The Guide To Choosing the VR System for your Family Entertainment Center based on Technology and Footprint
Entertainment centers can benefit from VR Attraction because they focus on enhancing the guest experience and providing unique memories for your guests. A Virtual Reality System can make a great attraction if it fits your center’s overall vibe, your square footage, and your demographic. This article will talk about the VR technologies on the market and the different footprints of a VR Arena.
Types of VR Technology
There are a lot of different types of VR attractions out there that are used in entertainment centers. Broadly speaking, there are 4 types: tethered, wireless, simulators, and large-scale free-roam systems.
Tethered VR System
In a tethered system, a powerful and high-quality VR Headset is connected through a cable to computers that run the VR games. It’s quite simple, each headset is connected via a wire to a computer. The most used VR headsets for this setup are HTC Vive Pro Headsets, Valve Index, and others. As computers are concerned, they are VR-ready computers, this means they are high-end PCs, built using the latest parts, to assure a sturdy operation without tech failures.
1. The content is way better (the tethered VR gives more graphical details as it’s running the game from the high-end computer
2. They are very reliable, the physical connection, the wire link between the headset and the computer give you a steady stream of data. You won’t have any interruptions during the games.
3. The VR-ready computers allow you to play complex VR games with really high-quality graphics, and, as you’ll see further on, content is king in VR.
4.Headsets like the HTC Vive Pro have a proven track record in commercial use. They are sturdy, dependable and they don’t break easily.
5.Safety. Tethered VR Attractions pin the user in a certain spot. They can move to a certain extent, but they don’t go running off or bumping into other guests.
6.Operational flow. These kinds of systems are very commercial friendly and very practical. The guests go into the arena, an operator helps them with the headsets, an easy task, and they are ready to go. When they’re done, wipe the headsets with an antibacterial tissue, and the next group can play.
1. The wire used to connect the headset to the computer might get disconnected or broken sometimes, if the installation is not done right, and it’s important to find a vendor that helps you with spares and parts fast with zero hustle.
2. Limited movement inside the VR environment because users are pinned in one spot. However, in Arkadia VR Arena games, players can teleport inside the VR environment using special platforms, or they constantly respawn in different locations in the map of the game. We found a lot of ways to deal with the mobility issue and still retain the immersion factor.
Wireless VR System (Free-Roam VR Attraction)
A Free-Roam VR option doesn’t use any sort of wires, hence making it easier for people to move around in the dedicated space. These VR systems use either a standalone headset (it’s similar to the parts of a mobile phone assembled inside the headset) – like the Oculus Quest, or a VR backpack computer, or another type of mobile technology.
1. Free of movement
2. The gameplay might bring more complexity in some situations, as it is tailored for space and has certain immersive sensations,
3. Customers have a larger space to move around in.
1. If the connection fails, even for a short while, you’ll either experience glitches inside the game, or your game will stop altogether.
2. Battery life. All mobile or wireless devices function using batteries and they all have a life-span of about 2-3 hours, but take around 3-4 hours to fully recharge.
3. VR games. Using mobile or wireless technologies will not allow you to run complex or high-quality graphics games.
4. Concerns regarding the safety of guests. For multiplayer games, you have a huge chance of people bumping into each other, or losing their balance and falling, hurting themselves, or damaging the equipment
So what’s best? Tethered or Free-Roam?
Depending on what your requirements are for a VR Attraction, you have to analyze if the technology is reliable as well as the games you’re offering. If you want to create a great experience for your guests, one they cannot get at home, then a tethered option is what you should be aiming for. However, if you are looking for more complex gameplay, maybe a free-roam VR System would be a fit.
Virtual Reality Simulators are usually experiences designed for 1 or 2 people. This sort of solution can bring a lot of immersion as they use wind, moving platforms, and other elements. VR simulators don’t take a big amount of space and maintain the ease of use and high tech performance that we see in VR Arenas, as most of them are using premium VR Equipment.
1. They take a small amount of space and they can fit in most entertainment centers as an arcade game.
2. Easy to install, basically you just move it from a container into your center.
1. Only 2 people can enjoy the experience at a time, which can affect your throughput.
2. If the game is bad the guests can easily get motion sickness and never play it again.
3. The gameplay can get boring pretty fast for your guests (they only sit in one place, enjoying the VR experience).
4. There aren’t a lot of available options on the market that maintain a high standard in terms of graphics quality.
Large scale free-roam VR Attractions
When it comes to these types of attractions, they use a different type of wireless technology, but take a lot of space, they cost a lot of money, and they require a location with really huge traffic to make them profitable.
The Footprint of your VR Attraction
Most of the well-known systems out there have about the same footprint for a 4-player system (especially tethered solutions). There isn’t a standard here but, you don’t want the space to be too small and have people bumping into each other. At the same time, you also don’t want to use a lot of unnecessary space.
We tested a lot with the required space and found a solution that works for us. For example, the Arkadia 4-Player System is about 14.8 ft x 14.8 ft x 8.7 ft (4.5 m x 4.5 m x 2.6m), and our 6-Player system is about 14.8 ft x 20 ft x 8.7 ft (4.5 m x 6 m x 2.6 m). With simulators, you are looking at a smaller footprint (it depends a lot on the set-up but they usually talk 2/3 of the space an Arena would) while the Free Roam solutions are usually taking a lot more space, around double/triple the space of an Arena or sometimes even more.
Note: Right now, Arkadia is the only small-scale VR attraction with a 6 Player capacity. The best part about the 6-Player system is that it brings 50% more income than the 4-Player system. In those busy days and hours, that 50% will make a difference, and over time that difference will really add up.