#550: VR World NYC Has an Open Buffet of 50+ VR Experiences


VR World NYC is a new VR arcade that opened on June 24th in New York City right next to the Empire State Building. They have three floors with 55 different VR experiences, and they’re using an all-you-eat buffet business model of paying $39-$49 to have unlimited access to play all of the available experiences. It’s a great opportunity for tourists and New York residents to get their first room-scale and 360 VR experiences, but it also has a bar, plenty of places to hang out, as well as a number of different multi-player social VR experiences.

Drew-ArnoldI happened to be in New York for the grand opening of VR World, and had a chance to catch up with Chief Creative Officer Drew Arnold and HR Manager Katya Stepanov to talk about the process of experiential design and curation of VR experiences. I also had a chance to check out the IMAX VR experiences at the AMC IMAX theater, as well as see The VOID’s Ghostbusters VR experience at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum


The challenge for a business like VR World is to market themselves to first-time users and foot traffic of casual tourists who are willing to explore for a couple of hours, but also have a streamlined system for if and when they do get really popular to still have it be a good user experience. They have a queuing system where you can sign up for a single VR experience if it’s busy, and then you can try out one of the other 50+ experiences that don’t have a line. But if they have too many people and get too popular, then they’re going to face what most VR events & digital out-of-home experiences struggle with is throughput and long lines. But they’re using an innovative approach of buying access to every experience, and then not trying to overplay or schedule it from there.

Other VR arcade options like IMAX VR has the approach where you have to buy individual $10 tickets for each experience that you do. IMAX VR also tends to have a number of premiere experiences not generally available yet, as well as some special VR equipment like DBOX chairs or a helicopter platform simulator with StarVR HMDs for The Mummy VR experience.

Both Sundance and Tribeca have moved to models where you have carte blanche access to all of the available experiences for a limited time, and this is a great blend of scheduled and unscheduled time that I feel like works really well for VR. There’s a certain amount of unpredictability for when a VR experience will begin or end, and having carte blanche access makes it so that you’re not constantly evaluating whether or not the individual experience that you’re having was worth the money that paid for it. With carte blanche access, it sometimes becomes more of question of is it worth waiting for other people to finish an individual experience, but overall you tend to feel like you got your money’s worth when you get to have a variety of different experiences.

VR World is perfect for first-time VR users or even for existing VR owners who want to try out a number of different commercially-available experiences without having to purchase them yourself. The price of admission is about what it would cost to purchase a single high-end VR experience, and there are plenty of the most popular VR experiences available to play. There are also a few experiences that use unique hardware peripherals that you’re likely not going to have at home, and I’d expect to see more and more of these types of experiences over time.

If you know anyone who is traveling to or who lives in New York who is interested in trying out VR for the first time, then VR World is the perfect place to send them. It’s located at 4 East 34th Street, and is open from 11am to 11pm Tuesday to Sunday and extended hours to 1am on the weekends.

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Music: Fatality & Summer Trip

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. My name is Kent Bye and welcome to The Voices of VR Podcast. So I was just in New York City for a couple of days and I had a chance to do a number of different immersive VR experiences that were in town. And so there was a brand new space that had just opened on Saturday, June 24th. It was called VR World NYC. It's right next to the Empire State Building on 34th Street. And they basically have like three floors and 55 different experiences that you can go and check out. And they're having a little bit of a different approach where it's an all-you-can-eat buffet where you pay a single price, either $39 before 3 p.m. or $49 after 3 p.m. And you can stay there as long as you want and try out as much VR as you can possibly do as long as there's not a ton of people there. So they're taking a little bit different approach, which is what most other places are doing, which is a pay per experience or something that is a big experience that you have to pay for. I also had a chance to check out the Ghostbusters experience as well as drop by the IMAX theater and I'll be talking about some of my takeaways from that at the end of this interview. But I had a chance to catch up with a couple of the creators of the VR world space. Drew Arnold and Katya Stepanoff, and they were kind of in charge of both setting up and curating the space and just designing the overall aesthetic and feel. And so I had a chance to talk to them about their process as well as their overall intention and goals for what they're trying to accomplish. So that's what we're going to be covering on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. And so this interview happened on Friday, June 23rd, 2017. at VR World was at a party for another event that was happening in town. It was the VR Societies, the Art of VR at Sotheby's. This was the closing night party with VR artists from around the world who had come in for this specific show. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:02:11.180] Katya Stepanov: I'm Katya Stepanov. I am working for VR World, developing the human resources department and essentially designing how people that come to our space will interact with the virtual reality itself. So how will people be guided in and out of the experience, especially in a space that features so many different types of experiences.

[00:02:32.082] Drew Arnold: Hi, I'm Drew Arnold. I am Chief Creative Officer here at VR World. I have about four years of experience in VR, putting around, experimenting, talking to people, hearing what objectives are from many sides of the border, everything from brands to agencies all the way down to technology creators and production companies.

[00:02:50.164] Kent Bye: Great, so this is like a VR arcade here on like East 34th Street, or how would you describe it? What is this place then?

[00:02:57.993] Drew Arnold: That's our no-no word. We don't describe ourselves as a VR arcade, even though we have games, because we want to tell a fuller story about VR here. Of course, we have all of the games that anybody could want, but we're telling stories all the way up to cinema, all the way through medical VR and real estate for VR. We want to tell the story of what's happening now and what's going to happen in the future because we see VR as a tool to deliver a lot of different powerful modules of technology, entertainment, and it goes across the board. And we think it's going to be ubiquitous very soon.

[00:03:29.162] Kent Bye: And what were some of the catalysts for starting this? Maybe you could tell me a bit about the backstory of how this came about.

[00:03:36.652] Katya Stepanov: I was brought to this space which when I came in the doors was the remnants of a Bolton's department store by a company that was working to create an innovator space here and they've since moved to many different spaces but that's how I was introduced to the space and I overheard all of these conversations about who will be the creative director of VR World. And I knew Drew, and I looked at the space and I thought, I just saw the vision of it. I thought this is someone who could actually use all of the incredible connections and this entire community of virtual reality. How do we give the community a space to exist, to make connections, to showcase their work, to have a drink? and it seemed like we're in the center of Manhattan to have the opportunity to build something here especially in the virtual reality space it was too good of an opportunity to pass up so I invited him here and he took the job and I actually began assisting him so we quickly sort of came together to build this vision everyone came together to support it and I think it's remarkable how many different fields everyone that works for our core team comes from so There's many different angles. It's partially why I think we span so many industries. It wasn't just an arcade. It's not just a movie theater for VR. So how do we feature a little bit of everything? And especially in Midtown, everyone from someone who's a hardcore gamer who wants to play games to come here, but also grandma who's never, could never imagine painting in 3D, right? And me being able to bring her somewhere where I know that experience is going to exist. And it's been pretty emotional, actually.

[00:05:16.150] Kent Bye: And so maybe you could talk a bit about the logistics in terms of when people come in, do they pay per hour, do they pay per experience, and maybe talk a bit about how it works for people coming in, how do they get connected to the thing that they want, but also how much time they have for each experience.

[00:05:31.156] Drew Arnold: It's an all-you-can-eat buffet. We want people to be able to explore the space, get what they want out of the experience, so we essentially just have a day pass. We want people to be able to walk off the street as a family or as individuals or dates or anything, be able to have that experience and we're open a little bit early, around 11 o'clock, and on weekends we'll close around 1, we may push it to 2, but we want different communities to come in the space and we want to make it as accessible as possible and we want them to get everything they want out of the experience.

[00:06:00.795] Katya Stepanov: You can stay for as long as you wish, so if you come before a certain hour, it's one price. If you come later, it's a little more expensive. We have the bar, we'll probably have some... fun activations and performances, different surprises in the space. So you can come in and experience as much as you wish before you'd like to leave.

[00:06:18.289] Kent Bye: I guess one thing in terms of throughput and deciding if it gets too crowded, then you come and you may not see anything. And so how do you manage stopping people from playing the experience? Or is that also unlimited? And how do you deal with throughput then?

[00:06:31.052] Drew Arnold: We have a massive space. So last night, for instance, we had 270 people in coming in within the two hours period of time. and we didn't have any queue systems or any lines because the space, we have 55 different experiences that can launch at any point in time across the space. So we think at any point in time, this is not just a go from VR to VR experience like a lot of places that we would normally go to, film festivals, etc. This is a communal space, this is a social space, so try a little bit, hang out with your friends, go to a different experience. But really we're focused on the socialization of VR and the human element of it. So we have things here that are not just VR related. It's a community that we want to build here, not just in terms of integrating VR creators and filmmakers, but the community at large who have no idea what VR is.

[00:07:18.676] Katya Stepanov: Also on the technical side, You can only be on one queue at one time, so you have to choose which experience you'd like, but there's so many that ultimately you'll find something that you can experience in the moment.

[00:07:31.028] Drew Arnold: When you come in, we have a digital kiosk system, so you get an RFID wristband, like the kind I have on right now, beautifully designed by me. It tracks you around the space, so you can swipe your hand in front of the RFID reader, and it puts you in a digital queue system, and it'll text you when you're ready. So you can go around, you don't have to wait in line, you can go around the space and enjoy yourself.

[00:07:50.017] Kent Bye: How do you stop people? Some experiences you could play for hours and hours and hours like Rick and Morty you know could take two or three hours to play through so are you gonna at some point say okay you're done here?

[00:08:00.823] Katya Stepanov: Yes, but ultimately this is where I'm so focused on the user experience, so every single piece of VR content is different, and we've actually gauged based on experience what's the length of a turn, essentially. I mean, some experiences like Tilt Brush, it'll be about 10 minutes, right? It's sort of the maximum that you can play the game. Some people will be done earlier, some will want more, and then they can come scan themselves in again. Eventually, I think we'll also have rooms that you can rent or certain bays that you can rent out for the hour or more. If you want to come with an entire group, play one or two, three experiences. So that's something we definitely will integrate into the space. But every single experience is timed a little bit differently based on the experience.

[00:08:42.161] Kent Bye: So you're just about to launch tomorrow, and I understand that the prices may change over time, but what are the pricing structures that you're at least launching with that you say for the day pass, early pass, and then the pass on later day when it may be a little cheaper?

[00:08:55.511] Drew Arnold: Yeah, high 30s, high 40s. We'll probably play around with it, but yeah, I think we're about $39 and $49 off peak and peak.

[00:09:03.038] Kent Bye: OK, and that's pretty good. I know that there's another Ghostbusters experience that I think is like $40 or $50, and that's just very short. So you're talking about something that's a lot longer for something that's around the same price.

[00:09:12.901] Drew Arnold: We were looking at all these models like the Void has, and you're absolutely right. I think they're focused on through-putting you and just getting you through the experience. We're focused on the stay-putting and getting people to feel like they're really integrated into it.

[00:09:26.450] Kent Bye: Yeah, the other thing that I noticed is that because it is such a large space, you need a lot of docents and people that are helping guide people into the experience and maintain and do all the tech support, essentially. And so maybe you could talk about that process of this, because that is something that I think is probably one of the more challenging things of having a space like this is actually having the manpower to actually run it.

[00:09:47.325] Katya Stepanov: Yes, but what excites me about this is the possibility to bridge different industries in ways that I don't think we've seen before. So, you know, there's like a retail floor and then there's a performance or something that has many pieces that work together to create the optimal flow. And the people we have working here have been amazing. I've trained every single one of them and A, they already love virtual reality, and B, they're able to juggle more than one bay at one time. So because all the experiences are timed differently, there's an opportunity for them to onboard every single individual. And it's fun for them because they get to switch characters. So it's bridging this gap between performance and guiding people in and out. We actually call them guides. They are your guide for the experience at VR World, and they can also guide you towards your best experience. So if you like a certain game, they know where else to send you, what's the optimal way for you to play the space, and especially if you're new to VR. So the space is set out in a very specific way. You'll be able to experience beginner-level games, games that are more geared towards people who already know and love virtual reality and just want to get deep into, let's say, raw data. It's a two-player game that we have here. so you can actually play in VR with your friends. So I think it's a challenge, but I think that is the brand that we're building here, in a way. It's taking the care and adding the human element and having someone that's there with you. Games are more fun to play when there's a cheerleader, in my opinion. There's someone always there for you.

[00:11:19.329] Kent Bye: It seems like the idea that reminds me of is just these festivals that I've been to whether it's Sundance or Tribeca or there was a death and dying show that was in San Francisco but having the virtual experience kind of extend out into the real world in a certain way so having a connection of somebody who's kind of carrying that energy I see that a lot of the booths are kind of open enough that you could theoretically kind of switch it. So building up a whole physical installation for each piece would, I guess, limit that in some way. But I was just curious if you've thought about that in terms of extending these virtual worlds out into physical reality in some ways.

[00:11:56.886] Drew Arnold: That's a stay-tuned comment, but we have something very impressive, I hope, that people are going to love. I can't say too much about it, but it includes immersive theater and a way to incorporate the real world into VR world and VR world into the real world.

[00:12:12.111] Kent Bye: So like an augmented reality experience or something with live actors?

[00:12:15.853] Drew Arnold: It's mixed reality. Everything that you know and love mixed with mixed reality and your own world mixed with VR world.

[00:12:23.628] Kent Bye: Well, it seems like with virtual reality, it's all about the process of experiential design by having a virtual experience. But it seems like here with VR World, you're also trying to extend that process of experiential design by the process of coming here and seeing all the experiences. And so I'm just curious how you think about that or the story that you're trying to tell for people.

[00:12:42.360] Katya Stepanov: I think it comes back to, it might sound cliche, but the energy of the space. Because when you have people who understand the responsibility of taking you in and out of this quote-unquote reality into this quote-unquote virtual reality, you're already questioning what you're looking at and having to tap into this sort of imaginative younger self, where you realize that all of this is a wonderful, beautiful game. And so the more that we have people come to the space that love to socialize around this topic and experience all these different games this way, I think it's a natural extension. It's all about how all these pieces interact together.

[00:13:22.133] Drew Arnold: We want to create energy in a space that has a little bit, but we want to put a lot into it. For us, technology diffusion is all about excitement you create around a product. And for VR to move forward, at least in my experience, we want to capitalize on the forward momentum, not just in terms of if you build it, they will come, which I think the industry has really been focused on. and hasn't really seen the return they want on. It's more about how you get consumers who are not first movers incorporated in a way that it feels natural to them. And it's not a future shock sort of situation. You know, I was I think everybody sort of saw Lawnmower Man a long time ago. VR has sort of suffered from this paradigm of the sort of culture shock. associated with what's going to happen when you tap in and go into the Matrix, right? But it's not really like that. And for us to have this storefront that's right next to the Empire State Building, we can get people who would have no opportunity otherwise to get in front of this and show them that this is a really amazing technology, that there are amazing game developers out there, and these products are very real, and it will come into your life shortly, and you'll love it.

[00:14:32.408] Kent Bye: Yeah, and it seems like that one challenge is that VR is such a new medium, and there's different types of qualities of experiences that people can have, that if they've never done it before, they have no idea what they may like or not like. And so, that's a little bit of a challenge of matching the genres that you have represented here, and then kind of making recommendations for people. So, I'm just curious about that process of these docents that may be on the front line, maybe getting feedback, and maybe making recommendations, or Maybe just talk about the different genres that you have set up here in the space and then how you plan on getting people recommended to that place.

[00:15:06.405] Katya Stepanov: Yeah, I mean, I think it speaks to the fact that there is a wide variety here. So I genuinely mean it when I say there's something for everyone. There are games where they are entirely environment-based and you don't have to press any controls at all. The controllers are completely intuitive. You just, let's say, play things. That's one of the experiences we have here. So you're calling it a dosin, we're calling it a guide. I mean, it's all something in between that. And let's say you come up to the bay, they'll actually say, are you ready to play things? And here's your First thing, thing one, thing two. And everything will make sense to you as soon as you're inside this experience. So that one is completely intuitive, say. Then there's something that will be for a gamer, which would be more on the second floor. The first floor is more, I'd say, beginner-friendly. So all the experiences... have minimal controls, but environment-based experiences. The mezzanine is entirely 360, so if you want to just sit and watch something, enjoy different genres, there are many genres on the mezzanine. Everything from surgical theater, which is health VR, to an art film, to a music video. And the second floor is a variety of games, so If you want more of a gamer vibe, maybe you go up there. So there are different zones and there are ways to direct people. And then also I think it's baked into the asking someone how they feel when they come back. I think that's a crucial part of the experience that is really often overlooked. When you take someone back into this reality and ask them, hi, how are you doing? How do you feel? We don't have that much information about how people experience virtual reality. And so if they're like, I love it, I want more music, You can say, great, I know exactly where to direct you to. So there will always be a recommendation, something that you can do next. If you want something more advanced, there's something like that for you. If you say, I think I need a break, that also exists in our space. There are spaces to detox from VR, in a way.

[00:16:57.183] Kent Bye: Great. And finally, what do you think is the ultimate potential of virtual reality, and what it might be able to enable?

[00:17:05.145] Drew Arnold: It's difficult to answer that question, because I think it's going to pop up in ways that are very seamless in the way that we see it. So when people would talk about the internet, it didn't seem crazy to some people that you would order food online, that you would have all of these different experiences. Other people wouldn't imagine it. But it was so seamless in a way that my parents, who are now grandparents, who are really clunky with technology, know how to use their iPhones and can call their grandchildren up and have that conversation with them. VR is going to take so many different paths and in a way we may not even call it VR anymore in a few years. It will just be associated with our regular technology. And it's possible that AR is the way that that happens, visual maps with overlays, ways that we view fashion, ways that we buy products, ways that we track and maintain some sort of oversight in our lives. I think it just becomes another portal to having tools that can shape and affect our lives. So I think it's going to become ubiquitous, but I really don't think people are going to point at it and say, that's VR. They're going to say, that's my device, that's my phone, that's my, you know, in the 80s, you would have said that you point to something, that's my phone. And it's something with a, either a spinning dial or rotary dial or pushing buttons on a physical phone. Well, now it's the internet. It's everything is called a phone. So maybe we'll call it a phone, but regardless, I think, these tools are going to be very powerful and people are going to use them when they figure out that it's useful to them.

[00:18:34.680] Katya Stepanov: I agree. I also think there's a huge future in the entertainment industry, especially in film, in immersive theater. VR is the next leap in immersion, of course, naturally. So, I mean, people are trying to do all different kinds of immersive experiences outside of the headset, inside of the headset. I wonder how that will evolve. I wonder if we'll bridge and create a more mixed virtual reality. It's something that I'm sure people are developing and interested in and we're interested in talking to those people. So I'm interested to see how that industry evolves. I think a lot of performers are also very, very curious and hungry to experience and build virtual experiences. There are softwares that are being developed where you can build unity in unity. I mean, if you give that tool to a performer, who knows what can happen. So I think this space is especially poised to set people up for that kind of experimentation. So you bring someone that's a content creator, you bring someone who's a performer, and then someone who's interested in seeing this technology develop, all at the bar here, and who knows what can happen. And then maybe we can even give them the space to develop it.

[00:19:36.977] Drew Arnold: Just to that point, what we're trying to do here is catalyze the community in a way, especially in New York, but I think even globally. The VR community is one that's sort of spread out and has been focused on raising tons of money and spending tons of money. What we're doing here is a little bit different. We want to give a platform in a way that hasn't been done, or at least that I'm familiar with. We have different places in New York where they have incubators, but they don't have the space where you can showcase their art. We have the footprint so that artists who are incorporated into our ecosystem come and show it, and they'll reach people they never would have if they launched it on SteamVR or any other application. So for us, it's like catalyzing the community, and not just people we think would be natural fits for VR, people who are from the inner city, people who are retirees or advanced age communities, We want people to come in and experience something. And we want to build the community and the ecosystem of the personalities around VR.

[00:20:34.226] Kent Bye: Awesome. Anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say?

[00:20:39.249] Drew Arnold: Come visit us. And yeah, if you really want to come in, you can reach Katya and I. It's Katya at VRWorldNYC or Drew at VRWorldNYC. Shoot us a line and just say what's up. If you're a VR creator, we're open. We really are agnostic in terms of how we're doing everything. So hey, if you have a piece of content you think is awesome, if you want to work with a brand or agency, if you have an amazing idea, just holler at us, man. We're open. I come from VR. I understand. We're trying to connect the dots and connect people. So we're happy to be of service, and we're happy to showcase all your cool stuff. Awesome. Well, thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you so much.

[00:21:19.543] Katya Stepanov: Thank you.

[00:21:20.857] Kent Bye: So that was Drew Arnold, the Chief Creative Officer, as well as Katja Stepanoff. She's in charge of both the HR as well as designing how people are interacting with these VR experiences with this array of different guides that they have. So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that, first of all, I think this is a great approach that's different than what I've seen that's out there. And it'd be perfect for people who You don't want to just go out and buy a VR rig and buy a bunch of experiences, but if you just want to go and check out a whole range of different experiences, this is the perfect place to go do it. Most of the other experiences that you'll have, like say at the IMAX, which I had a chance to drop by there in New York City as well, you're basically paying per experience that you have there. So you may pay like 10 bucks and you have maybe a 5 to 10 minute experience. This is you pay $39 to $49 and you can stay for hours and hours and hours. Now, I was there at the opening night party where there was about 217 people there. There's a lot of VR veterans who were more interested in talking to the people there rather than doing experiences that they may have already done. But I went by the next day and it was just still getting started. It was still not a very crowded scene. So I didn't have a good sense of how this system is actually going to work in practice. I think at the very beginning it was not a lot of people there. So it's totally great and fine for anybody who wants to go and check it out right now. My observation of going to a lot of different film festivals is that there's a variety of different ways that you can queue people up for experiences. And I think it's gone through a number of different iterations. The first approach is like there's no queuing system. You need to basically have to just go and wait in lines a lot. That's basically going to like VRLA on that Saturday or the first couple of years of Sundance or kind of like that. Now I'm seeing a little bit of a different model where like at Sundance this year they had like an hour time slot where you would go in and then you basically like see whatever you could get into. You just have to basically wait. At Tribeca, they had something that was very similar. It was maybe an hour or two, but you were able to actually queue up and sign up for different experiences. So there's this mad rush for people coming right in, signing up into a bunch of experiences. And then you would get a text to tell you when to go and see that experience whenever you were ready to go see that. Now, that approach works when you have very fixed narrative time allotments such that you know how long the experience is, and you know what the queue is, and then you text people a few minutes before you know that person's going to be done. And that has probably been the most streamlined experience that I've had so far in being able to queue up these different experiences. Now, there is an advantage in this system such that you could only sign up to one experience at once, meaning that you can't just go and basically sign up for everything and jam up all the different queues. The problem that I had at Tribeca was that you try to sign up to as many different lists as you possibly can, then you have to manage like getting texts that are telling you that you're ready to go jump in the queue when you've already kind of or in an experience, or just about to do another experience. So it's a system that doesn't always work if you're able to sign up for multiple different experiences. But if you're only able to sign up for one experience, and then basically go and check out whatever might be available, I think that actually is probably going to be a good approach for what they're doing. But again, it kind of depends on the demand for what time you're going to check things out. Seems like if you go earlier in the day, it's going to be a lot better. So if you know people that are going to New York City, I definitely have them go check it out if they want to have a chance to check out a lot of different experiences. It basically had a lot of like embodied experiences like Tilt Brush or Fruit Ninja. That's a classic game that people really always enjoy. They had project cars with actually like pedals and the steering wheel and everything where you can do a race of four different people. They also had this Kairos system where you're trying to work on your balance. They had a couple of those machines. Those are fun. It's something that you're not going to be able to try at home. And the whole second level of the mezzanine, they had like these different music videos and art videos as well as documentaries. And I'd say that the curation was a little bit of hit or miss in terms of experiences that I thought were great and awesome and great finds. And then stuff that, you know, I wouldn't necessarily recommend other people watch because I may make them motion sick or wasn't really all that great content. But it's hard to know what is going to resonate with some people and what is not. I mean, somebody picked it and they liked it for whatever reason. But overall, generally what I would say is that it felt like a little bit more of an indie vibe curation. It was a little bit less of the quality that I've seen at something like a Tribeca or at Sundance. It was like a little bit more, indie for experiences that were not at that same level, but also some music and art experiences that would generally be a good first time experience for people who had seen nothing else in VR. So I imagine that this would be a place for people to go and check some experiences out if there's lines and cues for other things, it'd be a good place to kind of like pick up and see different experiences. I think that Superhot VR is probably going to be one of the more popular types of experiences that are in there, as well as some of the other experiences like, you know, multiplayer, raw data. And, you know, one of the other things is that they wanted to have an experience like Life of Us from within, but that was being licensed to the IMAX theater. which I had also a chance to drop by. That was interesting because they had like 12 different booths in the lobby of the AMC theater of the IMAX there in New York City. So you basically get the people who were already going to see this high premiere movie experience at an IMAX theater. They walk in and all of a sudden they see all these VR booths and they're like, what's this? Most people are when they're going to a movie. They're already trying to get there on time and they don't have a lot of extra time And so on the way out a lot of people are checking out these different experiences It's about 10 bucks to see an experience and there are some of the more higher-end premiere experiences Some of them are being tied to different movies. So like they had a mummy experience there is also some more high-end premiere content like ruckus that was from the virtual reality company and And I'm having an interview with Robert Stromberg that I'll be releasing at some point here in the future. And they also had some other experiences that you would expect, such like multiplayer, raw data, as well as Tilt Brush, and a number of different high-end premium experiences that you would want to go see as a first-time VR experience. But like I said, it's probably about $10 for 10 or 15 minutes or so. So people would go to a movie and then maybe check it out. So the other thing that I had a chance to go check out was the Void, had the Ghostbusters experience at the Madame Tussauds. And this was probably about a 10 or 13 minute experience that was a room scale experience, about three different rooms, and you're in there with three other people. and you basically are vanquishing ghosts you go through this different scenes and you know it was like 60 bucks in order to get in into the Madame Tussauds like wax museum and it was kind of like this interesting sociological experience to see all these tourists taking selfies with these wax museum models and then there is like this 4d marvel film where you watch it and it's an animated film and then they have these different 4d effects like bubbles or you get sprayed in the face or you have these different strings hit your feet or you get poked in the back at one point but the main feature is that there's a lot of rumble and I'd say that the Ghostbusters experience as well I think one of the more visceral things was that they had these haptic vests that you were able to wear and it was things were kind of flying through you as well as there was some point where they had some smell within the experience but those haptics I think give a little bit more depth and immersion than you would see otherwise I had a lot of people that would come into this Man After Shows who would not ever even hear of VR before, it was their first VR experience, as well as they didn't even know that it was necessarily VR. There was one woman that did that with me, she just sort of signed up for it, didn't even know what she was getting into. But at the end of it, she was like, oh my god, that was amazing, I have to find out a new way to get more of this. So for me, it was worth going to check it out and to have the experience to see how they're doing the throughput, how they're setting everything up, all their system for tracking and charging the batteries and making it easy to put on all this equipment. And it was like a fun and interesting experience for me. There was a point where I was kind of like, OK, I'm tired of vanquishing and killing all these ghosts. And, you know, there wasn't a lot of other things that were really trying to deliberately have us interact and engage with the other people that were in the experience. I went in there with complete strangers. I think if you went in with some of your friends, you might be able to, like, make other sort of metagames or interesting aspects for how you can interact and engage with each other. But it wasn't something that was deliberately encoded within the experience to get you to be more connected to the other people that you were doing it with. So that's all that I have for today. Just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast. And if you enjoy the podcast, then there's a couple things you can do. Just spread the word, tell your friends. And if you want to leave a review on iTunes, that'd be awesome. And you can contribute to the podcast and you can make a donation that will help ensure that I'll be able to continue to travel around the country doing these different interviews and help track what's happening in the world of virtual and augmented reality. So you can donate today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.

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