Virtual Reality (VR), which was once seen as an intimidating and expensive technology among the common consumer, has taken a dramatic shift over recent years with the proliferation of affordable VR headsets like the Oculus (Meta) Quest. VR entertainment centers have played a major role in making this technology accessible to players all over the world. Looking ahead, if VR is to continue on its path to widespread accessibility, it is vital for entertainment centers to provide amazing and enjoyable social experiences that cannot be duplicated at home.
Instead of trying to offer the most amount of games or sell their technology, locations that are successful in the current market are the ones that continue to provide an amazing customer experience. Speaking of experience, Free Roam, also known as VR Arena, is one of the experiences that cannot be duplicated at home primarily because of the amazing social experience in addition to the overall heightened sense of reality.
Although VR centers are aware of this, providing an amazing Free Roam experience has never been easy. There are two main obstacles that locations face:
- Constraints in Technology
Though space will always be an issue due to high rent, providing a Free-Roam experience increases the ROI dramatically since 4 or more players can occupy the space that would normally take only 2 players for a room-scale or standalone experience. Locations will be served better in finding the right balance in providing room-scale and Free Roam experiences. An arena-based experience that cannot be played at home and that can be sold at a premium price. Game developers have also realized this and are starting to make content that can support 3 or more players in smaller spaces. There will always be a balance when it comes to space and the number of players supported, since cramming too many players in a small space will lead to an uncomfortable experience.
Constraints in Technology
This is where the most advancements have been made over the past two to three years. In the beginning, locations had to buy very expensive tracking technology (Optitrack anyone) and use backpack PCs. Many locations simply could not afford this and stayed away from providing a Free Roam experience and the ROI did not make any sense given the high initial investment. Down the line with the HTC vive 2.0 base stations, tracking was made affordable for larger spaces and locations were able to provide a Free Roam experience to their consumers.
Though the tracking improved, backpack PCs were not the ideal solution. With the advent of the Vive wireless adapter this improved but due to the lack of frequency, only three players could play in the space. Locations got creative by using a backpack pc for the fourth player but still, this was not the ideal solution as backpack PCs were very high maintenance and costly. Wireless adapters were reliable, however, they came with their own set of issues.
With the advent of android-based headsets like Meta Quest, Pico, and more recently Focus 3, things have begun to shift in a more positive direction. Streaming software like Airlink, virtual desktop streamer, Vive Business Streaming, and the combination of WiFi 6e have positively impacted locations, improving the ability to provide a Free Roam experience without many constraints. At SynthesisVR, our goal has been simple, we strive for standards and functionalities done in a way beneficial for everyone. Given the reliance of the listed applications on specific brands and hardware, we realize we actually need an Ultimate Streaming Solution that can elevate the Free Roam experience and make it easier to provide players with a unique social experience without any constraints, one that would work across all current and future VR headsets. This gives us the pleasure to introduce QuarkXR – a company that we have known for more than 6 years.
The SynthesisVR <-> QuarkXR collaboration was founded to provide the PERFECT streaming solution for all VR arcades worldwide.
- A tiny Windows streaming app is all that is needed, supporting all the standalone VR headsets, and requires no external accounts or extra applications
- Simple PCVR<->HMD pairing process
- No visual interactions by the player/customer
- HMD hot-swap/replacing the connected HMD without closing the game
- Variable bitrate settings for maximum control over the stream’s performance/quality
- Unified Kiosk Mode across multiple HMD brands
- Persistent VR Streaming mode
- Easy switch between VR streaming and individual on-device VR sessions
- No overhaul for the arcades – the QuarkXR streaming is completely free for SynthesisVR customers!
If you have any questions regarding this post or how to take advantage of this new solution please email firstname.lastname@example.org.