DNA VR has officially opened the first full-scale virtual reality arcade in London. Based in Islington, the site has over 25 VR titles on offer, and aims to appeal to both gamers and non-gamers alike.
Titles include Arizona Sunshine, Fruit Ninja VR, Space Pirate Trainer, The Lab, Raw Data and Fantastic Contraption, as well as gentler, more immersive experiences such as Everest VR, Google Earth VR and Job Simulator, as well as 360 degree videos.
In the near future, DNA VR will also feature an exclusive 2-6 player VR experience called Alice in Wonderland: Stories, and a 2-5 player escape room challenge called Tales of Escape.
Single player experiences start from 22 for 30 minutes, rising to 30 for an hour, while two-player sessions start from 44 for 30 minutes or 60 for an hour. Group rooms for 2-3 players are also available to book from 16 per person for an hour, and 25 gift vouchers are available to purchase for friends and family.
"We first started looking at VR a long time ago when every tech magazine was praising this as the future of entertainment," DNA VR's co-founder Alexander Tsyurupa told MCV (pictured below).
"At that point we believed that the quality of content and hardware itself was not enough to make a really immersive experience. Sure, we could have just made a pop-up shop/event, drag a couple of curious customers in and then leave forever without carrying about their experience.
"But we wanted to educate people. To make them realise what it can actually do. That's why we haven't launched it earlier. We know that virtual reality has this very strong geeky image among most people. It's strongly associated mostly with gamers while we wanted everybody to try it and find an experience to their taste.
"When we came back after one of the first tests of VR, we started searching for similar venues in London and were shocked that there were VR Arcades (or entertainment venues) all around UK but still none of them are in London. We decided to act immediately.
"We were also surprised that, during our test sessions, all the emotions people actually experienced were very strong and real. Fifty-year-olds were amazed, laughing, screaming as well as ten-year-olds. We deliberately chose first timers (which was not a hard thing to do) who never showed any interest in gaming."
DNA VR has big plans for the future, too. "We see this venue as a starting point," they continued. "We want to get as much feedback as we can in order to understand what seems to be working for our customers and what experiences they are looking for. Judging from the first customers, there is definitely some potential in that."