32,000 sq ft of virtual reality heaven.
Virtual reality fans, get ready to lose your mind – China just opened the world’s first virtual reality theme park.
It’s called SoReal, and it looks, so, so, really good.
What to expect
Co-founded by illustrious film director Zhang Yimou – the man behind the 2008 Beijing Olympic opening ceremony, as well as hit films like Hero and House of Flying Daggers – this virtual wonderland looks incredible.
The vast centre covers about 32,000 sq ft, he explained, and it’s going to blow your mind.
Get stuck in
The theme park, which officially opened last weekend, features eight main attractions, including “the world’s largest” free-roaming VR system. (This means you get to go rogue – no wires needed).
Gamers can travel to the future, fly to space, fight monsters, or even enter Star Trek, alongside content including immersive films and educational experiences.
Importantly, the SoReal team has focused on moving VR from a solitary to a shared experience.
“In SoReal you can do most of the experiences together with your friends not only by yourself [which is] lonely,” says Wang.
“Our own multiplayer VR system has like 25 chairs … I’d do more if I had a bigger space.”
Although the SoReal theme park only hosted its ‘grand opening’ on Friday, it’s already clear the centre has a bright future.
During its 60-day ‘soft opening’ last year SoReal hosted more than 6,000 guests, each spending between £35-55 for a half day pass, or £7-9 for a single experience.
What’s more, the IDC predicts China will overtake the US as the world’s largest virtual-reality market in 2019. That’s big business.
Making VR mainstream
Building the world’s biggest VR theme park hasn’t been easy, but it will make the medium far more accessible to everyday people.
“The biggest challenge we are facing is to get a normal person to understand what VR truly is,” said Wang. “We are taking the approach that it doesn’t matter what technology we deploy, this is simply a futuristic high-tech amusement park.”
With this in mind, SoReal will soon open further venues in China and all over the world, says Wang.
“Be part of the location-based VR revolution,” he urges.
We’re game. Can we have a SoReal Britain now please?