The Void: Pioneering VR arcade plans big comeback
For a long time, The Void was among the pioneers of VR arcades – and then Corona happened. But plans for the grand relaunch are underway.
The Void was among the first VR arcades to mix real-world objects with virtual worlds, and to do so in a large gaming area for several people at once. Thanks to the great interest in virtual reality and especially in The Void – the first YouTube videos garnered millions of views – the startup managed to reel in numerous well-known Disney licenses such as “Star Wars” and “The Avengers” and turn them into elaborate mixed reality experiences. But that cost a lot of money.
Corona shutdown was a permanent shutdown for The Void – until now
The Void quickly expanded internationally, which required a lot of investment. Then there were the licensing fees for Disney. Even before the Corona pandemic, The Void was said to be struggling financially. Disney shut down the Void arcade at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and revoked the start-up’s licenses.
When arcades were forced to close with the outbreak of the pandemic, The Void was unable to find a new investor. The start-up had to sell patents and trademark rights to entrepreneur Jim Bennett. Bennett initially left it open whether he would resell the rights and patents or make a fresh start after the pandemic.
“Bigger, stronger, better”: The Void attempts a reboot
Then, in the fall of 2021, Protocol published that former Void investor Adrian Steckel had acquired The Void rights for two million U.S. dollars and was planning a relaunch for 2022 together with former Void managers.
Under the name “Hyper Reality Partners,” the former Void team is said to have already raised $20 million US-Dollar last year. The team wants to trump the original Void concept and take VR “well beyond where it has been before” and “shape the future of the entertainment industry,” according to Hyper Reality Partners’ jobs website.
Now, The Void brand is also officially reporting back, “bigger, stronger and better than before,” according to the Void website, which is back online. The company describes improved VR technology integrated into a flexible platform that can evolve with the latest innovations.
That sounds like a stronger franchising approach, in part because The Void promises rapid expansion and more destinations, longer VR experiences with more depth, and a “wider spectrum of application and entertainment.” Details on the new technology and business model are not yet known.
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