As 2016 has shown, the virtual reality market is rapidly expanding, and we’ve already seen the US movie theater industry heavily betting on it. But Paris’ MK2 movie theaters have taken this idea to a new level, opening a new VR experience that allows anyone to come in and play the latest games on the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR, all at a rate of about $25 for 40 minutes. Think of it as the elaborate, futuristic VR arcade you dreamed of as a kid.
The cinema company just launched a pilot location at its main theater in Paris, featuring a modern, high-tech designed 3,000-square-foot area. The use of metal, glass, and wood gives the space a hint of Apple Store feel, but it’s the 12 VR stations that really stand out.
“MK2 VR is the first facility in France dedicated to the best VR experiences in films, documentaries, video games and even flying motion sims,” the company told Engadget. Each station has its headset’s cables suspended overhead and offers plenty of space to move, allowing freedom of motion. There’s also elaborate seats for use with games that simulate activities like flying or rowing.
The Vive and Rift are powered by MSI computers with NVIDIA GeForce 1080 graphics cards and Intel Core i7-6700K CPUs, and each station has staff assigned to help users put on headsets and get accustomed to VR. All the biggest and latest games for the PSVR, Vive, and Rift are available to play, with the latter’s new Oculus Touch controllers already on-hand.
MK2 says the space is designed to be fun and exciting for anyone, even those not familiar with the tech. “It’s really important that we bring the VR experience to people who don’t know VR,” general manager Elisha Karmitz said. And while $25 for 40 minutes is much more expensive than seeing a movie, there’s no better way for those planning to purchase a headset to try out all three back-to-back in the same location.
The theater imagines the space appealing to groups of friends out to have some fun, adding to the idea of it as a new-age VR arcade. MK2 will also offer private group rentals for things like corporate events and parties. The Paris theater is the location as of now, but MK2 says if it turns out to be popular, they’ll consider expanding.