Consumer virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are great, but most owners simply don’t have the space to host experiences that can be enjoyed with friends. To fill that void, Seattle-based VR arcade specialist VRstudios has announced a new system dubbed the VRcade Arena.
VRcade Arena is described as a “warehouse-scale” platform that will allow businesses to offer multiplayer VR experiences to the public. The hardware streamlines the entire process of setting up the correct environment for players, even down to software integration of first- and third-party equipment, according to a report from Road to VR.
Most of the first wave of VR arcades simply use consumer headsets that are configured and networked by technically minded staff. VRcade Arena looks set to simplify the process somewhat, which should make it easier for businesses like amusement parks, casinos, and movie theaters to get in on the VR boom.
The platform supports multiplayer for up to eight players, making full use of the proprietary wireless headsets developed by VRstudios. Additional peripherals like motion controllers and mock pistols are also wireless, allowing users to take on a wide range of different experiences without having their movements constricted.
The current list of games supported by VRcade Arena includes Time Zombies, Barking Irons, PlanktOs: Crystal Guardians, and VRcade Drone Storm. The platform ships with various pieces of software designed to make the most of such a large-scale multiplayer set-up.
Over the past few years, we’ve started to see more and more facilities offer up all the necessary hardware and peripherals to give visitors a full VR experience. Last year, The Void delivered a Ghostbusters-themed experience in New York City where players could throw on a proton pack and go on the hunt for some restless spirits.
This kind of VR content can be amazing — but it’s typically bespoke, since most games designed for consumer headsets are designed for a single player. To make VRcade Arena a success, VRstudios needs to provide both a functional hardware set-up and enticing software that makes the most of its unique capabilities, and that’s no small feat.