The olden days of Arcade
Arcades have come a long way. In the olden days, they were a place to hang out with friends or a venue to spend time away while waiting for your movie to start since they were always conveniently located nearby.
Besides hanging out, arcades have also been an avenue for showcasing new technologies (arcade gaming machines) before their mass adoption by the public, such as the gaming consoles when they were still a tad bit expensive. Popular modern arcade games like the beloved Daytona USA, Dance Dance Revolution, King of Fighters 97 mesmerised an entire generation and the next.
However, in recent years, arcades have been all but disappearing with fewer people visiting shopping malls due to the emergence of convenient online shopping and social media, which was even more exacerbated by the covid pandemic. These lead to traditional arcades shuttering down one after another. Timezone and Virtualand are the last few survivors.
Emerging new technologies
But, all is not lost. With emerging new technologies such as virtual reality headsets, metaverse experience, and NFTs, arcades are making a comeback. We can call it an evolution of the traditional arcade so to speak.
With virtual reality, immersing yourself in a virtual environment is now akin to those you see in futuristic movies, such as Ready Player One, made possible at your local mall near you.
Another big development was the metaverse, a fully immersive virtual environment with the need for a VR headset
The next big thing will be NFTs. Drawing such huge interest and millions in dollars in revenue, companies will be looking to cash in on the trend in some form or way to boost online presence.
But virtual reality is not limited to just headsets. With products like the Virtuix Omni treadmill combined with haptic guns, gloves, and bodysuits, new generation VR arcades (already massively popular in China) allow a truly immersive VR experience in all dimensions. You’ll be able to run physically in games, have a sense of touch, and feel activated as well.
The common theme of these is new technologies. Hence, what better place can integrate all these with gaming, education, exercising, social gathering place than a VR arcade? How would companies market the metaverse experience or a VR headset on a 2D screen of advertisements? None of us will be buying an expensive piece of gear without first trying it out.
Future of VR Arcade
With companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook creating their own VR headsets, which will be expensive no doubt, people will be looking for avenues where they can try out these technologies before deciding to spend their money.
Another plus point for its future, with full dimensional setups currently being too expensive to own in your living room, people will be willing to visit VR arcades for this unique experience. What better way for arcade companies to recoup their investment in their equipment than a constant flow of new customers?
The increase in interest in these will benefit the industry overall, providing developers the confidence to develop the technology further.
With the main draw of a VR arcade being its ease of entry point (a mere few dollars to play a game) compared to purchasing an expensive full-dimensional setup that could cost upwards of a few hundred dollars, your next reason to visit the mall may be to experience Virtual Reality complete with full three-dimensional gear and a place to hang out with your friends physically.
Come 2030, VR Arcades can become a central hub where people gather and try out the latest emerging technologies. They will also be crucial to the new metaverse industry and mass adoption of VR.
VR’s future is in the Arcade now correctly so-termed ‘VR Arcade’.