New Zealand has a new gaming experience in Auckland with “world-first virtual reality tech”.
Zero Latency’s Cook St venue opened for a “soft launch” last weekend, and is accepting bookings.
It’s the largest facility of its kind in the country, a spokesperson said, with a 200sq metre space to roam in during games — and it offers the third-generation version of the technology, which eliminates the need to carry a heavy backpack.
“What sets this technology apart is that if you are walking in the game you are walking in real life — so your body and mind are always in sync,” Zero Latency NZ manager Yoland Swasbrook said.
“The new facility is designed to fill a gap in the market for late night entertainment for young tourists — as well as meeting the needs of the domestic gaming market.”
The technology was first developed in a Melbourne garage eight years ago and players can walk more than 1km per game.
It comes after the pandemic initially delayed the company’s launch plans in Aotearoa.
The room itself is marked with blue and white designs.
It’s a safety feature, helping the technology to detect walls and prevent people walking into them, with red lights and noises inside the headset alerting players if they’re close to a collision. The same warnings prevent players walking into each other.
“The games are immersive and offer ultra-realistic 5K resolution graphics and 3D spatial audio through HTC VR headsets — and can be played by up to eight players,” Swasbrook said.
The amount of enemies in combat games is scaled according to the number of players.
Zero Latency game master Arden Simpson said the system uses eight computers that each connect to a different headset.
“With room-scale VR, which is probably the most you’re able to do at home, you are gonna start feeling motion sick after a little while,” he said. “But being able to walk around this much and bob and weave through other people really mitigates the amount of nausea.”
At the moment, players carry a plastic gun during games. The guns look similar to those used in laser tag.
“I know something we’re probably working on is hand tracking,” Simpson said.
“So instead of having to carry around a controller, you can just use your hands and it’ll register where your hands and fingers are moving, which will be pretty cool. I’m pretty excited about that.
“We’re really targeting towards everyone; people who have never played VR, people who have played VR a lot. We do have unique games that we’ve had made specially for us like Far Cry VR, which is a completely new-made game made for us by Ubisoft.
“You barely even feel the headset after a while, it’s just really cool.”
The company hopes to eventually expand into other NZ centres.