VRCade, a graduate of the Venture Lab Incubator run by MTN and the UCT Graduate School of Business, has launched a virtual reality arcade in Cape Town.
Over the next three weekends, a pop-up arcade will be run in Workshop17’s events space before VRCade permanently opens its doors on 25 August. A launch event will be held on the last weekend of the month, from 27-28 August.
This permanent arcade follows on the enthusiasm that met the VRCade concept during its debut at the CTICC’s recent Electronics & Gaming Expo.
“Virtual Reality (VR) is about to explode globally, but to have a really world class VR experience you need expensive equipment and lots of space. Most South Africans can’t afford either,” says Zach Joubert, MD at VRCade. “We want to make VR more accessible to people, giving them a top-notch experience without the investment.”
Joubert adds that VRCade also wants to make video gaming social again. “Before consoles, friends used to hang out in video game arcades. It was a social experience where people had shared experiences and a lot of fun. We want to bring that back.”
The plan is to do this in the following ways:
* Multiplayer VR gaming and VR experiences. Networked VR rigs let gamers enter the same virtual environment together. Currently, there are four rigs with plans to scale these up.
* Watch friends play VR from the player’s perspective. Each rig is connected to a TV enabling people hanging out at the VRCade to watch what’s happening from the player’s perspective.
* Mixed-reality green-screening: Even more compelling than watching from the player’s perspective is merging VR with the real world using green screens. In about two weeks VRCade will allow audience members to watch their friends inside of the VR environment.
Joubert says the most popular game at the Expo was HordeZ, a zombie shoot-em-up, which is one of the latest, greatest and most immersive games available. “Everyone over the age of seven is welcome to come and have fun at the VRcade,” says Joubert. “No prior gaming experience is required, although your gaming friends might have an edge over you at the start.”
VRCade is running promotional prices for August, with an additional 33% discount for anyone who books in advance. Qualify for a further 15% off with user-generated content by posting your gaming experience at VRCade to its Facebook and Twitter pages.