A few weeks ago, we highlighted that a big challenge with the first year of consumer VR HMD sales is going to be the limited availability of adequate processing power in the first year. However, provided the HMD and VR technology makers can retain backwards compatibility with resolution processing requirements, the market potential will have sequential growth year to year.
So what of the ultra-high resolution HMDs and super-high field of view solutions like Starbreeze Studios’ StarVR HMD project? Where do they fit in the grand scheme of things if the early years are going to be relatively niche for a uniquely demanding technology such as theirs?
The answer was in front of us all along with their touring Walking Dead VR experience. ITA member Starbreeze Studios is launching StarCade, a virtual reality arcade featuring Walking Dead and other up and coming experiences. With the professional public exhibition market, processing power is a justifiable business expense as revenues are driven by lines of excited people trying the latest premium VR experiences they can’t get at home. With demos lasting a few moments each running on fresnel lenses that don’t need custom eye adjustments…it all makes sense.
The revenue model is just a supposition on our part; nothing has been announced or shared about this. For now, Starbreeze is inviting fellow content makers to participate (via their pre-VRLA press release):
“We continue to iterate the fact that VR really needs to be experienced in person to fully be able to appreciate the phenomenon, and why not have your first experience in a real premium setting in our StarVR headset? We’ve managed to secure a prime location where people are welcome to step into our StarCade and enjoy our OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead VR experience.” said Starbreeze CTO Emmanuel Marquez. He continued, “We’re developing our own StarCade catalogue of experiences, but we’re open to any content. We will invite developers to join us and give them the opportunity to put their content in our StarCade. We as an industry continuously need to educate ourselves to make VR truly successful, and this is just the first step in our planning to do so.”
This and other public exhibition models are a great opportunity for content makers to wow crowds with hopes that they will buy more accessible technology and experiences for the home. OR, maybe the content will be 100% unique for public exhibition and that will be satisfaction enough. Congrats to the Starbreeze Studios team for getting this off the ground!