#497: The Future of VR Arcades with VRsenal

HTC announced the Vive Tracker at CES this year, which will enable a range of VR peripherals that are targeted to from consumers to high-end virtual reality arcades. One of the higher-end peripherals that debuted was VRsenal’s VR-15, which has built-in haptics and the same weight distribution as a M-15 and AR-15. I had a chance to catch up with VRsenal CEO Ben Davenport who talked about targeting the digital out-of-home entertainment and VR arcade market with their integrated solutions of commercial-off-the-shelf VR hardware, VR backpacks and haptic vests with customizations and top-of-the-line gun peripherals with an integrated Vive tracker.


While VR hardware is expected to continually improve over each successive generation, Davenport makes the claim that
limited real estate within the homes will drive consumers to VR arcades that will be able to provide better compelling experiences given extra space. He says that competitive VR games are limited by teleportation and locomotion constraints, and that being able to physically move around large spaces will open up the types of social interactions that are possible with laser tag or paint ball.

He expects to see a return to the golden era of arcades when they could provide a more compelling and visceral experience than what’s possible with consumer VR within a home. High-end haptic devices will also likely be a differentiating factor as the passive haptic feedback from the VR-15 peripheral combined with embodied gameplay is able to deliver a compelling experience that people will be willing to pay for. He also expects to people eventually going through non-gaming and non-entertainment virtual and augmented experiences while they are co-located in the same physical environment.

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