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VR arcades need to be social to succeed

VR arcades need to be social to succeed
From Engadget - June 1, 2017

As for the games, Front Defense is a WW2 shooter that sees you as a solitary resistance fighter defending a fixed position from an advancing army. The title, which was announced last year, gets you pretty sweaty as you skulk around the sandbags grabbing weapons. But, ultimately, the sandbags and lighting that surrounds the booth is little more than theater for those watching you take part.

On the other hand, the Project Cars setup harnesses a pair of VR racing chairs that very few would afford to own in their homes. Racing around the track, you feel every jerk and shudder of the race, and I was told that, if I started feeling nauseous, to alert the attendants immediately. It's easy to imagine that VR experiences like this would be an easy sell for virtual petrol-heads looking for a thrill.

But neither of those games were really particularly gee-whiz, even to someone with little experience of VR like myself. That's because the former could easily have been played at home, and the latter is like every other premium racing sim on the market, albeit with VR. I could not imagine traveling to the other side of the world, or to my local mall, to experience either, but that's not where Viveland's strengths reside.

Dino Commando requires four players to stand in formation against an on-rushing army of velociraptors in the ruins of a city. It's a title that goes up against the limits of VR, and having the dinosaurs clip into you as they attack helps break the player's suspension of disbelief. But that's not the point, because what made it fun was playing it together with your friends in a social context. Yes, games like this can be played online, but there's a reason people still drag their gaming laptops over to their friend's homes.

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