Shopping Malls Become VR Hotspots

WOW.

So after the mind blowing conference we had earlier this week and the exploration of reality and virtual reality, I decided to fall even deeper into the rabbit hole and I realized that virtual reality has not only invaded classrooms, but also, our shopping malls.

That’s right, virtual reality has been used to re-invigorate shopping malls that had a decline in attendance, using the empty retail space for VR experiences. According to an article from TechCrunch, The Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah, was created for the 2002 Olympics, and was once a bustling hub for shoppers. Ironically with the rise of online shopping, customers are spending more time buying from home instead of going out to the malls.

Ryan Burningham, founder of The Void, made the decision to move his VR facilities to the mall for it’s low cost. According to The Void, it’s virtual reality that is truly immersive, involving things that you can feel.

SCAFFOLDING

They even have a ghostbusters game where you go around blasting ghosts with your proton streamer.SLIMER

And they say that it’s an interactive interface, giving you real-world objects that correspond with the ones in the game for you to interact with. On Wednesday, I briefly mentioned haptics, and man, does this deliver. SPLIT SCREEN

They even designed a specific gun for The Void, which is part of their Rapture series, to help users get a feel for the weapons they use in game.RAPTURE MARK IV GUN & HMD

Users can also team up with one another and enter the same game, with up to four people in each game. So family and friends can take on ghostbusters together, or search through secret tunnels. While we mentioned the total isolation you get with VR and lack of community, it’s interesting to see that they’re trying to incorporate a multiplayer aspect to the whole experience.

This team has gotten rave reviews on The Void experience, and are working on expanding the experience to other locations.

THE VOID co-founders

James Jensen, Curtis Hickman, Ken Bretschneider

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One thought on “Shopping Malls Become VR Hotspots

  1. This looks super cool and I, for one, hope this signals a return to one of my favorite youth experiences – the arcade. As much as VR can be frighteningly solitary, the possibility of sharing a gaming space like this brings me back to the very real, physical encounters in the video arcade in the 80s and early 90s. That culture died out quite a bit when console gaming technology improved, but I hope this sort of thing ends up rejuvenating that social/spatial gaming experience. Most writing on video games focuses on games within the home, leaving out the cultural experience of the arcade, so I feel like scholarship in that realm is lacking a bit. The real question is going to be how they’re going to make the process efficient, given how much space it may require and how few people can participate at once. They may need to draw inspiration from other non-digital experiences, like the amusement park or paintball. Or, to bring it back to the 80s, lasertag.

    Like

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