First Virtual Reality Arcade Opens in Manila - Virtual Room PH. Exclusive discount for VRAR | Q Readers
I don't know about you but I'm not willing (read: can't afford) to shell out the money required to get an Oculus or HTC Vibe, so when I found out Virtual Room was having an open house to try out their toys for free, I was all over that. Thanks Facebook for letting me know of their event!
I was thrilled to be able to meet and chat with owner, Elle Castaneda! See our interview below.
ALSO - Thanks to Virtual Room PH, you can get a 50% discount on all packages exclusively for VRAR Queen readers. Fill in your email in the form on the right to get instructions on how to redeem this special offer.
What it's Like and What They Have
Virtual Room is Manila's first VR arcade. The vibe is much like the game room many kids dream about. When you enter, there are some Oculus Rift stations to the left, and behind them, a chill out area where you can relax your eyes and hang with your friends. The chill out area is a wall lined with multicolored bean bags that instantly put you in a good mood- like you're about to have a bag of Skittles, start kindergarten, or that perhaps you may have just gotten a job at Google. It's a wonderful break from the all black everything that game consoles and headsets are these days.
What this was Like for a Non-VR Enthusiast
Walk deeper into the arcade and it's a cozy den for the 90 inch tv. I came here with my boyfriend and he was most interested in playing NBA 2k17 on this. It was his first time trying non-mobile VR too and he described it as "intense" and that it "made him dizzy." He also said the zombie game on Oculus was "quite stressful." After this, he had no interest in trying the Vibe and parked it at the TV, playing basketball. He was very content here. It's cool, VR isn't everyone's bag.
What an Oculus Rift Feels Like
I watched an animated movie about a hedgehog. It was his birthday and these dancing dog balloons that came over to his house to play with him. One of the balloons popped by one of his spikes and they all got scared. I don't know what happened after, because I don't have that kind of attention span, and I switched to VR Goat which was very, very addicting! In this game, you climb up a mountain as a goat, but similar to Super Mario, you have to avoid falling to your goat death.
As expected, Oculus was much better than mobile VR, but at this point idk if it was 10x better, that I would buy one. An interesting difference was that with Oculus, I REALLY wanted to reach out and touch in things. Not so much on mobile. Probably because with mobile VR your hands are holding the viewer and/or pressing the button on the viewer. In Oculus, I had no motion sickness of any sort, which was as nice change from mobile VR.
Note to self, would be cool to be a user experience Designer for games. At least my twisted dreams would be of use. Look at the plots I just described. LOL.
With hand controllers, the urge to reach out was satisfied. I started with Google Tilt Brush and then did the rollercoaster. The rollercoaster really felt like one, but unfortunately I had to rip off the headset mid free fall because my head was starting to feel the same way it does when hungover - not good. The graphics were nice for both the Vibe and Oculus. The only real difference at this point was the ability to use your hands, which is kind of a big deal.
Who Should Try Virtual Room
Do you have a VR arcade in your country? Tell us what that's like in the comments!
Interview with Elle Casataneda
Founder and Owner, Virtual Room PH
Tell us about Virtual Room, what hardware do you have here?
So far we have Oculus Rift CV1, HTC Vive, 90" LED TV, and a Flight Simulator.
What are some of the most popular games or ones you recommend?
For Oculus - Eve Valkyrie, Lucky's Tale and Project Cars.
HTC Vive - The Brookhaven, The Lab and Google Tilt Brush.
PC Games on the 90" LED TV- NBA 2K17, Fifa 17 and GTA 5.
What's your background? How did you decide you were going to start this?
I work with startups from Silicon Valley, establishing their offshore operations in Manila and Cebu. After recruiting top developers in the country, I noticed one of their similar interests is games. I used to have employees playing DOTA2 for hours after work in the office. My partner and I thought why can't we have a hub for them instead of playing in the office and their respective home and simply enjoy it with their group of friends. Also, an average student or professional won't be able to get a hand of the VR devices and set up a custom CPU for the specific requirement. So, thought of making it available and affordable to the market.
What's your personal favorite headset and game?
I personally enjoy the HTC Vive especially the Google Tilt Brush. Roller Coaster is also a big thrill.
What do you think the future of VR is? What about for the Philippines?
VR is fast developing with recent adaptation in other countries and field. I was impressed with the VR Game Shops in Hongkong, London and Tel Aviv. One of the most impressive VR technology I witnessed is the tour of Old Jerusalem in Israel via VR headset. Such a great way to revive history. Philippines is getting there, we are still at the infancy stage I believe. Most people think we are ripping them off thinking we are using the Plastic VR boxes for $5 available in the market right now. Information about VR is lacking, and personally I hope VR won't be a mainstream "game only" mindset in PH but also an alternative tool for education and other areas. I have to commend you for a great website flourishing much needed information about AR and VR technology!
More about Virtual Room PH:
So much has been going on in the last few days in the VR world, it's been overwhelming. A few days ago, (3/26/16), the very first Oculus Rift was shipped, at the high but not horrifying price of 599 USD.
Immediately, those lucky enough to get their hands on a set were sharing their thoughts. From hardcore gaming community to tech writers, what seemed to be the general consensus is: the headset is awesome, it looks great, you are very much transported to another world, but for now it's only advisable for those early adopters in the gaming world. Everyone, however, agrees it's the beginning of a game changer. I've summarized my findings below.
Some issues with this version:
-Associated hardware is very costly. Will set you back another few thousand USD
-Issues of motion sickness with the headset on haven't fully been resolved
-Even at barely a pound in weight, it leaves marks on your face if worn too long, like ski goggles, maybe not such a big deal
-Isn't "room scale" meaning you're expected to be seated or standing and not move more than a few feet (don't walk around, you'll get injured like me)
-Peripheral vision is limited
-No hand controllers yet. Still interacting with games the same, old fashioned way, even if the experience is different.
-Game installation seems to be annoying and complicated
But the good parts:
-Images are very clear. You can adjust the distance between your eyes to match what yours actually are. If set up correctly, the image is incredibly clear. This is called the interpupilary distance (IPD) and effects your focus on images
-Looking around is smooth sailing. 90-frames-per-second refresh rate is very smooth and you don't get any kind of visual lag that you do with lesser equipment (which is the case with a lot of mobile VR right now)
-Great accessories. Comes with 3D Audio earphones and a controller that seem to do their jobs well
-Doesn't obstruct your mouth so you can eat and drink without taking it off (serious plus for serious gamers or entertainment consumers, though I'm not sure how you'd see what you're eating, until they figure out how to incorporate human sustenance into the view field
For more details and reviews:
Dan Stapleton, IGN
Adi Robertson, The Verge
Geoffrey Fowler, WSJ
On launch games
Oculus as a company has played a huge part of the accelerated widespread acceptance of VR. I have to admit I'm part of this group. VR has been here for a long time, but Facebook's 2014 acquisition of the Kickstarter funded company was an integral part of validating the space. Imagine like you were just doing you, and then one day Leo DiCaprio wants to hang out with you, without any change, you're suddenly more cool and accepted. Same principle of social proofing applies. Everyone loves Facebook, right, even if you don't, you still use it or at the very least know about it. Mark Z know this is the future. He's often said the mind is the next frontier.
Oculus was founded in 2012 by Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe in Irvine, CA. It was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for 2 billion USD.
More on Oculus
VR & AR are for everyone.