A series of virtual reality (VR) theme parks is poised to fill the void left behind by arcades. The Void (Visions Of Infinite Dimensions) promises large 60-by-60-foot rooms in which visitors can experience VR, unbounded by chairs and headset cables.
The Void is set to debut in Pleasant Grove, Utah in the summer of 2016. From there, creator Ken Bretschneider hopes to propagate the VR at locations around the world.
Bretschneider sold his cybersecurity business a few years ago and has poured the proceeds into The Void, investing $13 million in the center so far. He intially wanted to build a massive entertainment complex, but he fell in love with VR and began focusing his efforts on making the tech available to virtually anyone.
"It became really apparent to me that we needed to build a facility where people could come to and not have to worry about hooking up virtual reality, making it work and trying to run around inside their house," said Bretschneider.
The Void will use its own VR equipment, rather than leveraging tech from Oculus VR or Valve and HTC's Vive. The center will kit patrons out with VR headsets, force-feedback vest and gloves that will enable the wearer to interact with objects in the virtual space.
"Only limited by imagination, our advanced Virtual-Reality technologies allow you to see, move, and feel our digital worlds in a completely immersive and realistic way," stated the company.
Along with the VR gear, The Void will use its environment to add more elements to convince visitors that they are truly somewhere else. The Void will use mechanical chairs for two that will rotate 360 degrees and tilt to simulate motion.
The centers will also use "gaming pods" that will deliver a variety of sensations such air pressure, cold, heat, moisture, touch, vibrations, elevation changes, smells and even simulated liquids. Even the walls will be re-configurable, said Bretschneider.
"If we want an area to feel like a metal surface, it can feel like metal. If we want it to be organic, and we want it to feel like a cave wall, we can make it feel like a cave wall," he said.
Right now, Bretschneider isn't ready to detail pricing for visits to The Void, but he says the half-hour experiences will be affordable.
Take a look at what The Void will offer: