The first wave of VR is bringing arcades back to London

Ctrl V The Londoner

Source: The Londoner
Author: Chris Montanini

Virtual reality is a concept that’s been teasing video game fans for decades.

Even in the era of coin-operated cabinet games and pinball machines, the idea of being completely immersed in a virtual world tugged on the imagination so firmly, some of the industry’s biggest players attempted the feat.

That included Nintendo, creators of the ambitious but ultimately terrible Virtual Boy, a portable 3D gaming console that, in 1995, finally convinced everyone that virtual reality needed to be left in the hands of science fiction writers.

Fast forward to 2018, though, and VR is quickly becoming gaming’s hot new trend, this time with the technology to back it up.

In London, that trend is on the cusp of a boom as local entrepreneurs begin to take advantage of hardware that’s becoming more affordable and easier to use.

It seems the VR arcade has arrived.

“It’s really immersive, I think that’s really the groundbreaking feature,” said James Booth, co-owner of the new Ctrl V location opening on Wharncliffe Road South next week. “Also, the large variety of content that we have. I’m not sure if you remember VR back in the 90s; VR now is very, very different, with a lot of developers making games. We’re having about five new games come out every month.”

Booth, a long time gamer, said he jumped on the first wave of VR consoles when they became available for purchase about two years ago. He’s since decided to become a franchisee of Ctrl V, a Waterloo-based company that has already opened eight arcades in Ontario and a few in western Canada and the US.

A few hundred people are expected to show up at the London location’s grand opening April 14, Booth said. The arcade will have 13 VR stations available for $25 per hour.

The largest multiplayer game can accommodate 10 players simultaneously. Ctrl V is accepting online bookings now.

“We have a lot of variety of content for people to try, and it’s not all high action,” Booth said. “There are a lot of games for people who aren’t really gamers, but they want to experience something.”

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