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NBCUniversal interested in creating location-based VR content

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire heads to London with The Void and Continuum Attractions

NBCUniversal is interested in creating content for location-based virtual reality experiences but will be staying out of the home market for time being.

NBCUniversal logoSpeaking at the GamesBeat Summit in California, Chris Heatherly, executive vice-president of worldwide games at NBCUniversal, said that he location-based virtual reality (VR) is where the company is focused.

He pointed to The Void as an example. The Void creates immersive, virtual reality attractions in shopping malls and other visitor destinations. It started with a Ghostbusters experience but recently started operating  Star Wars – Secrets of the Empire in pop up locations around the US and London in the UK.

The Void’s VR set up uses HTC Vive displays and wearable computer backpacks. Players can go through the experiences in groups and interact with each other in the virtual world. They can also interact with what they see through the use of real objects that sync up with counterparts in the virtual simulation. This allows players to lean on walls, sit on benches, push buttons and use weapons.

“We’re really focused on location-based VR right now,” said Heatherly, according to VentureBeat. “If you look at how The Void has done with Star Wars or what Dreamscape has done with Alien Zoo — all of the location VR things that have opened have completely sold out.”

Due to the high-powered technology required these location-based experiences aren’t possible to setup at home.

Discussing home VR, Heatherly said: “It isn’t a business yet. There’s a lot of negativity around VR. I happen to be bullish about the platform, but I think the technology was far from prime time for most users. So the hype bubble got out of control.”

NBCUniversal’s VR strategy focuses on attractions, not headsets

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