Bandai Namco expands its VR arcades to the UK

Bandai Namco announced yesterday the opening of two of its popular ‘VR Zones’ in the UK.

Based on its popular virtual reality arcade in Tokyo (VR Zone Shinjuku), they are the first to open outside of Japan and are labelled as “spin-offs” of the original Tokyo VR Zone.

Called VR Zone Portals, they are located at the O2 Arena in London and in Tunbridge Wells, both inside Hollywood Bowl locations. Each VR Zone Portal features “a wide range of non-IP VR activities”, from flight simulation to escaping an abandoned hospital.

Pricing differs at the two location, with the O2 one starting at a £4.99 price point for flight simulation Argyle Shift, while Hospital Escape Terror sets consumers back £7.99 and both experiences cost £11.99. At the Tunbridge Wells location, customers pay £4.99 for one VR experience (apparently regardless of the VR game you choose), £8.99 for two and £13.49 for three.

More VR Zone Portals are to be opened across the UK this year, the announcement said.

Having tested the arcade at the O2, VR Focus’ Kevin Williams said the games “offer a compelling VR experience if slightly shorter than expected” and both “had a ‘To Be Continued’ screen at the end of the game; a possible nod to future updates perhaps?” Williams added VR Zone Portal was “a tantalizing first taste of the amusement sector’s deployment of VR into the mainstream Out-of-Home entertainment sector.”

About Marie Dealessandri

Marie Dealessandri is MCV’s former senior staff writer. After testing the waters of the film industry in France and being a radio host and reporter in Canada, she settled for the games industry in London in 2015. She can be found (very) occasionally tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate, Hollow Knight and the Dead Cells soundtrack.

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