getting Canada’s first E-Sports arena) launched just last month. The store manager, Ian Chang, wants to make a big push to be the preeminent entertainment center, and feels that Virtual Reality is a great way to do so. He says that he “believe[s] (VR) is the next generation movie theatre. Instead of you sitting there watching a movie or playing a game, you are in the experience yourself.” When visiting, the players attach various sensors to their limbs so the game can follow their movements, and are also given a backpack to wear that vibrates like a regular video game controller when the player is attacked. And for anyone who has seen a CGI-heavy movie and thought, “I’d like to hang out in that really green room”, well, you’re in luck– after the equipment has been donned, the players enter one such room, where the action will “take place”. In fact, Ian Chang stated that they “are using the exact same equipment and film sets as whats being used for a special effects movie.”
The company launched in 2016 and already has stores in the U.S., Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. Currently, they have 3 different games– two of which are a zombie shooter (of course) and some sort of fight with aliens in space, with Chang saying that they plan to introduce 8 more experiences by the end of 2019. So far, each game can be played in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, and prices range from $135 CAD for a room with 3 people, up to $275 CAD for 6 people.
Anyone who doesn’t live in the area, or plan on heading to B.C. any time soon will be happy to hear that they also have hopes on expanding across Canada. When talking to Chang about his decision to start in Vancouver, he said “Vancouver is very unique, very multicultural, and a lot of people come to Richmond for entertainment…“, and therefore they “believe this (Richmond) is a good place to get our first exposure to the Canadian market.” The rest of the Canada won’t have to wait too long either, as the plans are to open 20 more centers North America by the end of 2019, and “will be moving to Toronto and Calgary very soon.”
If and when they open a center in or near you, would you try out a Virtual Reality Gaming Center? Or would you prefer to stay at home with your own Virtual Reality set? Let us know in the comments!