When laser tag came into arcades and theme parks around the world in the 80s and 90s, a new industry of custom, commercial-grade laser tag hardware was born—coincidentally the same point in time when VR experienced its first massive hype cycle and went back into proverbial hibernation. Now that VR is back, location-based entertainment (LBE) facilities are eyeing virtual reality as ‘the next laser tag’, a place where a group of friends could go and experience something unique together. Enter VRstudios.
Update 07/05: VRstudios reached out to us to clarify that hardware shown in the previous version of this article was in fact only used in the company’s 2-player configuration, and that the new 8-player VRcade Arena uses different headsets and peripherals and games. The article has been updated to reflect this new information.
VRstudios, the Seattle-based global provider of VR arcade equipment, today announced the release of a new system called VRcade Arena which bills itself as a wireless ‘warehouse-scale’ VR platform that can provide multiplayer games and experiences for up to eight simultaneous users. Offered as a turnkey VR solution for businesses, VRcade Arena is built on the company’s proprietary Attraction Management Platform (AMP) that provides content, user analytics, and software/hardware integration of 1st and 3rd party equipment.
Designed for amusement parks, family entertainment centers, cinemas and casinos, VRcade Arena was created to make setting up and maintaining a multiplayer VR installation an easy task for businesses that otherwise would have to cobble together consumer-grade equipment. To boot, the company also offers users a fully wireless, optically-tracked experience together with VR headsets and corresponding motion controllers.
According to VRstudios Chief Marketing Officer T. Ron Davis, the VRcade Arena is a different system from the standard 2-player VRcade, and provides a different, unspecified VR headset than the standard VRcade setup as seen below.
“We use different devices and provide new and much more robust content in the VRcade Arena, tailored specifically for a large space, untethered, free roaming 8-player experience,” Davis told us. “All of our systems are based on our Attraction Management Platform (AMP) that allows us integrate industry standard hardware solutions as appropriate.”
Davis further told us that the VRcade Arena typically spans a 40’ x 60’ area, an expanded area in contrast to the maximum 30′ x 30′ area of the 2-player setup. The company will also be demoing the new VRcade Arena at IAAPA 2017- Orlando on the show floor in a 20′ x 70′ configuration.
Dave Ruddell, VRstudios’ cofounder and Chief Architect, says that the company currently operates more than 40 standard VRcade systems around the world, and that the new VRcade Arena system “enables an exciting new level of immersive out-of-home experiences for everyone, from casual VR enthusiasts to serious eSports competitors.”
The company’s 2-player VR system currently features a number of multiplayer titles including; Time Zombies, Barking Irons, planktOs: Crystal Guardians, and VRcade Drone Storm with the promise of more to come. The new eight-person, multiplayer system however is said to ship with content specifically designed to leverage the unique features that can only be experienced in a location-based ‘arena-scale’ system.