Soon, video games will be played in giant, empty rooms

For Zero Latency, a Melbourne-based virtual reality gaming company that’s in the process of helping launch 2,000- to 4,000-square-foot gaming “arenas” around the world, the formula is pretty straightforward.

The power of VR, explains Zero Latency head of global business development Bob Cooney, is the immersion it makes possible. “And the ultimate immersion,” he continues, “is in these big spaces where you get long experiences that are never going to happen at home.”

That’s a bit of a knock on the home VR market, where Cooney explains that immersion is constrained by, well, the size of your living room and all the furniture and everything else that gets in the player’s way. To do VR right, he’s saying, you’ve got to go big. Which explains why his company is on something of a tear at the moment, with six of Zero Latency’s gaming spaces open across four continents right now and three more opening in the next six weeks. And there are plenty more to come, with the company having a total of 24 open by the end of 2017.

Zero Latency’s gaming rig is a headset, gun and backpack.Zero Latency

One of the newest is a VR attraction powered by Zero Latency that was set to open on Memorial Day at Octane Raceway, a family entertainment center in Scottsdale, Ariz. Other Zero Latency spaces on the way include a VR space in Boston set to open in July, with venues already open in Tokyo, Madrid, and Orlando, among other destinations.

As far as business models go, this one is pretty simple. All that’s needed by Zero Latency — the origin of which dates back to the founders’ fascination with the idea of using a custom tracking system to play VR games in a big, empty warehouse-like space – is a room with basically nothing in it. (Other than the dozens of cameras tracking players’ movements, but you get the idea). The company already has rigs for players to use — which include an Alienware gaming computer and a custom backpack — and gaming…

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