Just blocks from the Empire State Building, New York City’s VR World marks a bold approach to how consumers experience virtual reality. Part video game arcade, part curated gallery, and part bar and event space, VR World aims to shake up the industry by making VR more accessible to the everyday consumer.
“Virtual reality is something that is far more powerful than a new era of gaming,” said Leo Tsimmer, a board member at VR World. “Our daily lives will be touched massively by virtual reality. It is something of a new era in our communications. We wanted to merge the gap between hardware and content, which has risen exponentially in terms of available experiences and available technology. So we are able to present VR in a way that is easy.”
Tech companies have been hearing alarm bells around VR for some time now. Despite positive buzz, consumer adoption has been slow thanks to pricey at-home gear and limited awareness of the available experiences. According to a May report from Nielsen, very few US consumers say they’re likely to buy a VR headset on the market today: Just 7% of consumers would buy Samsung’s Gear, while 4% say the same about Google Daydream. Just 8 million consumer headsets shipped in 2016.
Opened on June 24th, VR World takes a new approach to the problem of adoption. For $49, VR World visitors receive a day pass with access to more than 50 different experiences. VR World is brand-agnostic, and aims to curate the best available experiences from today’s market. Downstairs, users can try Tilt Brush by Google or Fruit Ninja in VR. Upstairs, games like Superhot or rock-climbing simulator The Climb attract more traditional gamers.