We’ve seen plenty of virtual reality companies attempt to mimic the feeling of movement while in a virtual world, but Chicago’s MassVR is taking a different approach. With multiple arenas each comprised of 8,000 square feet and a VR game equipped to handle real movement, MassVR has created the ultimate multiplayer experience. It’s virtual and it’s real, and it’s unlike anything else available now.
Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?
Running in the Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie, Illinois, MassVR pits up to eight players against each other in the game VR Champions. The two teams’ goal is to destroy the opposing power core, but unlike in other VR battle games, they’ll have to physically change locations to do so. The play-space you get in the game will be the same as it is in the physical arena, but you’ll be flying a virtual jetpack on your headset. Alongside the VR headset, you wear a backpack and hold a blast that you use to fire at the other team.
“Movement through space with your body will be as important as visual fidelity as VR headsets continue to develop,” said CEO Chris Lai. “At a certain point physical performance will need to match the visual performance of [head-mounted displays], whil will be achieved buy creating more versatile headsets that allow for gaming on a larger scale.”
The physical play area features heavy padding on the pillars located throughout so you won’t knock yourself out cold if you happen to run into one. MassVR also promises that you can feel like you’re flying or teleporting without worrying about getting sick. This is something already very difficult to achieve in standard VR with no physical movement.
Win for your audience
VR Champions certainly incentivizes success. The price of admission is $27 for anyone 12 and up, and the matches will be streamed on Twitch. You’ll potentially have worldwide viewers enjoying your multiplayer session.
“Competition is what will make VR into a true esport category, and with that, we will be able to scale this experience,” Lai added. “We are building a new esports genre using VR to make a competitive, active multiplayer experience.”
Lai also said that it’s aiming to shape the “health and culture” of kids by using something many of them are already familiar with: video games.
During special “Knockout Nights,” if you keep winning, you keep playing without having to pay more money. For these events, you register your team in advance and pay a flat $100 team fee.
MassVR is planning to stay at its current location through December. A typical trip takes about 45 minutes, with 25 of those spent in the virtual environment.
If you’re in the Chicago area, book a session with MassVR. You will have a lot of fun and get a workout in also.