It’s been interesting to see people coming up with new ways to socialise and entertain themselves in person. With so much talk about how technology is isolating us and turning us inward, it seems that there’s just something about the social spirit of communities rebelling, so to speak. Trendy new movie theatres with reclining chairs and bars in the lobbies, awesome escape rooms, and axe-throwing bar attractions, for instance, are all essentially new in the last few years, at least as far as mass popularity goes. And pretty soon, we’ll be adding VRcades to this list. 

What Is A VRcade? 

VRcade is actually a very clever name in that it perfectly explains a simple but new concept. A VRcade is simply a virtual reality arcade facility, and it serves various purposes. One is simply that it supplies VR gaming to paying customers who might be intrigued by the concept, but not so much so as to buy their own $500 headsets. Another purpose is that with enough space and investment, a good VRrcade can offer more interactive versions of games. Basically, they can pair virtual reality headsets and games with additional equipment (think treadmills, race car apparatuses, etc.) in a way that very few people will be able to do at home. 

What Are The Games Like? 

It’s almost a little bit too early in the era of VRcades to definitively state what the games are like. However, there are some examples, and beyond these there are some clear examples of games better suited for this kind of space than for home gaming. VRcades are going to be presenting us with 360-degree enclosed treadmill-like machines that allow us to “walk” through adventure and first-person shooter landscapes. Racing games will also be great fits for VRcades in that we can see some of the same imitation cars and motorcycles that used to exist in regular arcades, now paired with VR. Entire casinos can be simulated within VRcades rather than just poker tables or any of the individual video games that have become popular in the slot category (which are in fact making the transition into VR). And we’ll also see brand new experiences with machines and exoskeletons that allow us to safely move and manipulate space while strapped into imaginary realms. 

Where Are These Popping Up? 

This is not a question that can be answered particularly simply just yet. The hope is that in due time there will be maps and navigator tools to help people find VRcades wherever they may be. Right now though, speaking more broadly, VRcades are generating the most attention in the U.S. and in East Asia. The U.S. facilities have been linked to big cities and popular entertainment hot spots like Las Vegas, whereas Asia is said to host some of the most cutting edge VRcades in the world to date. There aren’t quite enough of these yet for us to simply list cities or countries, but the idea is spreading, so if you’re wondering about one in your area, it’s worth doing a bit of internet searching to see if such a place exists yet.