Virtual reality has been a predicted part of the popular culture for several decades. Yet technology has yet to really deliver the sort of immersive experience with VR that science fiction writers have often imagined. But The Void may be beginning to change this.
Entertainment and VR
The Void only been around for a few years, but its mixture of entertainment and VR has already seen the virtual reality theme park established in multiple locations. The Void combines head-mounted displays with motion tracking, haptic feedback, special effects, and classic virtual reality, in order to enable customers to freely explore and interact with virtual settings.
This is a big step forward in virtual reality technology, and has seen The Void establish itself in London, Dubai, Toronto, Washington, Austin, Dallas, Orlando, Minneapolis, New York, Hollywood, Las Vegas, and several other locations. This system has been a hit with customers of all ages, who recognize that The Void is delivering a level of immersiveness in VR that has hitherto never been achieved.
Another smart move with The Void is its enthusiastic embrace of popular culture, and some of the biggest movie franchises in the world. Rather than merely plunging visitors into a surreal setting, The Void has created virtual worlds associated with the likes of the avengers, Star Wars and Ghostbusters franchises.
One of the interesting things about The Void is that the technology utilized by these theme parks is far from revolutionary. Early iterations of the system included in The Void were based around an Oculus Rift Development Kit 2, Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, and a Leap Motion unit for hand tracking. There is nothing here that isn’t already commercially available, but the manufacturers of The Void experience utilized some nifty filming techniques and optical illusions in order to enhance the experience, while custom-designed equipment was developed.
This development process resulted in Rapture, which is notable for its curved 2K resolution display, capable of delivering a 180-degree field of vision. Custom optics have also been built into The Void VR experience, while Bang and Olufsen headphones, and microphones for communication between players are also included.
Interestingly, The Void also intends to play a role in the resurrection of the high street, as its developers have stated that they see the project as being very much based in malls that are often experiencing financial difficulties. It is hoped that The Void can then play a role in making these once popular establishments viable once more.
The spirit of gaming
Perhaps where The Void has been particularly successful is in building on the spirit of video games, but then delivering something that is impossible in the home environment. This is what was always envisaged for the aforementioned Oculus Rift, as well as the PlayStation VR project. But while it would be unfair to say that these two virtual reality projects have missed the mark, the quality of home gaming on VR has yet to reach the standard that so many wish to see.
This isn’t the case with The Void, which has been praised for its superb levels of interactivity and immersion. In this sense, the attraction almost acts like a 21st-century video arcade, delivering unimaginable thrills in the way which couldn’t be duplicated at home, just as pioneers such as Space Invaders and Pac-Man changed gaming forever some decades ago.
Whether The Void will have the profound impact on popular culture achieved by these archetypal arcade games remains to be seen, but it is certainly shifting perception of the VR niche.