Move over Nintendo Wii, the new age of virtual reality entertainment has arrived in the form of a virtual theme park. A Utah-based startup is taking on the noble task of creating the world’s first virtual reality playground called The Void.
The Void would bring visitors to a physical location- one of their Virtual Entertainment Centers (VECs), where they can play a series of games and explore digital worlds with the help of specially engineered headsets, suits, and gloves. It will include seven 60×60 foot rooms in which players can explore and wander around immersive worlds for a vivid and multi-sensory experience. Using the most advanced VR technology, players can feel like they are right in the middle of a video game.
Ken Bretschneider is the brains behind this new project, and developed the idea for a virtual reality theme park after being unsatisfied with the quality of virtual reality entertainment available for the home market. Unlike at-home VR technology, this themepark would have visitors on their feet, exploring, running around, actively participating in the games and not just sitting with a controller and headset.
The Void is only one case in the latest surge of developments in the field of virtual reality technology. Considering that we have the ability to construct entire virtual worlds, it is interesting to imagine the ways in which VR can be used to impact how we imagine, plan, construct, and experience new spaces and cities. Virtual simulations have already been replacing the traditional form of physical modelling in some architectural firms that use digitalized simulations to receive public feedback, examine the impact of a new project, and address spatial issues prior to it even being built.
Facebook’s purchase of VR company Oculus in 2014 may signify that simulated reality technologies will be increasingly present in our daily lives, as they can be used to stretch the limitations of human experience. Even now, virtual reality is not saved for entertainment, as various forms of this technology are used in applications ranging from military to medicine.
Currently, The Void is still in its development stages, with the goal of opening in Pleasant Grove, Utah in Summer 2016.