Virtual reality theme park The Void opening its first outpost in Times Square
The most talked about experience in technology over the last six months has to be The Void, an immersive virtual reality theme park based in Utah that transports users to another world they can see, feel, and interact with. It uses a VR headset powered by a supercomputer backpack to allow for untethered walking. Participants wear a haptic suit that tracks their movement and provides a sensory experience. Moving podiums, fog machines, and heat lamps give the VR world a physically convincing atmosphere. The sales pitch is that this is not just virtual reality, it's hyper reality, and all the reviews so far have testified to an experience that lives up to this moniker.
The company's business plan is to create entertainment centers around the world, small-scale versions of what it built in Utah powered by the same tech. The Void will create its own content, but it will also serve as an immersive version of major films and video games. If you go to see Star Wars in theaters and you love it, you can pay an additional $10 or $20 to spend 15 minutes actually walking around in the universe interacting with its characters and environment. Today it announced the launch of its first public experience, a partnership with Sony Pictures around its new Ghostbusters film.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Times Square will be the venue for the first Void experience outside of its home base in Utah. Visitors will move through a virtual exploration of the props, costumes, locations, and vehicles from the film. "After exploring the iconic Ghostbusters Headquarters, guests experience the epic finale, in which visitors take part in a ghost hunt of their own, saving New York City from a paranormal villain. This supernatural encounter will also include figures of the Ghostbusters crew from the new movie, all of whom are prepared to help visitors wage battle against nefarious paranormal activity."
The Void is masterminded by Ken Bretschneider, a serial startup founder who made a fortune when a private equity firm acquired a majority ownership stake in his cybersecurity firm, DigiCert. He has partnered with entrepreneurs specializing in things like magic and stagecraft to craft a VR experience that goes beyond the typical headset.
The New York attraction is being called "Ghostbusters: Dimension" and will open on July 1st, just ahead of the film's July 15th debut. The Void is said to be developing it in collaboration with Ivan Reitman, who directed the original film, and Paul Feig, who's behind the remake.