By Gene Munster of Loup Ventures
Last Friday, Dave & Busters rolled out Jurassic World VR Expedition (JWVRE) at 114 locations, making it the most widely available location-based VR experience. We gave it a try and loved it. What’s unique is the combination of experience, duration, and cost that makes it “tell a friend” quality. While the future of VR is often debated, we remain optimistic that experiences like Jurassic World VR Expedition will advance the theme.
Background. JWVRE is a partnership between Dave & Busters (distribution), The VR Company (licensed and developed the content), and VRstudios (hardware and platform). Dave & Busters refers to it as an “experience,” but we felt it was more akin to a “ride.” It was less of a game, even though it has a gaming element.
Experience. The ride immerses you in Jurassic World (via HTC Vive headsets) where you act as a park ranger with the objective of “scanning” as many escaped dinosaurs as possible to return them to their cages. Up to four players can be on the ride, which utilizes hydraulics and fans to simulate the sensation of speeding through the park. It was the best VR experience we’ve had in the 4 years of covering the space.
Distribution. Dave & Busters has 115 locations in the US, and last week opened Jurassic World VR at 114 locations (Puerto Rico location was excluded). This rollout is notable given it’s the largest location-based VR rollout to date.
Cost. Much of VR’s struggle with adoption stems from the high sticker price, but location-based VR offers you a chance to experience the technology without committing to a full-blown investment. JWVRE’s 5-minute experience costs $5, in line with standard location-based VR pricing of $1 per minute. We tested JWVRE at the Towne Center Mall in Cary, NC. We visited a VR gaming arcade at the same mall and found 8 bays of HTC Vives, 3 of which were in use. The arcade also had $1 per minute pricing, but the quality of the experience was lacking. Unlike typical Dave & Busters games that use a point system, JWVRE requires the purchase of a $5 ticket. The average non-VR game runs 6.7 points (stored on a pre-paid card), which equates to about $1.30. The advantage of using the point system is players lose track of the amount they’re spending, and we believe the uptake of JWVRE would increase if users were charged 25 points instead of $5.
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