In a recent episode of Gunter’s Universe, a weekly VR panel show that takes place in the VRChat social space, an interesting melange of newly revealed information about The VOID came to light. For one, the Salt Lake City location is considering itself is a ‘beta center’ for a much larger international roll-out.
Update (7/8/15): The Void team has reached out to Road to VR to affirm that a letter of intent (LOI) with National Geographic has not yet been signed and that the two companies are only in discussions at the moment. Original article continues below.
The VOID, a mixed reality experience that combines VR worlds with physical spaces to match, sees open territory for expansion on their horizons.
During an episode of Gunter’s Universe, CTO James Jensen revealed that “we’re already looking at land in 10 other locations, so once we get our beta center open, we’re going to immediately start building [them]. We’re hoping to get about 230 locations across the US and internationally within the next 5 years.”
The beta center is opening in Summer of 2016 just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Fellow panel guest Shannon Norrell of the proposed ‘VRCamp’ at Burning Man, is collaborating with The VOID to offer an all expenses paid trip to the center’s Salt Lake City beta center as a top-level reward in a soon-to-follow Kickstarter campaign. The unrevealed funding tier will include meals, rental car, and lodging so a lucky (and probably pretty well-off) backer can preview The Void before its opening to the general public next year.
Road to VR’s Chris Madsen (also a panel guest) went headfirst into The VOID back in May, saying in a hands-on preview that “…as an experienced explorer of virtual reality and a Rift DK2 owner myself, it was exciting to experience first-hand how wireless tracking combined with the pod environments contributed to achieving and maintaining long moments of presence.”
During the show, Jensen detailed an impending ‘Letter of Intent’ (LOI) with National Geographic to create branded experiences for the beta center’s launch.
“We’re actually signing a deal with national geographic to do some experiences for them… [the possibilities are] endless, you can go to depths of the ocean, go to Atlantis, see crazy sea monsters at the bottom of the ocean. They were talking about maybe doing an experience where you’re jumping through portals and visiting all kinds of different places across the world, which would be kind of a cool experience, and release for our premier next year.”
For a space that according Jensen “will be open 24/7” to serve VR geeks like us at any time of night, the possibility of a bricks-and-mortar arcade for high-end VR experiences never sounded more tempting.