Location-Based VR Startup ‘The Void’ is Expanding to 25 New Locations
Location-based virtual reality entertainment company ‘The Void’ is partnering with the multinational mall developer and operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield to roll out some 25 location-based VR centers across the globe by 2022, mainly in the US and Europe according to an announcement made yesterday by both companies.
The new VR centers will be based in locations such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego that are slated for launch this summer. The VR company will be opening additional centers in the next two-and-a-half years which will cover locations such as Amsterdam, London, Copenhagen, Chicago, San Jose, Vienna, Stockhom and Oberhausen.
Location-based virtual reality experience is experiencing steady growth and currently represents the default gateway to the consumer market for the virtual reality headsets. Consumer uptake for VR headsets has not been as quick as had been anticipated a few years back and this centers now serve as the VR gateways through which average consumers get their first VR experiences.
For most forward-looking mall operators, location based virtual reality entertainment represents the next frontier of the mall shopping experience and offers a perfect opportunity for the operators to get more foot traffic into their shopping centers.
The Void already has intellectual property for some of its immersive experiences such as the Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire from Lucasfilm, Ghostbusters: Dimension, and Ralph Breaks the Internet by Disney Animation.
The Void runs 14 VR centers in several cities across the world including Orlando, Las Vegas, Dubai, Toronto and Santa Monica. The company has also seen some activity in the funding front and recently raised $20 million from James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems which will be used for its expansion plans.
The Westfield partnership will be key to its US expansion plans which The Void planning on launching pop-ups at the Westfield World Trade Center based in New York as well as in Westfield San Francisco Center, Westfield UTC located in San Diego and Westfield Santa Anita which is situated just outside Pasadena. Moving forward, all these location-based VR centers will also become a permanent feature of the mall experience.
The partnership is also a marriage of convenience of the two both of which are operating in industries that are currently facing tough times and external pressures. While virtual reality faces the harsh reality of limited home adoption and uptake of VR headsets, the mall business is facing a stiff challenge of glut in the commercial spaces as well as online retail. Shopping malls are currently struggling to attract the foot traffic and many malls are innovating and differentiating themselves by transforming their spaces into entertainment hubs rather than just shopping spaces.
The modern shopper is looking for experiences and expects to be entertained and to create and share lasting memories when they visit the shopping mall. For The Void, a partnership with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield opens the door for it to deliver a top quality out-of-home immersive entertainment experience on a much wider scale.