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VR's next frontier: Chuck E. Cheese's?
May 20, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

May 20, 2014 | By Christian Nutt
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    11 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Video, VR



Today, Chuck E. Cheese's announced that it has plans to test-market an Oculus Rift-based experience at several of its kid-friendly, attraction-based restaurants, called the Virtual Ticket Blaster -- a game that lets the birthday boy or girl collect prize tickets virtually, rather than physically.

The game was created by Chuck E. Cheese's partner Reel FX, and you can see it in action in the video above.

What lured the company into trying the new tech? "Kids today have unprecedented access to game consoles and tablets. Our challenge is to deliver an experience not available at home, and there is no doubt virtual reality does just that," Chuck E. Cheese's president Roger Cardinale said in a statement announcing the news.

Chuck E. Cheese's was started by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell in the late 1970s as arcade games were about to boom. The chain offers "games, rides, prizes, food, and entertainment," according to its website, and is most popularly visited as a venue for kids' birthday parties.

While this might not be exactly what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had in mind when he said "Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate," it certainly points to more mainstream possibilities for Oculus' VR tech outside of hardcore games.

By the end of this month, 30 Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants in Texas, California, and Florida will be equipped with Virtual Ticket Blaster units. The chain has a total of 567 locations according to its web site.


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Comments


Wolf Wozniak
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Beachhead 2000?

Brendan Gallagher
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Sometimes I hate the digital age. Now a kid can't stand in a swirling column of air surrounded by real tickets and this is seen as a plus.

Michael Joseph
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Yeah, I don't see how the Rift makes the ticket blaster experience better.

I think this video also reminds us that people interacting with a Rift app look extremely creepy to outside observers. Not as bad as the Lensor's from Chronicles of Riddick tho...

http://riddick.wikia.com/wiki/Lensor

still, it best not to look at them. :)

Nathan Tompkins
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100% agree! Being a 6-year-old inside a ticket blaster is one of those IRL moments that needs no virtual counterpart! And it's an experience that can't be recreated at home, even without the VR. This does not seem well thought-out to me.

Dave Hoskins
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They just looked like they were casually looking about, with blank faces. How much more fun would they have if you took the rift-mask off and let them chase the actual tickets about for real?
But they'll tell me I'm not 'getting it' if I point that out.

Andy Lundell
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It's by far the silliest and least interesting thing they could do with the technology. They're clearly depending on letting the hardware do all the work. The actual game was an afterthought that they didn't want to spend any time or money on.

As someone who's gone to many trade-shows demonstrating VR, I can tell you that'll actually be a winning strategy for a while. People will stand in line to try the dumbest thing you can think of if they can wear a VR headset while doing it.

Andy Lundell
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Those face-mounts are going to be disease FACTORIES.

I mean, even more so than regular Chuck E. Cheese's hardware.

Michael Joseph
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pink eye is fun!

Maybe there's profit in designing and selling paper occulus rift face gaskets.

George Menhal III
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It would be more interesting if several kids wore Oculus headsets while they collectively played a game together within the virtual space. A lot could be done with this idea. For example, a virtual game show for the kids to enjoy. Surely, anyone who grew up in the nineties remembers Nick Arcade. Imagine having a virtual version of this but powered by Oculus technology. You could do so many things within the simulation that simply could not be done in real life.

Arthur Hulsman
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lol the kids their noses are inside of the rift. eeeeewlgh ! :D

Dave Hoskins
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Haha! I didn't notice that. It has a nice snot shelf in there, and a warm breading grounds for bacteria. Nice one!


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