But it's been a slow start for VR. So far, the best-selling headset is Sony's PlayStation VR, which has notched more than a million units at $399 apiece since its release in October. Rumors from industry executives and consultants are that competing headsets have sold a fraction as many. (HTC, maker of the $799 Vive, declined to share sales figures. Oculus didn't respond to a request for comment about how many Rift headsets it's sold since they went on the market last March.). Arcades aren't new.
Forty years ago, the video game industry faced a conundrum that today seems almost laughable: Video games back then weren't considered kids' toys, Instead, the bulky cabinets they came in were installed in pool halls, bars and college hangouts, where people popped quarters to play titles like Pong and the racing game Moto-Cross in between swigs of beer, But then Pac-Man came along and changed the way the world looked at entertainment -- and made people wish you were beer iphone case rethink their perception of video games, Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell thought kids would love games, so he launched a chain of stores called Chuck E, Cheese's, Originally called "Chuck E, Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre," it offered music, food, a cartoon mouse mascot and, of course, video games..
Now the next generation of arcades may be on the way. But these aren't for kids. Instead, they're for the seemingly reluctant masses who haven't yet bought into VR. "VR is one of those things that's very hard to talk to someone about, but as soon as they experience it, it sells itself," said Frank Azor, head of Dell's Alienware gaming division. He's worked with VR arcade makers The Void and Zero Latency, which together have more than half a dozen locations in Australia, Japan, the UK, Spain and the US.
If game makers can show what's possible with VR tech, he said, people will come, Toss in some food and beer, and VR arcades could make for an easy family outing, "If you experience those things, it's jaw-dropping and it's unbelievable and you don't want to leave," Azor said, That's part of what's appealed to companies like IMAX, which is building arcades in New York, Shanghai, Tokyo and Los Angeles, Even major game makers like Ubisoft, whose games include popular wish you were beer iphone case titles like Assassin's Creed, FarCry and Just Dance, are creating games for these centers -- despite the industry's slow start..
At the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the industry's annual hype-building event for new games and devices being held this week in Los Angeles, other game makers such as Bethesda Softworks announced plans to sell VR games by the year's end. "None of us believes this is going away as a form of gaming," said Chris Early, Ubisoft's VP of Partnerships & Revenue. "This is our chance to figure out how to tell stories in this new medium."Not everyone's sold. Sean Kelley, an associate at investment and advisory company The Rain Group, said while his firm has made bets on entertainment and live events, it's not yet convinced VR arcades are going to be a big draw.