The Chinese economy has been booming for quite some time and despite signs that the Chinese economic miracle might be slowing down, that doesn’t seem to have stopped massive projects reaching fruition in that country.
While Japan is messing around with dinky little VR arcades, the Chinese have decided to build a massive VR theme park. It’s been built in a part of China called Guizhou and sports a massive robot statue as one of its landmarks.
The statue is however not the point. Instead, this is a theme park that only sports virtual attractions.
What’s In a Name?
I’m not sure what the Chinese name of the park really is, but the translations seem to settle on Oriental Science Fiction Valley. Hey, if that’s the word they’re using I’m not going to argue.
In total there are 35 distinct VR attractions at the park and 15 themed pavilions. As you might expect, it’s not just rows of people strapped to VR headsets. No these people are also strapped to real roller coasters and other mechanical contrivances mean to whisk them away to fantastical VR realms while still putting plenty of G’s on their real-world bodies.
China is poised to become much more than just the place that makes the high-tech products other countries have developed. Chinese companies like Xiaomi and Huawei are poised to become innovators in their own right. Competing with the top tech brands in Asia and the West. They must be pretty confident in their market for this massive VR theme park as well, since a massive $470 Bn investment has been made in it. Whether they expect to make that back mainly from Chinese patrons or foreign tourists remain to be seen.
Running Out of Ideas
Of course, this is not the first time VR technology has been combined with theme parks. Disney and Universal Studios, to name but two, have done some incredible things at their own parks with both VR and AR technology. The difference here is that the Chinese park is built around VR entirely. Every ride and experience uses the technology. Based on what’s been said by the park founders, it seems this is mainly in response to the fact that most theme parks are basically the same. So the VR aspect of this new park is mainly meant to get people interested in theme parks again. Hey, that’s the same strategy arcades are using, so don’t knock it right off the bat.
Whether we’ll see anything similar in the States or Europe remains to be seen.