Cedar Fair, the theme park company behind the famous Cedar Point park and 13 others, is set to trial virtual reality technology on one of the company’s many roller coasters.

During a Q2 2015 earnings conference call, CEO Matt Ouimet spoke to “future growth initiatives” for the company. Alongside projects like park-wide WiFi and mobile apps, virtual reality is seen to have potential to create flexible experiences with less money.

“Current R&D efforts are focused not just on ride based attractions, but other applications which can be applied to every form of entertainment we offer…,” Ouimet said. “This fall we will test a virtual reality application on an existing coaster. I repeat, this is only a test. But it starts to give you a flavor for the opportunities that could happen over time where we could create a compelling, and reprogrammable, experience with less capital. We expect to be in a position shortly to announce other projects of this nature.”

See Also: How Two Indie Devs Snuck a Concealed Oculus Rift and Laptop onto a Roller Coaster for the Ride of a Lifetime

Ouimet didn’t specify the park or roller coaster that would be used as a testbed, nor which VR technology would be employed. During the call the company also reported a $14 million increase in earnings over the same quarter from the prior year.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • kalqlate

    Ahh, very cool with great potential. One example: Because the effects of acceleration and gravity are equivalent, a zipping in and out, round and about tour of the solar system or galaxy could be playing on the VR headset while the person’s body is zipping in and out, round and about the roller coaster. Of course, a more down to earth scenario is just simply painting a new environment–say for example an Indiana Jones vista, a Jurassic Park vista, a Mars vista, or any interesting movie vista for that matter–instead of the relatively bland amusement park environment. How cool if a relatively mundane mister is presented in VR as a HUGE waterfall that the track goes through leading into a tour of the hidden Bat Cave. A much more thrilling experience. TONS of potential here!

    • kalqlate

      This would most simply be implemented with mobile VR–Gear VR perhaps. With considerably more effort, PCs and VR ports could be built in. Regardless, as each rider/viewer has to have their own perspective, each rider/viewer could select from a menu of available experiences. During any particular ride, each rider/viewer could be having an experience shared or independent from other riders/viewers.

      • kalqlate

        Eventually, a growing catalog of tens to hundreds of experiences could be chosen from to keep riders coming back for more and more. This type of entertainment will truly be amazing when VR advances to human-eye fidelity and full FOV.