It Looks Like The Void is Returning Reports Suggest

The VOID image1

In its heyday, The Void was a premium virtual reality (VR) location offering pioneering experiences affiliated with big IPs like Star Wars and Marvel’s Avengers. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and other issues, the location-based entertainment (LBE) closed last year. Now it looks like there’s a ray of hope regarding a comeback, thanks to new investment reports and a job page appearing.

THE VOID - Star Wars

Protocol reports this week that a former investor in The Void has now acquired all the key assets of the company with plans to relaunch in 2022. The patents and trademarks have been picked up by Hyper Reality Partners, helmed by CEO Adrian Steckel, who was also one of The Void’s board members. He’s not the only one returning with former Chief Creative Officer Curtis Hickman and former VP of Content Jason Howard heading up the new team.

Steckel is currently fundraising to help support the relaunch with $20 million USD supposedly already raised. While the company is staying fairly quiet regarding its plans, a basic placeholder page has appeared listing three engineer positions. “Hyper Reality Partners is a team made up of world-renowned industry leaders in location-based virtual reality. Having acquired The VOID assets and IP, our mission is to take VR well beyond where it has been before,” the page notes. “HRP & The VOID are now entering a period of rapid expansion and are looking for more talented team members to join us. This is a unique opportunity to shape the future of VR and the entire entertainment industry.”

This would be a major turnaround for The Void, much like Sandbox VR also managed to achieve in early 2021. Hyper Reality Partners will also be trying to avoid the mistakes of the past, as it wasn’t purely the Covid-19 pandemic that shuttered The Void’s operations.


A lot of The Void’s attraction was down to its Hollywood blockbuster franchises, with titles such as Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, Ralph Breaks VR, Jumanji: Reverse the Curse and Avengers: Damage Control. The Void had developed its own in-house technology, utilising a modified Oculus headset in combination with a VR backpack, haptic vest and environmental effects like wind and heat to aid immersion.

However, its 17 facilities around the world were all in pricey locations, premium shopping centres or The Venetian casino in Las Vegas. Pre-pandemic these were becoming difficult to afford and the lack of revenue once they were forced the closure with its IP eventually being sold off to HRP. Because of this, Protocol also notes that HRP is now looking at opening larger standalone entertainment venues instead of shopping centre locations, with the first one planned for Vegas.

As further details arise, VRFocus will let you know.

How to Enjoy Star Wars day in VR

Vader Immortal

Love it or loathe it there’s no getting away from the sci-fi juggernaut that is Star Wars. Especially since the franchise highjacked May 4th thanks to its similarity with a famous phrase from the films. There are plenty of celebrations going on such as Steam’s limited-time deals but what about VR? Here VRFocus has complied how you can celebrate Star Wars Day using the latest immersive tech.

Star Wars - Porg


  • Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series

If you own an Oculus Quest or Oculus Rift/Rift S then your first port of call should be Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series. Exclusive to the Oculus platform, the series isn’t a fully blown videogame, rather mixing interactive elements with cinematic scenes.

Nevertheless, the series is still treated as canon for those diehard Star Wars fans, with its storyline set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. You get to wield the force, test your lightsaber skills out in a dojo and fight Darth Vader, what more could you want?

The series is set across three instalments each retailing for £7.99 GBP. Check out VRFocus’ review of Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series to see what we thought.

Just announced today, Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series will be coming to PlayStation VR summer 2020.

  • Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay

Released back in 2017 and created by ILMxLAB, Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay tasks you as an astromech technician for the rebels with repairing BB-8 and his droid friends.

With an official story linked to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the videogame is all about getting these droids ready back into the fight against the First Order.

Completely free, Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay is available on Steam for Valve Index and HTC Vive, or if you have one laying around Samsung Gear VR.

  • Trials on Tatooine

Another freebie for HTC Vive and Valve Index owners, Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine is one of the earliest (if not the earliest) official titles for VR headsets.

Set on the desert world of Tatooine, you get to repair the iconic Millennium Falcon and defend droid hero R2-D2 from incoming stormtroopers using a lightsaber.

Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay screenshot
  • Star Wars: Project Porg

A title likely few will play due to its exclusivity to Magic Leap 1, Star Wars: Project Porg was a mixed reality (MR) experiment by ILMxLAB.

Centred around the fluffy little bird-like creatures called Porg which appeared in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, this is essentially a pet simulator where you have to keep the Porg’s healthy and entertained.

  • Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

Hailing back from 2017 when smartphones were still being used for VR purposes, Star Wars: Jedi Challenges was unusual in the fact that it was an augmented reality (AR) experience which required a headset specifically designed for the title, the Lenovo Mirage AR.

The original headset came with a replica lightsaber but you needed a compatible smartphone and a spare £250. The kit was relaunched last year with new controllers and MARVEL Dimension of Heroes but still tanked. No longer available on Lenovo’s website, the headset can still be found on Amazon’s US site for around $64 USD.

  • Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

A location-based entertainment (LBE) experience from The VOID which certainly would’ve been packed today had it not been for COVID-19 lockdown measures, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is worth a visit when restrictions ease.

A multiplayer title for up to four people, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire offers untethered VR gaming set on the molten planet of Mustafar. Providing what The VOID calls a ‘hyper-reality experience’ which involves heat, wind and other elements to increase immersion, you’re dressed as Stormtroopers infiltrating an Empire base. With puzzles to solve and blasters to shoot enemies, this is another title which is treated as canon, created in partnership with ILMxLAB.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire


Of course, you may want to spend today watching all the films, animation series and other Star Wars content. Unless you own any of it on DVD or BluRay then the only way to do this now is through streaming service Disney+.

Unlike Netflix which does have a VR app, Disney+ doesn’t, so you’ll need to use desktop mirroring services like Bigscreen Beta or Virtual Desktop. Disney+ currently offers a 7-day free trial, so sign-up online to start your week-long binge.

Either app makes it relatively easy to mirror your desktop into a VR headset like Oculus Rift, Valve Index or HTC Vive. VRFocus uses Bigscreen Beta in conjunction with Oculus Quest for example. While not as handy as a dedicated app, the method still offers a decent VR solution.

And that’s your lot. If VRFocus has missed any other content or ways of enjoying Star Wars in VR do let us know in the comments below.

The Virtual Arena: The Standalone LBE VR Experience!

Covering the immersive Out-of-Home entertainment scene for VRFocus, in his latest Virtual Arena column, industry specialist Kevin Williams reports in two parts on the new phase of investment with the growth in “Arena-Scale VR – Standalone”, This first part looking at the influence the new Oculus Quest has had on the deployment of this latest phase of location-based entertainment (LBE) VR, seeing phenomenal growth in interest.

“Arena-Scale VR” – the ability for groups of players to compete in the same virtual world has proven to be a big trend in the latest phase of commercial VR entertainment. Offering a unique element for this VR application, totally unachievable from a consumer perspective. Currently, the popular trend was for backpack PC’s to be employed to supply the virtual experience – but with the advancements in technology a new category has emerged with “Arena-Scale VR – Standalone”.

Employing standalone headsets with positional tracking, and enough processing power to create compelling content, one benefit is the ability to wirelessly communicate with each other, and in some cases additional peripherals and operator management screens; removing the cost and complexity of the backpack PC solutions.

LBE standalone VR
One of the first examples of a LBE Standalone Arena-Scale experiences. Image credit: KWP

Oculus Attempts to Enter the Arena

The first series of standalone headsets started to make an appearance in 2018, and one of those which received a special amount of attention was the Oculus Quest. However, the interest in using this kind of hardware in location-based entertainment (LBE) has not been a priority for the manufacturer, until recently.

Oculus underlined a new commitment to LBE VR when, at 2018s Oculus Connect 5 (OC5) convention, the company invited the operator and developer, The VOID, to present an example of its “Hyper-reality” VR attraction (operating in some eleven sites). Running ‘Star Wars: Secret of the Empire’, the demonstration took OC5 delegates through a special enclosure that maps real objects with the virtual world, created in partnership with Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB development studio.

The current chain of VOID locations is using a modified version of the, now discontinued, Oculus CV1 headset in its construction – developed under license. This is just one of a handful of such partnerships. However, in comparison to other VR headset developers, Oculus has been less active in establishing enterprise entertainment partnerships – previously seen as standoffish with regards to the explosion of interest in this application of the virtual hardware.

The same OC5 in San Jose revealed the Oculus Quest (evolving from the Santa Cruz prototype), as a new standalone platform. Separate of the PC offering, seeing the CV1 superseded by the Rift-S, the Quest offered a new cost-effective opportunity with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promising it would run “Rift-quality experiences”. But it was the opportunity that it represented outside of the consumer market that interested a new group of developers.

During OC5, Oculus started to reposition its sights on a possible pivot to fully support the LBE VR scene. Running alongside The VOID popup installation at the Oculus event, was a demonstration of their Capability Concept Demonstrator (CCD), based on a previous popular CV1 game. ‘Dead and Buried Arena’ was a demonstration created by Oculus with support from the original videogame developers. The demonstration included a 371 square-metre arena, with two teams of three players each, wearing Oculus Quest. The demonstrations illustrated the prototype’s asymmetric “co-location” technology.

At the time of the demonstration, Oculus stated that it expected location-based entertainment (LBE) developers to benefit from the technology developed for the D&BA system. But, after the expenditure of such a complicated demonstration, all news of further investment in this direction ceased, and even the original D&BA team was disbanded internally. On the conference stage, the pivot was on par with the statement from Oculus’ head of experiences, telling the audience that the company now loved the idea of an audience being able to go to a destination and have an experience and to love that experience and continue that adventure at home.

Oculus LBE arena
The 2018 artist’s interpretation of how Oculus envisaged an LBE arena. Image credit: Oculus

Oculus Quest would go on to be launched in May of 2019, and by October of that year it was reported that sales had achieved some 500,000 units, but it soon became a very popular seller up to the Christmas period (deliveries in some areas pushed to late-February). The platform is proving to be one of the most successful for VR sales from the Facebook-owned company, since its partnership with Samsung with the Gear VR. But regarding an LBE initiative, none was forthcoming until the end of 2019.

It would not be until the Facebook Developer’s Conference (F8) 2019 that we would see a reversion in the approach to commercial entertainment, with a pivot in the approach for the ‘Oculus for Business Initiative’. This came with the introduction of a new program for the Oculus headset range, including the Quest – led internally by Facebook directly. Oculus for Business had been created as a division in 2017, focused on enterprise customers rather than entertainment.

Others’ Lead the Charge in Standalone

Though receiving very little coverage, major LBE VR deployment of the Oculus Quest was undertaken in partnership with leading Japanese video game and amusement operation, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment. This came with the launch of their brand new MAZARIA facility in Sunshine City, Ikebukuro, Tokyo, during July 2019, when the latest investment by the corporation in a hybrid VR-amusement crossover was revealed.

This came in the form of ‘PAC-MAN Challenge VR’, a two-player experience which sees players using the Oculus Quest standalone headset to allow players to race around the iconic PAC-MAN play-space, collecting power pills and avoiding ghosts, all in 256 seconds. The title was started by the BANDAI NAMCO “Project-i-Can” team two-years ago, working in cooperation with Oculus, at that time developing the prototype Santa Cruz version that would evolve into Oculus Quest.

PAC-MAN Challenge VR
Two-players take on the ghosts in PAC-MAN Challenge VR. Image credit: MoguraVR

The second big development surrounding Oculus Quest’s usage in location-based entertainment (LBE), saw ILMxLAB announce a popup training arena based on the ‘Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series’ – in partnership with LBE developer Nomadic. The company announced it was opening at six Cinemark theatres, running ‘Lightsaber Dojo, A Star Wars Experience’ (closing in February). The ILMxLAB videogame is an arcade-style version of the consumer original, using Oculus Quest standalone headsets, players paid some $9.99 for a six-minute experience.

This the first of the main announcements of Oculus supporting the use of their standalone hardware with major IP franchises (ILMxLAB, LucasFilms’ immersive entertainment studio, has connections with the company already, having previously worked together with The VOID projects). Nomadic previously opened its free-roam venue concept under a partnership with Oculus.

Vader ImmortalMuch rumoured, Oculus eventually lifted the veil on its full pivot to support the LBE VR scene. Building on the initial Oculus for Business division’s work, and under the new direction, it was revealed during F8 that new Oculus for Business bundles would be available, supported by the needed Terms of Service (ToS) and warranties for deployment in commercial entertainment and other enterprise applications. This would be supported by a software development kit (SDK) that would allow access to a suite of tools, and most importantly the ‘Co-Location’ platform used for multi-player connectivity – unable to be achieved on the consumer Oculus Quest.

At the beginning of this year, the promise of Oculus support for a standalone VR solution for enterprise was indefinitely put on hold. After the disbanding of the 2018 Capability Concept Demonstrator (CCD) team, Oculus had been attempting to create a workable ‘co-location’ solution on top of the standard SDK that addressed concerns from legal, over tracking accuracy that could lead to injury. Taking much longer than hoped and leading to still being stated as “Available Soon”, months after being promised.

Attempting to stem the floodgates, Oculus for Business went ahead and released an Enterprise User Agreement addendum for the Quest, permitting “Hospitality Entertainment” deployment. But sadly, much of what the LBE sector was waiting for was still prohibited, the addendum seemed more drafted for single-site VR arcades to use the Enterprise licensed Quest but forbidding use of Oculus co-location functionality.

New stipulations saw enterprise developers forced to create their own co-location firmware, and undertake appropriate liability coverage, all to placate the concern overshadowing corporate thinking. However, this “speedbump” has not deterred the entertainment sector from embracing the opportunity, even if they may be looking at alternative VR platforms to release on.

Independent Devs stake their claim

The corporation had initiated the Oculus ISV (Independent Software Vendors) Program to accelerate customer adoption of VR solutions built for Oculus enterprise products. The first of the developers selected by Oculus to support this program was the French location-based entertainment developer, Scale-1 Portal. Earlier in 2019, the company launched its ‘VOXEL ARENA’ platform, which saw networked Oculus Quest systems for four-player competition employed in the LBE VR market. The new system will be launched in March of 2020, with its first title being ‘PANIK’, offering a fun and challenging teamwork-based virtual experience.

PANIK - Scale-1 Portal
Players competing in ‘PANIK’ at one of the first tests of the platform in September. Image credit: Scale-1 Portal

Another member of the Oculus ISV program is Chicken Waffle, an independent developer with a wide track record in content development and with videogames on many of the leading platforms. The company has also partnered with CenterTec, one of the established leaders of the deployment of the concept of VR arcades, with a successful location business that has also expanded into the educational side of the market, to become a community technology centre.

Working with Chicken Waffle, CenterTec has developed its own Oculus Quest powered mobile multi-user solution and has defined several titles that will offer a cost-effective platform. For operators looking at the investment needed to operate a sensible free-roaming offering, this platform will be backed up with the experience gained from operating educational content and will use many of the unique patents held by the operation. But unlike other developers, this system is cross-platform reliant and was seen supporting several of the standalone VR headsets at CES 2020.

Concerning the availability of a software and hardware solution for the VR arcade operators was one aspect under scrutiny with a question over the Oculus Quest availability for LBE deployment. One of the leading providers of commercially licensed VR game content, and venue management solutions, is Springboard VR – an operation with some 500 companies globally deploying their solution, utilising content from all the major consumer game studios, offering suitable VR content licensing through the platform. Most recently, Beat Games (Beat Saber) and VR Nerds (Tower Tag) added their successfully licensed content to this extensive library.

Springboard VR announced during last July its LBE + Education Solution for the platform, offering a device management kit for the Oculus Quest, allowing access for LBE, training and educational content, and for operators to run the system in location-based entertainment venues. This includes the content that had been appropriately licensed with a subscription model for commercial usage. The company is supplying a beta landing page – which at this point has not been updated. Springboard VR is working to support the Oculus Quest and currently supports VR hardware from Pico, HP, and HTC.

Springboard VR Oculus Quest
The marketing campaign for the beta program for interested supporters. Image credit: Springboard VR

Fennec Labs, an augmented and virtual reality development studio with specialisation in VR arcade content, had a big hand in developing the Springboard VR management platform. The company has been privately working on its own standalone VR platform, having undertaken a detailed evaluation of the current crop of headset options, evaluating Oculus Quest and Pico Neo 2 platforms for their PvP title called ‘RE: COIL’ – offering a new multi-player arena-scale LBE VR experience (the project is not tied to the Oculus API). With the launch in early-2020, the company proposes a basic licensing model for operators to get their hands on this title initially but are intending a complete turnkey model in the future.

SynthesisVR – the developer of one of the most advanced software solutions and management programs for operators of VR arcades and LBE VR venues, has established its own considerable library of the latest commercially licensed VR game content. SynthesisVR revealed its entry into LBE standalone support, having developed a version of its premium platform to support the Oculus Quest, HTC Vive Focus Plus, and Pico, as well as other upcoming Android-based headsets. This agnostic approach will offer VR arcade operators the ability to manage multiple devices, launching content simultaneously across them, and with tools for time management and payment collection (all licensed for commercial deployment).

Studio I-Illusions recently teased us with footage of Space Pirate Arena, in what has been described as a multiplayer “hall-scale” VR game, based on the Oculus Quest, for deployment in commercial locations. It is at an early (beta) stage of development but has seen serious interest from VR arcade operators based on its IP – this is a serious addition to the ranks of content looking at this opportunity.

Space Pirate Arena
Sequence from the teaser video of the beta version of ‘Space Pirate Arena’

UK-based developer Make Real, with a background in immersive networked technology solutions for enterprise and Out-of-Home Entertainment, is another entrant working towards releasing its own Oculus Quest LBE experience. The company is working on a four-player networked VR videogame within a shared “co-location” space, whilst a “theatre-scale” AR audience, powered by 5G, mixes the realities scale. Building on a collaborative puzzle solving narrative, the title has been developed in support of the Oculus for Business LBE initiative and is expected to go live in mid-2020, for operators to franchise.

The concluding part of this feature on the Standalone LBE scene follows shortly.

The Best Location-Based Centres in the World

Okay, let’s build a complete guide to virtual reality (VR) for a newcomer. First of all, let’s put aside any kind of home use. If you’re a newcomer, you want to try it, nothing more at this point, right? Then, you need a place to go. And there are VR parks, VR arcades, VR centres and VR rooms for you to choose. So where should you go?  

Avatarico hand trackingAsk yourself these questions. 

Did you try VR before?

If yes, hopefully, it wasn’t some low-quality rollercoaster at the mall. 

If no, all the experiences in the market are accessible enough for a first-timer so keep calm about that. 

Did you feel uncomfortable using VR or 3D-cinema?

You should know that it may happen when you’re in VR, especially if you have already experienced it before. Staff in good locations know what to do if it happens and will help you. 

Are you an experienced videogame player?

If yes, ask for challenges because the entry-level experience may look too simple for you. 

If no, it’s not a problem. Stick to attraction-like VR. Go to a VR escape room centre or VR theme park with a bunch of VR simulators. 

What are your favourite genres?

If you like shooters then go warehouse-scale VR to shoot some zombies. If you’re into Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, then try a rhythm-based title like Beat Saber. If you are fond of adventures then go to a VR escape room centre. 

If you don’t know just ask yourself what do you like to do, what movies are your favourite? And that would be the clue. 

Single-player or multiplayer?

Do you want to go it alone? Then head to a VR arcade or VR park. Most will have a varied selection of videogames to suit most tastes and skill level.

If you want to go with company then choose VR escape centres, warehouse-scale VR or check if VR arcade or VR park does have a title that your group would like. 

VR ArcadeWhom are you gonna take with you?

This is the most important question on the list. Do you want to go with your friends? Will you bring the kids? Or your parents? Or co-workers? 

If it’s a kids party, they will love theme parks and will easily adapt to VR in arcades. If you don’t want them to play anything violent then choose wisely. VR escape is a convenient solution since it’s a complete event and you can choose a theme in advance. 

If you bring elders with you, choose the most accessible VR escape experience, the one which is more of an attraction than a videogame. Try VR park to see how your old folks will manage a VR swing or a flying simulator. 

With colleagues, decide do you want to compete or to cooperate. VR escape is the perfect fit for team building. Some VR arcade games or warehouse-scale VR are good competition. Look at your group. Do your teammates have different videogame experience?

If you’re all experienced in videogames, then go to a VR arcade, and figure it out in the process. And if everyone likes to shoot then just go to warehouse-scale VR. If the diversity is high, either choose a VR park with a lot of attractions or universal experience for everyone which is VR escape game.

If all of you like the same movie may be The VOID will satisfy your needs with its experiences based on famous franchises. 

Also, use this scale of action. It’s not universal, and there are exceptions. Start with this lense, try things and then create your own lenses. 

0 – A visual experience, less interaction VR Cinema
1 VR rollercoasters, swings, bungee
2 Short VR experiences like The Void and Dreamscape
3 – Well-balanced Seated VR escape rooms, VR flying simulators
4 Free-roam VR escape rooms, VR arcades, VR racing
5 – Plenty of interaction, less to experience VR free-roam shooters


Top locations across the globe

This is list doesn’t pretend to be full in any way. Here are some examples of perfect client management, diversity of content and unique audience appeal.


Torch VR in Prague, the Czech Republic is the best VR attraction in Prague according to TripAdvisor. The rating is 5 out of 5. You can play both seated and free-roam VR escape games there. If you’re looking for hand-tracking VR it’s the best place in Europe to try. 

DNA VR in the first VR arcade in London, UK and it keeps the highest ratings on TripAdvisor. It’s a good choice if you want to try different experiences all in one place. Likewise, Vertigo VR in Milton Keynes, UK is another noteworthy arcade but it has VR escape games onboard. The location has 5 of 5 on TripAdvisor. 

Virtual Room has high TripAdvisor ratings in a few VR escape room locations across the globe. One of them is in Paris. If you want to go to time-travelling with your team, it’s a perfect choice. 

VR Games Zone in Oslo, Norway is the best VR centre in the country. You can play both seated and free-roam VR escapes there as well as warehouse-scale shooters. 

VR Gamehouse is a VR arcade in Amsterdam with the highest TripAdvisor rating, offering VR racing simulators. 

Zero Latency is the synonym for warehouse-scale VR, and its Madrid location has an enormous number of reviews. If you’re looking for zombies to shoot, it’s the place.

Beat Saber Arcade Machine


VR Star Park in China is the largest Virtual Reality theme park in the world recently featured at VRFocus. Check out Nathie’s video about it. You’ll find all kinds of VR experiences from rollercoasters to bumper cars, from swings to warehouse-scale VR shooters. Go there with teenager kids and elders, friends and colleagues. 

Looking for VR escape rooms, check Virtual Room in Singapore

Before getting $68 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Sandbox VR started its way as Glostation in Hong Kong. The location keeps its ratings high. The experience is a mix of free-roam VR, escape room and hyper-reality. The Singapore location has five stars as well.


Virtual Reality Rooms in Sydney, Australia is the first centre in the country dedicated to seated VR escape games. This one was the proof of concept for Entermission opening its locations across the USA right now. Also on the recommendation list is Sydney’s Virtual Room owns one of its best centers in Sydney

Australia is also a homeland of Zero Latency, so go check its Melbourne location to know if there are any zombies left to be shot.

Star Wars Secret of the EmpireAmerica

The biggest arcade in America is VR World, New York. It has all kinds of VR arcade games, plus some VR escapes and free-roam shooting titles. Virtual Room’s third-best VR escape centre is located in Los Angeles.

Avengers: Damage Control, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, Ghostbusters: Dimension, Ralph Breaks the Internet and Jumanji: Reverse the Curse. These are the franchises you can visit at The VOID facilities. Their locations are well spread across the USA. Visit them if you want a short experience in a well-known universe. And in Dreamscape, you can visit an alien zoo with exotic animals for 15 minutes. There are locations in Los Angeles and Dallas


There is no point listing all the Hologate locations here. Plus it’s hard to understand what locations are actually good since there are no reviews at TripAdvisor or Yelp. But if you want to shoot with your pals at each other, try Tower Tag at one of those. There are accessible across the globe.

Celebrate Star Wars Day in Style With The Void

As all Star Wars fans know May 4th is the annual celebration of the franchise and to mark the occasion location-based entertainment (LBE) company The VOID will be holding a special discount for one day only.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empir

Dubbed Star Wars Day, next Saturday The VOID will offer customers exclusive 4 for 3 pricing on Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire. Only available in select locations, the tickets can be purchased in-person or online via The with promo code VOIDMAY4.

The select locations are:

  • Santa Monica, California.
  • Glendale Galleria, Glendale, California.
  • Grand Canal Shoppes in The Venetian and The Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Downtown Disney, Anaheim, California.
  • Disney Springs, Orlando, Florida.
  • Cinemark West Plano, Texas.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire up to four players take on a unique story in the Star Wars universe. Following orders from the rebellion, players travel to the molten planet of Mustafar and sneak onto an Imperial Base. Disguised as stormtroopers, they’ll have to use blasters, solve puzzles, encounter familiar Star Wars characters, and work together to succeed.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

VRFocus went hands-on with Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire when it was available in London, finding that: “To say that Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is a premium VR experience is putting it mildly.” Going on to add: “For those that have never tried even a basic VR setup Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will certainly amaze. There were plenty of big smiles from the other groups finishing their session.”

The VOID has a range of VR experiences on offer, not just Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire. While you are there (and depending on the location) why not check out Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishmenta horror title set in Chicago during the 19th Century. Or for something a little lighter and colourful then there’s Ralph Breaks VRcreated to complement movie Ralph Breaks the Internet.

There’s also Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series to look forward to. Originally an Oculus Quest exclusive, the interactive experience has been confirmed for Oculus Rift and Rift S, arriving after the launch of Quest. For further updates on Star Wars VR content, keep reading VRFocus.

Star Wars: Secrets Of The Empire ‘Essentially Sets Up’ Vader Immortal

Star Wars: Secrets Of The Empire ‘Essentially Sets Up’ Vader Immortal

More clues about what to expect from the upcoming Star Wars: Vader Immortal may rest within another VR story from ILMxLAB.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, the excellent location-based VR experience from The Void, apparently sets up the upcoming VR series. That is according to Vicki Dobbs Beck, Executive in Charge at ILMxLAB, who recently spoke at GTC 2019 (as reported by Den of Geek). Beck described the link between Secrets of the Empire and Vader Immortal as a “foray into connected stories.”

“So Star Wars: Secrets Of The Empire essentially sets up Vader Immortal,” Beck explained. “Whereas in Secrets Of The Empire you were on an outpost on Mustafar and you could see Vader’s Monolith in the distance, now you’ll have the opportunity to go into the Monolith and engage with Vader on his home turf, not to mention have the opportunity to wield a lightsaber.”

Indeed, Secrets of the Empire does take you to the fiery planet on which Darth Vader was born. In the experience, you are part of a group of Rebels disguised as Stormtroopers. You’re on the hunt for an Imperial shipment containing a mysterious item.

Quick note: we’ll detail spoilers from this point on. Go see Secrets of the Empire if you haven’t!

After shooting your way through the base you discover what’s inside; a new kind of lightsaber. Vader himself stops you from retrieving it before you make a desperate escape.

Could this new type of weapon be central to Vader Immortal’s story? We know that the experience will offer a lightsaber battle of some kind so it’s very possible. We’ve also theorized about a new villain that could make his debut in the piece.

We’ll likely have our answers tomorrow. Vader Immortal is set to be revealed in full at a panel at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago tomorrow. We’ll have more details then. The app is due to launch on Oculus Quest this year.

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VR Awards 2018: The Winners Speak

There are all kinds of awards out there – mainly because most everything has some organisation quantifying who are the best in what they do. Now we’re in the fourth quarter of the year it’s only natural that we end up seeing more awards ceremonies to reveal the high achievers of 2018.

Earlier this week VRFocus hit the red carpet for the VR Awards 2018, which once again celebrated the field of virtual reality (VR).

VRAwards 2018 logo“The VR Awards is at the centre of recognition and celebration of outstanding achievement in VR.”  Says the organisation, “Combined with year-round international initiatives, the VR Awards brings together a night of red carpet highlights, the celebration of excellence and unique access to the world’s most influential names in immersive technology.”

A media partner for the event, Nina Salomons and Kevin Joyce were both in attendance and even helped dish out the awards during the evening. You can find a list of the winners below, as well as some footage of the event and interviews with several of the victors.

VR Awards 2018 Winners

VR Headset of the Year:
HTC Vive Pro

VR Game of the Year:
Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone (Cloudhead Games Ltd.)

VR Experience of the Year:
Manifest 99 (Flight School)

VR Film of the Year:

VR Marketing of the Year:
Coco VR (Magnopus)

Rising VR Company of the Year:
Neurogaming Limited

Innovative VR Company of the Year:

VR Education of the Year:
HoloLAB Champions (Schell Games)

VR Healthcare of the Year:

Out-of-home VR Entertainment of the Year:
Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire (ILMxLAB and The VOID)

VR Social Impact Award:
Window to our World (VISYON & The Cornerstone Partnership)

VR Architecture and Real Estate of the Year:
Bostoen – Creating your dream house before it’s even built (Nanopixel)

VRFocus will bring you more news and videos very soon.


The VOID And ILMxLAB Unveil New Hyper-Reality Productions Including Ralph Breaks VR

The VOID, a global leader in multi-sensory location-based experiences and ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s award-winning immersive entertainment division have revealed a new hyper-reality production set to be released through 2019. The two companies are collaborating on five original Disney IP hyper-reality experiences with the first two to be created in collaboration with Walt Disney Animation Studios and Marvel Studios.

Star Wars Secret of the Empire

The news comes following the overwhelming success of Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire which showed the companies that their was a high demand for world class hyper-reality experiences that made use of the latest in computer graphics and virtual reality (VR). Because of this, ILMxLAB has been named as the exclusive producer for the Marvel Studios and Walk Disney Animation Studios experiences with three more Disney titles to follow.

“Partnering with the creative teams at ILMxLAB & The VOID on this new type of immersive storytelling adventure is an exciting opportunity. For the first time, we will give fans the chance to walk into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and interact with some of their favorite characters,” said Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios.

One of these experiences includes the hyper-reality experience Ralph Breaks VR which is set to release later this Fall. This will be followed by an untitled Marvel experience which will release in 2019. The other three releases will come following these but details on these have yet to be released. Information such as release dates, locations and ticket availability will also be revealed and made available in the coming months.

Ralph Breaks VR

“Working with our friends at ILMxLAB to help bring Star Wars fans directly into that galaxy far, far away in such a strong creative process, it became apparent we needed to continue on this path as The VOID establishes itself as a leader in location-based entertainment,” said Craig Watson, Chairman & CEO of The VOID. “This is just the beginning of our collaboration with ILMxLAB, Marvel Studios, and Walt Disney Animation Studios as together we broaden the possibilities for immersive storytelling experiences to reach places previously only available in the imagination.”

VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest information on Ralph Breaks VR and the future experiences from ILMxLAB and The Void so make sure to stay tuned to stay up to date.

The VOID Expands Into Asian Market With Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

Location-based virtual reality (VR) specialist The VOID has seen its collaboration with ILMxLAB and Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire go from strength to strength, with the experience rolled out across America as well as the UK. Today, The VOID has revealed further expansion plans by bringing the VR title to Asia for the first time.

The VOID will be taking Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to Resorts World Genting in Malaysia. Sitting alongside dining and retail outlets as well as entertainment attractions that will include the upcoming indoor and outdoor theme parks, it’ll cater to the almost 25 million visitors which use the resort.

“The VOID’s hyper-reality experiences are taking people to worlds that, until now, only existed in their imaginations. The VOID is leading location-based entertainment to the next level,” said Craig Watson, Chairman of The VOID in a statement. “By making the impossible real and allowing guests to step into completely new and alternate realities. In Star WarsSecrets of the Empire visitors can hear, feel, touch and even smell bringing them closer to the story, characters and places.”

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire takes guests on a unique story in the Star Wars universe, where teams of four under order from the rebellion travel to the molten planet of Mustafar and sneak onto an Imperial Base. During the mission, visitors will encounter familiar Star Wars characters, dispatch Storm Troopers, and work together to succeed.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

VRFocus went hands-on with Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire when it was available in London, finding that: “To say that Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is a premium VR experience is putting it mildly.” Going on to add: “For those that have never tried even a basic VR setup Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will certainly amaze. There were plenty of big smiles from the other groups finishing their session.”

Resorts World Genting will be showcasing Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire later this year, although dates have yet to be specified. For any further updates regarding The VOID’s plans, keep reading VRFocus.

The Void to Open New Location in Mall of America, ‘Star Wars’ VR Experience Coming at Launch

Minnesota’s Mall of America, the United States’ largest mall, is getting the popular VR out-of-home experience The VOID soon.

According to a report by Attractions Magazine, The Void will be opening at the Mall of America first with its successful VR experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, which was created in partnership with Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB.

The Void combines physical spaces with wireless VR headsets (via backpack-mounted PCs) and tracked peripherals to create its seamless blending of the virtual and the physical world. The Star Wars VR experience itself puts blasters in your hands, and allows up to four players to head in at the same time.

“The Void brings a new level of immersive experience and storytelling to Mall of American through its state-of-the-art technology,” said Heather Brechbill-Swilley, vice president of real estate and leasing. “We’re excited to offer guests the chance to be the hero of their own adventure in a variety of beloved universes through The Void’s unique attraction model.”

We went hands-on with the Secrets of the Empire at The Void late last year, and it provided an experience that Road to VR’s Garret Bullard says “definitely nailed the feeling of Star Wars.”

Walking around the corridors on Mustafar felt like we were really sneaking into an Imperial stronghold dressed as Stormtroopers. We were greeted with the familiar cold steel and clean lined interior of an imperial base patrolled by Stormtroopers. Needless to say, the sneaking around didn’t last terribly long, and soon after landing we were engaged in combat with Stormtroopers all around us. Grabbing a physical blaster and returning fire on a group of enemies brought me back to one of my favorite scenes in A New Hope (1977) where Luke and Leia are trapped on the Death Star and must defend themselves from Stormtroopers shooting up at them from below.

The opening mark’s The Void’s first location in the Midwest. New locations coming in the near future include Atlanta, Austin, Hollywood, New York City, Philadelphia, Santa Monica, and Washington D.C. 

Its uncertain when the Mall of America location is set to open, although Mall organizers state it’s “opening soon.”

The post The Void to Open New Location in Mall of America, ‘Star Wars’ VR Experience Coming at Launch appeared first on Road to VR.