Kingston’s entertainment options are about to increase as VR World Jamaica prepares to soft launch its unique offerings on July 24.
BUZZ Caribbean was given exclusive access to what is billed as Jamaica’s first virtual reality simulator lounge.
“Gaming is something we know that’s becoming a big thing now, virtual gaming especially,” said Floyd Campbell, General Manager — VR World Jamaica.
Campbell explained that VR World Jamaica came about while observing the local market.
He pointed to VRX Virtual Reality & eSports Centre in Portmore and what he saw as the success they were having.
VR World Jamaica was created to expand on the popular trends in the VR gaming space, only to have the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 bringing everything to a halt.
“Jamaicans, ourselves, don’t have a lot of places to go to, but the beach, the park, or whatever, but they don’t have an amusement centre that really can create some new adventures, so we decided that we were going to give it a shot. That’s when we decided to venture into VR, and a month later COVID came,” explained Campbell.
Since the nationwide lockdown VR World Jamaica has been dormant, waiting for the opportunity to reopen. Under the recent updated guidelines Campbell says they’re taking their time, firstly with a soft launch, and eventually they’ll be open with a full complement of their equipment.
Things start small, with video game console based VR systems.
There are four full VR gaming bays using the latest computer hardware, the fourth of which is a VIP bay for those who want a more private experience.
VR World Jamaica expands on the VR experience with booth seating for groups to enjoy regular and VR gaming.
The next step up are VR simulators of which there are currently six.
The VR airplane simulator has players strapping into a cockpit that moves to heighten the flying experience.
The Dark Mars simulator offers six-passenger fun, as all can strap in, pretend they’re in space or on a rollercoaster, with full physical feedback. The VR Racing simulator mimics driven vehicles, while the VR Racing Moto creates a realistic bike riding experience.
There is also a gun gallery that handles up to four players at a time, but the pièce de résistance is the Zombie Cage simulator.
This cube sees up to four players locked into a caged square space with nowhere to run as they fend off a virtual zombie attack.
Elements of the simulator provide physical feedback increasing the sense of immersion for the gamer. Campbell states, “these games are similar to what you’d find at Universal Studios and Disney World.”
His reference to the American amusement parks explains the level of interactive gaming entertainment VR World Jamaica hopes to provide in the coming months.
However, it’s not all fun and games for Campbell as he wants to put his business in the educational and tourist space while filling the need for eSports.
“From an educational standpoint, this is something that can stimulate the mind and create certain emotional aspects, but from a learning standpoint it also makes the person who experiences VR better thinkers, especially children who get involved with it.” He elaborated that there will be educational VR content aimed specifically at schools, while he intends to make sure the venue is capable of hosting competitive eSports events local and online.
VR World Jamaica opens its first location at Dunrobin Plaza, Kingston Jamaica on July 24.
Campbell explained while there is no cap on registration, under the current COVID-19 guidelines, they will be operating at half capacity.