VR World NYC is the 1980s video arcade projected into the future.
CEO Yasser Ghanchi has converted a four floor building in Midtown Manhattan into the Western Hemisphere’s largest virtual reality entertainment space.
VR World features 50 active, passive, and interactive virtual reality experiences, spanning the gamut from interactive art and music to science and social impact t 3D-immersive versions of childhood video games.
“We have flying simulators, race simulators, and then there are also adaptations on well-known brands like ‘Fruit Ninja,'” Ghanchi explained.
Virtual reality has been the “Next Big Thing” for a while now. While the industry continues to overcome technical problems and improve the experience, the idea of VR hasn’t caught on the way other high-tech trends have—possibly because you need to take the plunge and buy VR gear in order to experience VR.
At VR World New York, visitors can sample what the company’s website calls “the absolute best of virtual reality content that spans across our universe.”
“What we are essentially trying to do is make virtual reality more accessible,” said CEO Yasser Ghanchi.
Visitors can sit back and watch galaxies form, or battle zombies, or join VR social scenes similar to the PC game “Second Life.”
“It’s interesting how submerged you become into the world. You almost feel like every step you take is actually real,” commented Rebecca Danon, a tourist who sampled a VR shooting game.
One thing you won’t find at VR World NYC are lines of customers waiting to get on rides. Instead, visitors receive RFID bracelets when they enter. Inside, they can sign up for games and get a message when a spot is available.
Food and drink is available throughout the building. Visitors are encouraged to wander around—relaxing and observing and deciding which experience to try next. Trained guides assist visitors in using the equipment and learning the controls for each specific experience.
Of course, all this futuristic fun is not free. Admission price before 3 p.m. for an all day is $39 and $49 after 3 p.m. Visitors can stay as long as they like and play whatever they want once they are in; all four floors and the countless virtual worlds they house are open for exploration.
VR World NYC is the biggest in the Western Hemisphere, but it will probably get competition eventually. many of the biggest tech players, including Google, Facebook, and Samsung, are investing heavily in the technology.