Virtual Reality (VR) is the new ‘buzz’ technology that is constantly being improved and incorporated into just about every out-of-home industry segment and attraction in an effort to attract more new customers, extend length of stay, increase frequency of visitation and offer all a better experience. The most recent examples include adding commercial video attractions to: family entertainment centers/bowling (Virtual Rabbids, Hologate, & Virtuix Omniverse Arena), roller coasters, XD dark rides (Trio-Tech), and movie theaters (IMAX & Cinemark). And now comes VR Bumper Cars!
The VR bumper Car ride is named “Steampunk VR Scooter” and takes its users into a Wild West-style Arena where they compete against each other with retro-futuristic steam engines. The whole installation is already in development and will be installed in the ‘Erlebnispark Schloss Thurn’ in Germany.
Holodeck VR Raises the Bar and Teams up with VR Coaster to Create VR Bumper Cars
Holodeck VR, a German-based company, has raised the bar of the user experience by creating a Hollywood style bright and cheerful environment that looks like a decent quality animated movie. In addition, they have increased the number of players that can be present at one time. Quite an accomplishment.
As Reported Display Daily: “Taking a step in the direction of LBE, Holodeck VR has signed up with VR Coaster to create a state of the art, new form of VR entertainment, VR Bumper Cars. If you are stunned like me [the writer)] think about it a little more. Bumper cars are a typical old-fashioned amusement ride that has seen better days for a while. It is a relatively safe activity that allows kids to drive a ‘real’ car without the consequences of paying for any damage. Driving in many big cities today can make you feel that the streets are getting closer and closer to a real-world bumper car ride with more severe consequences.”
“Overall, this could be seen as an attempt to upgrade an existing and rather dull entertainment ride with a low investment threshold to become a new top performer. A virtual reality layer on top of an old-fashioned bumper car ride, they may even get some teenagers interested in that venue.”
“With this world’s first VR Bumper Cars Attraction, we will once again open a new chapter in Location Based Virtual Reality,” says Prof. Thomas Wagner, Managing Partner of VR Coaster GmbH & Co. KG. According to the press release, “for the first time, guests can not only walk around in a virtual world but also drive their own fantastic vehicle. Guests will not only compete with each other but also against giant robotic enemies that will confront the drivers. They can get conquered with teamwork and by using the many extras and upgrades [like pay and go faster] that can get picked up by the players”.
What this Could Mean? My initial reaction is that although Bumper Cars are a great attraction [I do not agree with the writer that Bumper Cars are old fashioned and outdated as Amusement Products Spin Zone and RDC have brought bumper cars back to life], adding VR will give our industry an opportunity to charge more per ride and overall have more riders, even though those under age 12 may be restricted due to safety and insurance reasons. My research of this new technology shows that there are at least 3 new revenue models to consider: a) Have riders choose either a regular bumper car ride or a VR ride (VR pays more) and have both groups ride at the same time; and b) & c) Alternate times and have two queue lines, for example, regular bumper car rides are offered at the top of every operating hour (1:00 pm) and VR rides are offered at the bottom of every hour (1:30 pm).