VR Arcade Pioneer ‘The VOID’ is Making a Comeback

Out-of-home VR attractions were among the worst-hit during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which put many fledgling startups on the ropes. Now, one of the early pioneers in location-based VR entertainment appears to be making good on its comeback after it briefly slipped into the void.

As reported by MIXED, it appears pioneering out-of-home VR destination The VOID is getting ready to reopen.

Before The Void closed up shop—or was rather summarily kicked out of its dozen-or-so locations after it defaulted on loans back at the beginning of the pandemic—it was a premiere mixed reality destination that promised a real taste of immersion. Starting back in 2015, it combined warehouse-scale VR and realistic 4D effects that brought to life some of the most well-known franchises worldwide: Ghostbusters, The Avengers, Star Wars, Jumanji, and more.

Due to COVID-19 safety measures, The Void suffered immediate losses in revenue which were further outstripped by its inability to secure additional funding. The company’s last video before its website went dark featured a pop-up in Westfield San Francisco Center… back in April 2020.

Then, nearly a year and a half later, a report by Protocol broke the news that The Void’s patents and trademarks has been acquired by Hyper Reality Partners, a company headed by Adrian Steckel, a previous investor and board member of The Void. At the time, it was reported that Hyper Reality Partners has already raised $20 million to get The Void back on its feet.

Now The Void’s website is back up, with its creators saying that it will include “upgraded VR technology,” and “a flexible platform designed to evolve with the latest in innovation.”

“Our vastly expanded destination approach makes possible longer, more deeply immersive experiences. And our broader vision takes virtual reality into a wider spectrum of application and entertainment,” the company says.

Its also hiring several full-time engineering positions, which may signal The Void is already retooling its approach, and getting closer to relaunch.

The Void was undoubtedly an expensive operation to run. It not only nestled its attractions in high-traffic locations like Mall of America or The Venetian in Las Vegas, but also included a good amount of extra equipment outside of the VR headset, peripherals, and backpack-mounted computer capable of running the experience. The Void included elaborate. purpose-built spaces that included 4D effects such as wind, sound, and heat to enhance the VR experience.

The company’s choice to adopt “a flexible platform” may point to a remarkably different strategy moving forward. If it wants to stay nimble and re-expand quickly, it may be aligning more with how Sandbox VR (another near victim of the COVID-19 pandemic) is doing things. Sandbox VR was able to rebound from the pandemic and open 17 locations worldwide fairly quickly based on large, but less complex room-scale-style VR experiences.

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So when will The Void come back to malls near you? There’s no telling, but it’s good to see at least that one of the founding pioneers of location-based VR entertainment is still alive and kicking.

The post VR Arcade Pioneer ‘The VOID’ is Making a Comeback appeared first on Road to VR.

The Void Promises Big Return With Ressurected Website

Location-based VR arcade company The Void has confirmed its return.

A website for the resurrected brand has surfaced online (thanks to Protocol’s Janko Roettgers for spotting), stating that the platform will be back with “upgraded VR technology” for ” longer, more deeply immersive experiences.”

The Void Returns

There aren’t any specifics for exactly what tech has been upgraded, nor when and where we’ll see Void locations resurface, but the team is currently hiring at its headquarters in Utah and notes it’s in a state of “rapid expansion”.

The Void was one of many VR arcade companies to suffer heavily as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic in early 2020, the company had several locations across the US and in other countries where it offered tetherless, multiplayer VR experiences based on famous franchises. It was behind the Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire experience at Disney locations, for example, and had put out a Marvel-themed attraction too.

But as the pandemic set in, things looked bleak for The Void. Locations started to disappear just a few months into global lockdowns and, by 2021, rivals were beginning to fill in the spaces they’d left.

But in September last year a new report from Protocol claimed Hyper Reality Partners, a company owned by former Void investor Adrian Steckel, had purchased the company’s key assets for around $2 million with plans to relaunch in the future. The site’s job listings do indeed confirm that Hyper Reality Partners now owns these assets.

It remains to be seen if The Void will be offering the same set of experiences whenever it does make its big return, though the mention of longer experiences does suggest it will have something new to show, too. Would you want to jump back into the company’s multiplayer VR installations? Let us know in the comments below.

The VR Job Hub: The Void, Ramen VR & FitXR

VR Job Hub

Every weekend VRFocus gathers together vacancies from across the virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) industry, in locations around the globe to help make finding that ideal job easier. Below is a selection of roles that are currently accepting applications across a number of disciplines, all within departments and companies that focus on immersive entertainment.

RemoteRamen VR3D AnimatorClick Here to Apply
RemoteRamen VR3D Character ArtistClick Here to Apply
RemoteRamen VRTech ArtistClick Here to Apply
RemoteRamen VRGameplay EngineerClick Here to Apply
RemoteRamen VRGraphics EngineerClick Here to Apply
RemoteRamen VRGame DesignerClick Here to Apply
Lehi, UT/RemoteThe Void (Hyper Reality Partners)Sr DevOps EngineerClick Here to Apply
Lehi, UT/RemoteThe Void (Hyper Reality Partners)Sr Software EngineerClick Here to Apply
Lehi, UT/RemoteThe Void (Hyper Reality Partners)Sr Software Engineer – CDKClick Here to Apply
Richmond, VABig Top Game StudioSocial Media ManagerClick Here to Apply
London, UKFitXRAutomation TesterClick Here to Apply
London, UKFitXREngagement and Communication ManagerClick Here to Apply
London, UK/RemoteFitXREngineer – Fullstack (Product Growth)Click Here to Apply
London, UK/RemoteFitXREngineering Manager – Security, Data and DevOpsClick Here to Apply
London, UK/RemoteFitXREngineering Manager – Services & FullstackClick Here to Apply
London, UK/RemoteFitXRSenior Engineer – Fullstack (Product Growth)Click Here to Apply
London, UK/RemoteFitXRPerformance Marketing ManagerClick Here to Apply
New York, NYFitXRPerformance Marketing ManagerClick Here to Apply
London, UK/RemoteFitXRScrum MasterClick Here to Apply
London, UK/RemoteFitXRUX DesignerClick Here to Apply

Don’t forget, if there wasn’t anything that took your fancy this week there’s always last week’s listings on The VR Job Hub to check as well.

If you are an employer looking for someone to fill an immersive technology related role – regardless of the industry – don’t forget you can send us the lowdown on the position and we’ll be sure to feature it in that following week’s feature. Details should be sent to Peter Graham (pgraham@vrfocus.com).

We’ll see you next week on VRFocus at the usual time of 3PM (UK) for another selection of jobs from around the world.

Report: Location-Based VR Company The Void To Relaunch Soon

A new report by Janko Roettgers from Protocol states The Void’s assets have been acquired by a former investor with aims to relaunch the location-based VR company, in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Void was one of the leaders in the location-based VR industry before the pandemic, with 25 new locations opened in 2019 alone. Partnerships with companies like Disney allowed The Void to produce big IP-focused experiences, such as Avengers: Damage Control in late 2019. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year meant that Void locations, such as its Downtown Disney venue in California, were closed by July. Location-based VR competitor Sandbox VR even opened up a new location in Vegas this March, taking over the space once occupied by The Void just a year earlier.

However, according to Protocol, The Void is set to relaunch soon under Hyper Reality Partners, a company owned by Adrian Steckel, former investor and board member of The Void. According to Protocol, Steckel acquired The Void’s “key assets”  for around $2 million, which includes the company’s IP but does not include much of the physical hardware, such as headsets, backpacks and more. That tech was reportedly sold off as abandoned property by some of the landlords of former Void locations.

According to Roettgers, Steckel has signed previous Void staff to return, such as former CCO Curtis Hickman and former VP of Content Jason Howard. Steckel has reportedly already raised $20 million in funding, is actively fundraising for more and plans to hire additional staff soon. This is backed up by a placeholder site for The Void by HR company Breezy, indicating that job openings are forthcoming.

Protocol reports when The Void relaunches, it will do so with a new operating model that will look towards larger venues that include services extending beyond location-based VR, such as food and beverage capabilities. Hyper Reality Partners are reportedly looking at a Las Vegas as the first new location to offer this revamped version of The Void experience.

Do you want to see The Void come back? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

Sandbox VR Announces Las Vegas Location, 15 Locations to Open by 2022

Sandbox VR, the out-of-home virtual reality destination, went through a rough patch this past year as the company both filed and subsequently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy following debt restructure. With the United States doing fairly well in terms of COVID-19 vaccinations now, the company appears confident in getting back to business as usual soon, as it plans to open a new location at the Grand Canal Shoppes inside The Venetian Resort, Las Vegas, in addition to operating 15 locations worldwide by the year’s end.

The Las Vegas location is slated to open in “the early summer of 2021,” the company says. Due to the pandemic, Sandbox VR was forced to close all of its locations and lay off most of its staff.

Its rebound strategy is one that may become fairly common in the coming months for battered (but not dead) businesses, namely Sandbox VR aims to fill commercial real estate locations that have also been hit hard by the pandemic.

Thankfully, the company is comparatively lean, as its multiplayer VR locations don’t need require elaborate 4D sensorial gadgetry like its ill-fated competitor, The VOID.

Interior of a Bay Area Sandbox VR location | Image courtesy Sandbox VR

The VOID had to permanently close all of their locations worldwide—including its flagship store at the Grand Canal Shoppes—when the company encountered similar financial trouble last year. There’s little hope of The VOID getting back on its feet either. The company’s website is down mere months after Disney abandoned it entirely, and its holding company isn’t showing any appreciable signs of life.

Sandbox VR on the other hand is portraying a fair bit of optimism now that vaccines are being administered en masse. The company says it’s seen a 30% increase in demand from before the pandemic at their current locations outside of Chicago, Illinois and in Austin, Texas since local governments lifted restrictions.

“We have been incredibly fortunate to have been able to survive such a devastating year for everyone in the retail and entertainment industry,” said Steve Zhao, founder and CEO of Sandbox VR. “The pandemic has been so isolating for everyone that we are confident once it is safe to gather with friends and family from different households they will be looking for social experiences that offer some fun and escape from the difficulties that 2020 brought.”

It may be a long time until beleaguered VR arcades see pre-COVID levels of support, but with one of the most well-funded VR startups out releasing such a broad opening gambit, others may take heart in knowing there is money to be made in the near future.

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The Virtual Arena: The Ascendance of Arena-Scale Entertainment – Part 1

The Virtual Arena

In the first of a two-part report observing the current immersive Out-of-Home entertainment scene for VRFocus, Kevin Williams latest Virtual Arena looks at the re-emergence of LBE though the popular free-roaming entertainment trend. Evaluating the pitfalls, and the early fallers, and those operations that have re-opened and hope to define the next phase of business. 

While some pontificate that location-based VR has probably taken a terminal hit from COVID – at the same time we have reports on the reopening of venues in Asia and Europe and even America, and see the return of the audience, though in tentative numbers. One aspect of the successful growth of LBE VR before the ravishes of the global health crisis closed all forms of social interaction and entertainment, was the growth in interest of “Arena-Scale”, also dubbed “Free-Roaming” or in Asia “Walking Attractions”. Players donning powerful backpack PC’s and taking part in multi-player immersive experiences. The compelling nature of these experiences were such that major venture capitalists had vied to invest considerable sums in the early developers of this genre of immersive entertainment.

But even before the global-pandemic suspended business, cracks in the business proposition of some arena-scale operations had started to manifest. Gradually exiting lockdown and the issues that impacted some business plans has been magnified, and we start to see the damage inflicted by a loss of revenue. While some of these immersive operations are facing more permanent closures, others are seeing renewed interest in their offering and a new arms race to dominate what is still seen as a lucrative opportunity.

Bandai Namco VR arena
The “Next Gen” virtual playing Arena: Image credit: Bandai Namco

The Landscape Ahead

Seen as one of the first exponents of the concept of immersive, free-roaming experience – The VOID tantalized the investment and operations community with a dream of transporting groups of players into a magical virtual environment, (what the company labelled “Hyper-Reality”), powered by their claimed unique “redirected walking”, with physical effects and props. Seen as one of the prominent representations of the growth in interest in free-roaming immersive experiences – the company had high profile investment, initially from the Disney’s Accelerator fund, including business mentorship that saw development resource through ILMxLab.

The VOID has been heavily dependent on the development resources of ILMxLab for most of their content, with only Ghostbusters, and horror-experience Nicodemus developed internally (in partnership with Ninja Theory), receiving mixed reviews. It was however the draw of the big IP and crafted VR experiences based on blockbuster movies that drew the attention. Much of their hyped original design hardware would have to be scaled back to reverting to off the shelf hardware, such as their tracking system from OptiTrack or their headset, in reality, being made with components from an Oculus CV1 unit, eventually under license, (after a planned in house design was abandoned). The company at its hight operating some 17 facilities offering a selection of Walt Disney movie IP VR experiences. But the sites opened seemed to offer conflicting information on their actual success, and cracks started to appear.

The VOID image1

The company had seen a churn in management, with the revolving door of top executives. Also, behind the scenes the operation had been haemorrhaging finances, plans for a permanent London site was abandoned near completion, and a total restructuring of the operation. Deals were signed with the shopping sector to place a new model of the attraction that was hoped to address the difficulties of audience retention. Things, however, had not gone as planned for The VOID operation, with numerous major executive departures and claimed venue expansion abandoned. Sources suggested that investments were being stretched and revenues were not proving as expected. By this time, the full impact of the global health crisis by March 2020, and all 17 VOID facilities had been at the time temporarily shuttered. But then things started to take a new turn, sources revealed information that one and then a second The VOID facilities on Walt Disney property had posted notices announcing their permanent closure and that all assets associated with Walt Disney were to be removed.

The Void Shutdown orders
The shut-down order posted on The VOID Disney locations doors. Image credit: WDW

An incredible silence has enveloped an operation that was once so prolific at promotion – while the US venues remained closed, with no information at this time on what the situation of their reopening will be, with only the Malaysia (Genting) venues had reopened for business since August. The VOID Malaysia site had removed all their Disney themed experiences only offering ‘Nicodemus’ and ‘Ghostbusters: Dimension’. And that was all the information that could be garnered at this time. Many will try and paint this as a bigger problem with the free-roaming VR sector, there seems to be a pattern emerging from the initial operators that expensive IP and a problematic business model has been accentuated by the financial impact of the COVID Lockdown.   

There is another recent recipient of investment and mentorship from the Disney Accelerator fund that is based in the arena-scale VR sector. Japanese start-up Tyffon has opened their own Tyffonium – Magical-Reality Theater – a backpack VR experience centre. While less well-known than the other Disney Accelerator investment in VR attractions, the operation had developed internally three attractions which they operated in their two Japanese venues. Much more aimed at a theatrical, sensory experience, looking at young couples as a key demographic, offering three game experiences that support up to four VR players for 30-minute durations. The operation would go on to raise their Series A round of funding – added to the previous investment this saw the company valued at $12 million by the end of that year. With this investment, the operation had received publicity towards a plan to open in the US. By March of this year, the Japanese operation had entered lockdown, with plans for the US operation still on the drawing board, and their 35 employees furloughed, though the facilities did reopen by October.

Tyffon image1
The unique couples focused VR game experience from Tyffon. Image credit: Tyffon

Another of the early pioneers, wanting to carve out an empire for themselves was Dreamscape Immersive. Described as a “Virtual Reality Experience Like No Other”, the company took on a movie theatre style of approach to offering their unique platform – having amassed an impressive cadre of investment from powerhouses from the movie industry. Investors also included AMC and IMAX – cinema legends looking at the concept of LBE VR, to address flagging movie ticket revenue. Along with an impressive lobby presenting the VR experiences on offer like movies – the guests in groups of six would enter donning rooms, putting on their PC backpacks and wearing foot and hand tracking devices based on the Vicon system. Then once inside the VR room, would put on their headset (originally the Oculus Rift CV1, but later the company would migrate over to the HP Reverb platform) – the environment offering physical effects within the space that mirrored the high-quality virtual experience rendered for the players.

Dreamscapes’ facility operation had opened first in Los Angeles, as part of the Westfield Century City shopping mall in the shadow of an AMC theatre, in Dallas and Columbus, and then venturing to Dubai. This UAE-based location reopened in July and has seen strong returning audiences – proving the health of LBE VR post-COVID lockdown. October will see the US chain of stores also reopening. But following the upheaval in business following the health crisis the corporation revealed the acceleration of plans for a brand new initiative. Dreamscape Immersive, partnered with Arizona State University (ASU), to launch ‘Dreamscape Learn’. The concept is for “Immersive Education” avatar-driven VR experiences being offered to both campus-based and online courses; planning to start with introductory biology and eventually expanding throughout the sciences and beyond, (vetted by top professors and learning scientists).  The plan will utilize the immersive VR story lead experience of the VR company married to the educational platform for students and explorers to create a unique learning environment (immense VR “laboratory”) which will see virtual pods created to traverse students around virtual environments.

Dreamscape Learn
A capture of the ‘Dreamscape Learn’ immersive VR laboratory. Image credit: Dreamscape

Numerous developers of arena-scale platforms had already started the process of redressing their business model to embrace new verticals. One of the front-runners in the development of IP based arena-scale VR experiences was the new operation SPACES. The company retained a wealth of experience having been spun out of DreamWorks Animation back in 2016. The corporation saw investment from Tencent and other leading players launched its first arena-scale platform with Terminator Salvation: Fight for the Future, opening the first permanent location in San Jose and then a temporary installation in partnership with Cinemark. Also, SPACES had signed agreements with SEGA JOYPOLIS to install its VR experience at their Japanese sites. The operation was in the process of redefining their offering following feedback as the global crisis hit, but its innovation continued, and pivoted during lockdown to create a ground-breaking VR based video conferencing product. The interest in this product was such that SPACES announced in August that the company had been acquired by tech-giant Apple, for an undisclosed sum.

Sandbox VR had been a prominent name in the LBE VR business, coming from a meteoric rise supported by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, and raising some $68m and $11m round of investment. With this investment, the operation focused on both improving the level of experience on offer, signing a licensing agreement to use major IP, such as releasing an experience based on ‘Star Trek: Discovery’. In total some 8 venues, split between Asian sites and their first few US locations, offering four-player backpack PC VR, using Oculus Rift CV1 headsets. But following the lockdown, Sandbox VR (Glostation USA Inc.) filed for Chapter 11 protection in August, this was on top of the previous announcement of the loss of their original CEO and 80-per-cent of their workforce. It was revealed that the company had started to reopen its venues, promoting new safety measures to ensure guests and staff post lockdown. The restructured management evaluating a plan of survival with the VR centre (single attraction) model.

Star Trek: Discovery
Players beaming into Sandbox VR’s Star Trek: Discovery adventure. Image credit: Sandbox VR

While not getting the same publicity as other arena-scale installations in the West, one of the first VR ZONE free-roaming offerings developed by Bandai Namco and being shuttered at MAZARIA is Dragon Quest VR. Developed for the original VR ZONE brand back in 2018 the videogame is based on the popular RPG property, with four-player PC backpacks (HTC Vive headset) – it’s one of the few arena scale installations that use wholly unique player interfaces representing the shields, and swords of the game. This was not the only Arena Scale VR attraction Bandai Namco developed – with a Ghost In The Shell property, (‘Ghost In The Shell: Arise Stealth Hounds’) back in 2017. Going on from the closure of their MAZARIA facility, the corporation is reappraising its approach to VR and immersive entertainment, with new plans to be revealed soon that could see new free-roaming properties.

Dragon Quest VR
Players working as a team against the bosses in Dragon Quest VR. Image credit: KWP

Other Japanese amusement factories that operate their own venues in the territory have been attempting to jump onto the arena scale bandwagon. CAPCOM with its PLAZA CAPCOM chain of sites has added the CAPCOM VR-X areas to their landscape, and with that created a unique arena-scale VR experience based off corporation owned IP. Biohazard: Valiant Raid (better known in the West as Resident Evil) launched last year, the four-player experiences negates the use of cumbersome backpack PC’s for a restricted player space using tethered HTC Vive headsets and customized controllers.

One of the largest of the Japanese amusement and gaming corporations is SEGA, and they have invested heavily into VR attractions for their facility business. Under the SEGA Joypolis VR chain, operated through CA SEGA JOYPOLIS (the co-Chinese and Japanese partnership), the company has deployed several third-party VR attractions. At this time SEGA’s amusement GM division has not created a unique VR platform of their own, favouring in representing other developers’ products as they evaluate the opportunities provided by this technology. The Asian market has seen the adoption of the term “Walking Attraction” when describing arena-scale VR experiences, the PC backpack offering freedom over tethered enclosures. Such operating systems include Mortal Blitz for Walking Attraction, developed by Skonec Entertainment. SEGA had also fielded the system from SPACES (as mentioned above), and later the Zero Latency free-roam experience in several Joypolis sites.

Zero Latency is one of the earliest to see the opportunity and unique compelling nature of free-roam VR entertainment. The company deploying their first facility in 2014, and then went on to establish and defined their unique up to eight-player immersive arena experiences, amassing a considerable library of seven popular games. Emerging from the global lockdown, the company has continued to plough a course in this sector. Developing their own backpack harnesses, haptic game controllers, along with the needs for appropriate briefing, loading, and unloading of players, staff training, all packaged in a franchisee offering operations have added to their entertainment venues. The company announced a major partnership to bring AAA content to their platform, Ubisoft – creator, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and services revealed that it would be bringing its million-selling consumer game license to VR with Far Cry VR: Dive into Insanity. This LBE VR experience for up to eight players takes them back to Rook Islands, the setting of‘Far Cry 3 for some intense action. Working in partnership to develop and implement their multi-player combative experience with Zero Latency, the game will be released across their 45 venues in 22 countries during 2021.

Zero Latency
Image credit: KWP

This concludes the first part of this extensive coverage; we will now look at the rest of the sector and the new entrants bouncing back into business after lockdown in the following coverage.

The Void Co-founder Unveils VR Skydiving Attraction ‘JUMP’, Locations Coming 2021

James Jensen, co-founder and creator of VR attraction The Void, recently unveiled his next VR startup which aims to bring the thrills of wingsuit skydiving to people particularly averse to jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

The company, called JUMP, exited its two-year stint in stealth mode this past weekend. According to Jensen’s LinkedIn page, he’s been working as CEO of Jump since March 2018, or just a few months before he left his position as Chief Visionary Officer at The Void.

Not much is known about Jump yet, however the company’s website LimitlessFlight.com maintains users will be able suit up into a certified wingsuit and don a VR headset for some lifelike thrills. Promo material appears to show a tethered VR headset integrated into a masked skydiving helmet. Locations hosting Jump’s wingsuit experience are said to arrive sometime in 2021.

However vague, here’s how Jump describes the experience:

Imagine being able to perform one of the world’s most dangerous and technically difficult stunts with little to no training, no parachuting experience, no cost for equipment and setup, and no risk of death trying to pull it off. What would you do (and how much would it cost) for such an experience?

Would you dedicate years of your life, spend thousands of dollars, and practice life-threatening jumps time and time again just to risk dying in the end? Any way you look at it, this would be an unattainable experience for 99.9% of people on this planet … until now.

Jump has attracted expertise across both real-life skydiving and immersive design. Academy Award-winning designer John Gaeta has signed onto the project as an advisor; Gaeta is best known for pioneering ‘Bullet Time’ for The Matrix films, his work on volumetric capture methods, and for co-founding Lucasfilms’ immersive skunkworks ILMxLAB.

Professional skydiver Marshall Miller, who is also the co-founder and managing director at GoPro’s jump team ‘Bomb Squad’, is also listed among the company’s team.

Image courtesy Jump

It’s unclear what sort of setup we can expect from Jump, however the company has also attracted Head Rigger for Cirque du Soleil Jim Shumway, who is also ETCP Certified in arena and theater rigging.

HP Reverb G2 Will Begin Shipping in November, New Orders in December

It’s possible Jump users will suit-up and be suspended via some sort of tether while experiencing their virtual flight, possibly with the same cadre of added multi-sensory effects that users can experience at The Void, which includes wind, sound, and heat to enhance the VR experience. Further speculation: such a single-serving experience could be deployed as a pop-up installation instead of a brick-and-mortar affair, something that potential investors may see as a boon in wooing the paying public back to out-of-home VR after a lengthy global lockdown.

We’re hoping to learn more about Jump in the coming months, as the company is well positioned to be one of the first location-based entertainment startups to emerge during what we hope to be the year of recovery for the industry.

The post The Void Co-founder Unveils VR Skydiving Attraction ‘JUMP’, Locations Coming 2021 appeared first on Road to VR.

Blasters of the Universe: Infinity Forever Is A New Free-Roam LBE VR Shooter

Secret Location revealed Blasters of the Universe: Infinity Forever today, a new free-roam location-based VR shooter for up to four players.

The original Blasters of the Universe was one of the first room-scale VR interpretations on the classic bullet hell wave shooter genre. Instead of controlling a spaceship, you’d move your body to dodge bullets while returning fire in a neon-soaked retro-futuristic landscape. It was a blast (pardon the pun) and is highly regarded as one of the best early VR shooters with lots of replay value that eventually left early access after a couple of years.

Now, Secret Location (also developers of the excellent time-bending VR puzzle game, Transpose) is back with Blasters of the Universe: Infinity Forever, a free-roam location-based entertainment take on the franchise. Designed for up to four people, it follows a linear story structure as players make their way through a series of levels at actual physical VR arcade locations powered by SynthesisVR.

The choice to focus on LBE VR rather than at-home VR is an interesting one given the current state of the industry. Top-billed attractions like The Void are struggling to retain leases for their locations and arcades around the world, but most especially in the United States, continue to struggle.

“We have remained optimistic about the state of our industry in the past months as we continued to make our games from home”, said Michael Masukawa, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Secret Location, in a prepared statement. “We know that now more than ever, families and friends are going to be craving meaningful shared experiences and so we’re happy to be able to offer them exactly what they need. As family entertainment centers start to reopen with safety in mind, we are thrilled to be partnering with Synthesis on the launch of our first location-based VR game.”

What do you think of the move? Risky considering the state of affairs, or forward-looking as the world slowly tries to return to normal? Let us know what you think down in the comment below!

‘Magicians In VR’ Event In AltspaceVR Will Feature Talks And Live Magic

A new event in AltspaceVR, called ‘Magicians in VR’, will see prominent figures come together to virtually “educate, entertain and inspire the immersive content creation community with relevant insights about the art of magic.”

The event is set to take place on Wednesday October 7 in Altpsace from 1:00pm PST. The event will discuss how magic can operate in virtual worlds and how the “art of storytelling, understanding audiences, and building relevant and innovative impossibilities” applies to magic in VR.

The aim is to show how digital magic in a virtual world can provide a sense of disbelief just like real world magic, and not just stem from amazement at the technology behind it. The experience will also offer some perspective on the ‘live theater’ aspect of magic, and how this can be applied to VR experiences.

magicians in vr

Four “magic thought leaders” will lead the event, including Adam Cheyer (co-founder of Siri and Viv Labs), Curtis Hickman (CCO and co-founder of The Void), Simon Pierro (a digital magician) and Laura Mingail (event creator and founder of Archetypes & Effects).

Cheyer is a magician himself, and hosts a weekly magic show called “Viv Labs Friday Magic” that has previously featured magic professionals like David Blaine. Likewise, despite co-founding location-based VR company The Void, Hickman is also an award-winning magician and professional illusionist. Each of the four thought-leaders will bring their own perspectives on the intersections of magic, technology and storytelling, plus some live magic will be on display as well.

Those interested in the event can sign-up for the event over on the Altspace website now.

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