The roll-out of pay-to-play VR continues unabated, as a pair of gaming enthusiasts prepare to bring the very latest in entertainment technology to the ancient city of York
A couple of intrepid souls from York are hoping to make waves in the leisure industry’s most cutting-edge sub-sector this year, having submitted plans to open the city’s first virtual-reality arcade.
Kate Nolton and Mike Creedon, the duo behind newly-incorporated Play It VR, are eyeballing a vacant retail space on York Road in Acomb, which they envision as the setting for York’s latest gaming destination: offering six bespoke VR suites, each of them touting several hundred games and experiences. The inception of the idea can be traced back to the age of classic video arcades.
“Mike spent a lot of time in games arcades when he was a kid back in the 80’s,” Nolton told Coinslot. “He enjoyed the social aspect as well as playing games – he would meet up with all his mates there and they would take it in turn to try and beat each other’s scores.”
Both Creedon and Nolton’s passion for video games persisted throughout the 90s and into the 00s, but it was only until recent advances within the field of virtual/augmented reality that they felt the time was right to take the plunge into operation.
“The technology has only advanced in the last two years, and the market of software is still growing hugely,” said Nolton. “Despite this, it still won’t be readily accessible to most of the public. We’re using the HTC Vive headset, and just one VR rig like that requires a powerful operating computer – costing somewhere in the region of £2,000. Throw into the mix the fact that you need enough floor- space to move around,and we believe that there’s a great opportunity for an arcade to offer that experience to the wider public.”
Play It VR are by no means alone in this belief. VR arcades have been springing up throughout major cities in North America for some years now – and if they have been slower to take seed in the UK,then that may be set to change. Just last month, Cornwall gained what already represents its second VR public gaming space, with Player Ready opening its doors to the people of Pool on July 21.
Of note is that Both Play It VR and Player Ready are private, small-business ventures created by passionate, genuine enthusiasts. It’s a heartening observation, lending credence to the idea that high-tech doesn’t necessarily have to mean big-business.
“There is a huge advantage of being closer to your customers,” Nolton told us. “Once we open, we know we’ll be able to quickly get a hold of what’s working and what’s not.”