Samsung is collaborating with the Six Flags US theme park to bring VR roller coasters to some of its theme parks in 2016, thanks to Gear VR headsets.
It’s not the first theme park that is diving into major VR-based attractions this year, so it might seem that 2016 will open a whole new world for theme parks.
UK theme parks Alton Towers and Thorpe Park have already planned to refresh their traditional entertainment venues with a sprinkle of immersive experiences.
As far as Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is concerned, the VR ingredient represents a cautious toe in the water.
Nine Six Flags parks will host the first VR-enabled roller coasters in the U.S., with plans to provide its riders with optional Gear VR headpieces if they want to experience “pre-exiting physical roller coasters with VR experiences designed and rendered to match.”
In other words, the VR ride displayed in the Gear VR is synced to every turn and drop of the roller coaster, adding more authenticity to the experience itself.
It’s worth mentioning that park visitors will still experience the physical ride on the roller coaster – what would be the point to travel to a theme park if you are to just sit in a simulator?
Before Six Flags opens up the virtual reality option to the general public, the company will sell tickets to season visitors in a “technical rehearsal” for their VR roller coaster.
Two virtual reality experiences will be available for users; they will be able to choose between a futuristic battle to protect Earth from alien invasion and an epic Superman-themed superhero battle where riders are witnessing Lex Luthor and Clark Kent’s alter-ego fighting over the city of Metropolis.
Six Flags promises the “first-ever interactive gameplay technology on a roller coaster,” which will even allow riders to fire virtual weapons at the aliens they encounter.
It somehow makes sense that some theme parks are trying their luck with VR in terms of drawing the audiences’ interest in their rides again. Instead of having a physical, expensive upgrade, more and more companies will be offering a VR ‘companion’ experience incorporated in their pre-existing roller coasters.
In a world obsessed with tech-related experiences, it’s a smart and cost effective way to garner more interest in theme parks.
Six Flags is now able to add or replace digital VR experiences in order to refresh their offerings forever – a very convenient workaround that doesn’t involve engaging in expensive new ride constructions.
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