The VOID, the first VR theme park in the United States, officially opened its fully immersed experience center in Malaysia's Yunding World of Resorts, marking its formal entry into the Asian market.
Craig Watson, chairman and CEO of The Void, said Malaysia was the first experience center in Asia and would launch experience centers in other parts of Asia in the future. According to John D. Watkins, the VOID Asia CEO, in an interview with First Financial Journalist, the first experience center is expected to open in China in the summer of 2019, mainly through cooperation with internationally renowned IP and local top entertainment centers.
Denying Single Qualitative VR
If you are a Star Wars fan, you can trigger five senses to immerse yourself in the fierce battle of Imperial Secrets, put your guns in the smoky Mustafa planet, run down the flames and cliffs, and experience the real impact of the blasting.
If you're a nostalgic fan of Disney's Invincible Destruction King, the 2012 classic adventure film has allowed fans to run through VR devices in the real world of the adventure film, shooting spaceships with Ralph and Vanellope as cyber citizens, attacking pixel worms, and preventing rabbits and cats from invading Pancake Milkshake restaurant.
Founded in 2015, The VOID has nine experience centers worldwide - five in the United States, two in Canada, one in Dubai, and Yunding in Malaysia is the first in Asia.
However, on the qualitative issue of The VOID, including the founder, Asian CEO and other executives have repeatedly stressed that The VOID is not only a VR enterprise, but also entertainment content provider; it not only provides VR experience, more importantly, social experience. Craig Watson, president of the VOID, said that the original idea of the VOID Surreal Experience Center was to use magic to "deceive the human brain" and let players enter a parallel universe and experience surreal space.
This time, the VOID spent $10 million to build an experience center in Skytropolis Funland, Malaysia, which combines VR technology, stage performance, tactile and olfactory sensory effects with Hollywood characters and stories.
Huajinsheng stressed that The VOID is not a VR company. Its core competitiveness is a unique interactive experience. Based on VR technology, it brings users a surreal immersion game, which combines Hollywood characters and story situations through VR technology, stage performance and multi-sensory effects including touch and smell.
In addition, Huajin claims that the VOID is mainly supported by four legs - hardware, software, magic, and IP content.
In 2015, Disney's Lucas Film set up ILMxLAB's immersive entertainment department. At present, The VOID and ILMxLAB collaborate to launch Star Wars theme experience games. In July 2017, Disney announced that it would invest in the VOID. On the one hand, Disneyland could help the Void get more customers through traffic; on the other hand, the Void could help Disneyland enrich and upgrade its existing entertainment experience.
Not yet awakened after VR ebb
One of the reasons behind The VOID's deliberate avoidance of VR's nature is that the industry has not yet seen signs of recovery after a wave of bubbles has cooled down. Pan Bohang, the founder of VRplay, also told First Financial Journalist that overall, the timing of the entire VR industry is still in its infancy.
In 2014, Facebook bought Oculus for $3 billion, pushing the VR industry into the wind. In 2015, when the VR industry began to take shape and developed rapidly at the snowball speed, tens of thousands of practitioners tested the VR theme park model. Ken Bretschneider, the founder of the VOID, paid his own money to develop VR wearing equipment, including head display, vest, gloves and other equipment, as well as directional walking, radio frequency tracking system and other technical aspects.
At the end of 2016, The VOID completed the SDK development task and gradually increased its share in the content field by cooperating with third parties, including large studios and local content creation teams.
After the explosion, the VR industry fell into the freezing point in 2017. Many start-ups went bankrupt, and VR bubble theory was rampant. As the insider, Wang Congqing, President of HTC Vive China, mentioned the number one player on many occasions. He thought it was a big IP of VR content, which would greatly help the education market and consumers.
Unfortunately, the VR market did not fluctuate significantly in 2018. Wang Rui, co-founder and CTO of Mystery Valley MANAVR, has previously said that the profit prospects of VR theme parks and experience halls are not optimistic because they mainly rely on the novelty of users'first experience to bring dividends, including the second consumption ratio of TheVoid, which shows more technical strength than a complete sticky game content.
According to Digi-Capital's Q4 in 2017 and Q3 in 2018, China's share of investment in computer vision AR/VR has reached $3.9 billion in the past 12 months. On the other hand, the total AR/VR investment in North American market decreased from $1.5 billion in Q4 in 2017 to $120 million in Q3 in 2018. As a result, Digi-Capital predicts that the North American investment market will remain depressed. Whether Chinese companies can still win the favor of VC needs to be continuously observed in the next six months.
Huajinsheng said that in Malaysia, Yunding has a high reputation in the world, with 25 million visitors per year. Secondly, the age structure of Yunding visitors is comprehensive, covering 20-30 years old, which is in line with the VOID target group. Based on these two points, The VOID has done some research on cities such as Beishengguang when choosing cities to land in China, focusing on cities with large local population, high income and large number of tourists at home and abroad. Huajinsheng believes that the model of relying solely on tourists without local consumers is unsustainable. In addition, the specific location of each city is also very important, such as Shanghai's Lujiazui, Jing'an, Hongqiao and so on, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
As for the VOID's biggest problem at present, Hua Jinsheng told First Finance and Economics that the main problem lies in how to solve the efficiency problem during the rapid development period of the company, such as putting up to 50 people per hour in each experience area, and how to maximize the space utilization efficiency in the limited space and operation time, which is one of the difficulties.