Why VR Games Now Are More Suited for Arcade Centers Rather Than at Home?
The introduction of widespread and effective VR technology has fascinated people from all walks of life. From the simply curious to the technology and applications enthusiast, people have been lining in queues the world over to experience this so called VR for themselves or acquire one of the said devices for personal use.
At the low end of VR, the technology has become rampant on mobile devices. The high end smart phones are able to run VR apps and games and when coupled with cost effective to the practically cheap headsets, can deliver an effective VR environment albeit at a low grade.
High grade immersive VR on the other hand is very expensive and quite obtrusive as well. You cannot just insert your multi-purpose smart phone into the visor slot as the HMD’s are usually one piece affairs with tethered cables linking to a powerful microcomputer which would make the old mainframes look like pocket calculators.
High grade Virtual Reality is current VR at its best and really immerses you into another world where you’ve got to experience it to believe it, awesome but costly. Should you decide to purchase a device for your own usage and can afford to do so, well and good as a high end VR set like the Oculus Rift/Touch can cost up to a few thousand dollars considering the investment not only on the HMD but the PC and peripheral equipment as well. Aside from this, you wil have to consider the room space needed for a VR experience.
Considering the cost and considerations required, high-end VR equipment, sales have not been really able to take off as expected. It’s kind of expensive for the average Joe who most of the time will have to settle for a less costly and practical alternative at the moment like mobile VR.
However, in the computer and technology industry, innovation due to need has always been one of the major factors that continually drives development and high-end VR for the masses is no exception.
Now that Joe wants to enjoy real immersive VR with his family, though (let’s face it) can’t really afford to set up one at home, he can still do so at a very affordable price by taking his family to a VR Arcade. Also, this does not only apply to families, as students, friends, workers and everyone who wants to experience the Virtual World can simply head to a place where people can congregate and experience VR in a public and social environment.
Video game arcades have been around for quite a long time as there are games (which started particularly in the 1980’s) which are console-slot machine based and can only really be enjoyed as such with a crowd of other fellow gamers watching from behind. The video game arcade has always been a point of major influence in computer games and even films like WarGames and Tron. If you want to experience the latest craze in video games, go to the arcade and VR is of course no exception.
In fact, because of what VR can deliver, the arcades are now starting to go VR. This provides a very practical alternative to the current cost as well as the physical limitations of the technology. Even if you had a complete very expensive VR set-up at home, you wouldn’t be able to use it the way you sit down in front of your PC or TV game console screen for hours on. 30 minutes in VR is already considered a long time as the side effects over prolonged periods of use may end up harmful to a persons overall well being.
In lieu of this, a VR arcade can provide a very practical alternative way of experiencing high-end VR. This not only considers the cost of the equipment but also the social factor as mentioned as well as a way of providing the gradual introduction of the technology and it’s usage as it continually develops and prices of the aforementioned equipment starts to go down and finally be accessible to average Joe.
Let’s take a short look at the equipment cost and other things that may be needed and why it would be better for arcade owners to shoulder them than taking it out from an average paycheck (Of course with the exception of the really rich who own companies and so on and so forth).
The space needed would already be a starting point of consideration. Not everyone lives in a spacious environment or can allocate at least a 15 by 15 feet room space for let say an HTC Vive and its accompanying sensors. You can run VR sitting down but why waste the experience in the first place.
Equipment wise, an HMD may cost from around 600 to 1000 USD, depending on what brand and where you buy it. You do have to consider shipping cost, retail and all. That’s just the HMD, the thing is, you can’t use your good old Core Duo for this. You’re not gonna play CSGO or Medal of Honor. You will need the power to run those power hungry VR apps that will require top of the line CPU and GPU capabilities. That’s around another 1000 USD and even more.
You’ll need controllers, handheld, sensor based, etc, which would roughly amount to several hundred dollars again. For those who really don’t have space and would welcome other alternatives, a VR harness would set one back for around 700 to 1000 USD. Summing it all up, if you’re Joe, maybe spending around 1USD per minute on a VR arcade may not be such a bad idea. Most of them charge along that rate so an experience of 30 minutes would roughly be around 30 USD.
The arcades can handle the cost as they are bound to get an ROI (return of investment) from all this. Besides, this people do a lot of serious feasibility studies before plunking down lots of cash, even up to millions like IMAX is doing.
They can pay for the space, power consumption, maintenance, employees and even the custom-made VR games contracted from VR game development studios which can run up to several hundred thousand dollars.
Big time VR arcades are being set-up in the US and Japan. The Japanese have their major entertainment and game companies heavily investing into the VR arcade concept like SEGA, Bandai-Namco and of course Sony. Likewise China and the rest of Asia are following suit by specializing on small scale VR Arcades that provide at least the basic VR experience and a little bit more. VR Cafes are starting to mushroom around Shanghai as well as in South-East Asia like Malaysia and the Philippines.
At this point, VR is going global whether the average Joe can afford it or not and once again providing new life for the video game arcade industry and for everyone from all walks of life a chance to experience the best of Virtual Reality.