For our arcade preview of IAAPA, click here.
Ever since the Oculus Rift VR headset began making headlines around 2012, the amusement industry has had a little bit of an obsession with the tech. Our business is where VR tried, and failed, to get a foothold in the 1990’s and despite that setback, many have dreamed of it becoming the Next Big Thing. Last year at IAAPA 2017, the interest in VR was quite high as around sixty different companies demonstrated some kind of VR product or application in the hopes that the market would embrace it. Here is a collection of those products that I placed into one video:
A year later and it is looking like VR is going to be making an even stronger showing at the, so let’s shine a spotlight on these technologies. Currently the VR category for IAAPA 2018 as a whole (which includes AR and MXR), is up to 83 exhibitors from 60.
As a disclaimer before we get started, however: I wholly reject the notion that is being floated around as VR being some kind of “replacement” of arcade machines. No matter how you cut it, amusement VR falls into the “location-based attraction” category(go karts, bowling, laser tag, motion theaters, etc.), even in instances of arcade-style machines. This is because wearable tech is supervised tech, and supervised tech simply cannot find the same reach in street operations that arcade machines can. That doesn’t mean it can’t earn or find it’s niche; just that treating VR as a “replacement” does more harm than it does good when you look at the big picture for our industry expanding.
That said, certain AR and MXR technologies do not have the same issue when they do not require wearable displays.
I also am seeing a lot of these new companies proclaiming that