Virtual Reality Arcades are Bouncing Back
Virtual reality arcades and other location-based entertainment centers (LBEs) were swept aside by the pandemic with some even declaring bankruptcy as governments moved to curb the pandemic with strict lockdown measures.
With the pandemic now receding into the distance following aggressive vaccination programs, virtual reality arcades are bouncing back on a grand scale.
The latest success story in the LBE market segment has been Sandbox’s recent $37 million fundraising round and plans to roll out new centers in cities across the US and the globe. Investors are once again showing confidence in the battered virtual reality arcade business. Sandbox VR raised funds from a constellation of financiers including Andreessen Horowitz, Craft, Alibaba, and A12z. So far, Sandbox has raised $122 million.
Sandbox VR currently operates 12 locations in the U.S., Canada, and Asia. In July this year, three new arcades were opened in Las Vegas, Austin, and Shanghai where guests can immerse themselves into various VR adventures using virtual reality headsets, haptic vests, plastic guns, and backpack PCs.
Sandbox VR Planning a Global Expansion Drive
Sandbox VR develops all its VR arcade experiences in-house. Some of its popular experiences include Amber Sky 2088, Curse of Davy Jones, Deadwood Mansion, Star trek Discovery: Away Mission, and Unbound Fighting League.
Sandbox VR wants to use the new funds to open new locations, develop more content, and fine-tune its own hardware. Thanks to wireless data transmission, backpack PCs will soon be practical and with the help of an SDK, external studios will soon be able to develop games for Sandbox VR which will provide arcade patrons with more diverse content.
Ten more arcades are planned for 2022 including one in New Jersey, London, and Toronto. According to TechCrunch, Sandbox VR sales have increased twentyfold since its VR arcades were opened in April this year.
The VR Arcades are on the Rise
Sandbox VR isn’t the only VR arcade company seeing an upswing in its fortunes. The arcade chain The Void, once written off, has also bounced back and raised $20 million with a plan to relaunch in 2022. The VR arcade Zero Latency is already represented in 33 locations across the globe.
2022 will shape into a great year for the arcade business whose fortunes dipped during the pandemic.