The Virtual Arena: The End Of 2016 & The End Of VR’s Phase Four

We start 2017 with the final VRFocus column of 2016 from leading exponent of the out-of-home entertainment sector, Kevin Williams. In this column, Williams takes a retrospective glance at the consumer virtual reality (VR) scene for a change and observes what we should take from the coming New Year.

It was called the “Year of VR”, but 2016 proved more the starting gun for this latest attempt at mainstream adoption, and with it came a major downgrading of what could be achieved. And as it comes to an end, 2016 seems to be the period when the expectations of over four years ago, met reality, and those same hype-filled expectations were managed.

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Sega Amusements Returns To Amusement Operations With Sega Prizezone In Hertfordshire, UK

This will most likely be the last post of 2016 and given the news through the year, it is fitting that it is about another facility opening their doors. This one has some significance to it through Sega Amusements International, however. The latest issue of The Stinger Report provides some background…then we’ve got some pictures from the new venue:

Sega Prizezone Front

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Networking in a Winter Wonderland

Following the spring 2015 tour to The View from The Shard, London Palladium and Making of Harry Potter, the EME (Europe and Middle East) division of the TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) paid a pre-Christmas visit to three more attractions in the British capital.

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HTC Launch Viveport Arcade, Partnering with Leke VR to Open “1000s of Locations”

HTC’s out of home VR initiative is taking shape as the company officially unveils plans for Viveport Arcade in China and Taiwan and a partnership with Leke VR’s “offline content distribution system” in a thousand locations before the close of 2016 and thousands more by 2017’s end.

Read more at Road to VR

Sensics is Building a VR Headset Specially Made for Arcades and Theme Parks

OSVR co-founder and long-time HMD maker Sensics is building a new ‘Goggles for Public VR’ headset which is designed for the unique needs of the Out-of-Home market.

While the same consumer-facing headsets that you’ll find on a shelf at Best Buy are popping up in VR arcades across China and elsewhere, Sensics is aiming to build a VR headset that’s optimized for the Out-of-Home market, consisting of businesses like theme parks, entertainment venues, and arcades.

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Vision XS Conference 2016: Why Should I Stay?

On the 7-8th Dec 2016, a select group of operators and attraction industry professionals met at the Vision XS Operators Conference held in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.

Hosted by leisure industry specialists, Vision XS, the theme of the conference was “Why Should I Stay?”. It explored the positives and negatives of adding various forms of accommodation to a day visitor attraction. Delegates also heard about the revenue possibilities. Attendees heard from key speakers and existing attractions that have already taken the leap to become a resort.

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The Virtual Arena: The Theme Park Points The Way For VR Attractions (Part 1)

Taking place in Orlando, Florida during November, the largest theme park and amusement entertainment convention proved a valuable Launchpad for the establishment of virtual reality (VR) technology in the commercial entertainment sector. The 98th International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA) Expo 2016, covering over 550,000 square feet of show space populated with inflatables, the latest arcade releases, and the most advanced roller coaster platforms.

But also spread throughout the event were the latest VR attraction technology.

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Say Hello to your “Hyper-Reality” Future!

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Why Japan’s arcades are its game industry’s cutting-edge labs

Arcades aren’t what they used to be, especially in the West. They’re looked upon as places for retro nostalgia, not where you’ll find some of the most interesting games available. But that’s where Japan has an advantage as some of the arcades are being used to test cutting-edge virtual reality games.

A Taito game station in Tokyo.

Read More at Venture Beat

Universal Studios Hollywood drops 3-D from Harry Potter attraction

Theme park officials were tight-lipped about the change, releasing this brief statement: “We continually evaluate our theme park ride experiences, and enabling our guests to enjoy Forbidden Journey without the use of 3-D is one example of how we are assessing various opportunities.”

Theme park experts and fans speculate that the 3-D effect may have been removed because — when combined with the moving seats — too many riders became nauseated.

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Read More at LA Times