RePlay contributor and virtual reality aficionado Bob Cooney hosted a webinar on Jan. 31 for nearly 100 people, breaking down the “third wave” of virtual reality and emphasizing that “this time, things are different.”
According to Cooney, virtual reality (and a little further down the road, augmented reality) is going to be a role-defining technology. He likened it to smart phones, with many finding the tech unnecessary and gimmicky when they were initially debuted to the public, and no one expecting the world-changing impact that such a seemingly innocuous technology has had.
Also, Cooney emphasized that the place for this technology may not be in homes (at least any time soon) and that the out-of-home entertainment industry (that includes us in the amusement business) has an incredible opportunity to become early adopters of the tech. Companies such as IMAX and HTC Vive are already working to create out-of-home VR centers in the U.S., while Cooney points to Zero Latency (where he serves as head of global business development) as being ahead of the curve with its installation at Main Event Orlando.
While recognizing the difficulties in early adoption, Cooney stressed the technology may require a new way of thinking.
“VR requires a new mindset,” he concluded. “The industry’s current mindset is high-throughput, recognizable attractions with a low ticket price that are centered around families. The new mindset for VR should be targeted and exclusive, and requires a low throughput and a high ticket price.”