No, I am not joking. And how goddamn cool is that?!
Ctrl V today announced plans to open at least 10 new virtual reality arcade location across Canada in the next eight months.
Seven months after opening, Ctrl V has already seen a fantastic response to its VR arcade and has quickly grown in popularity and size, with over 12,000 unique customers attending the Waterloo location alone. Part of its recent expansion efforts includes a four-station pilot with Landmark Cinemas and a single station location at Kitchener Public Library that is free for public use. An eight-station Ctrl V branded installation also opened up in Edmonton this past November.
The Ctrl V Guelph location that is opening later this month will be the first of nine confirmed franchise locations opening up across Canada. Ctrl V arcades will be opening up in Red Deer and Calgary in February, one in Lethbridge in March, as well as many others to come.
Ctrl V’s CEO, Ryan Brooks, says “Our team anticipated the entertainment industry’s involvement in the expansion of VR back in January 2016, and approached our current industry partners months before we opened our first arcade location; it’s a natural next-step for entertainment and storytelling. We see our platform as being a great complement to the entertainment experience and we are very focused on supporting this aspect of VR expansion.”
Though multiple VR arcades have popped up across North America, many of these arcades do not meet the goals and regulations of the Virtual Reality Standards Board (VRSB), a non-profit organization created for the purpose of regulating and advising commercial VR and AR facilities on best practices. One of the VRSB co-founders, Bernie Roehl, expanded on this growing issue: “As VR continues to grow in popularity, many new players are entering the VR Arcade market. It’s essential for the future success of VR that everyone adhere to some basic, common-sense guidelines in order to ensure the health and safety of users and protect the rights of content creators. Bad user experiences will affect the growth of the industry, and not rewarding developers for their efforts will make it more difficult to find quality content going forwards. I’m glad to see the VRSB working on those two critical areas.”
As a franchisor, Ctrl V is not only a verified member of the VRSB, but also offers a key differentiator from other arcades, having an in-house development team and proprietary software suite. This software features an accessible customer-facing user interface which allows visitors to preview, load and exit games at their own discretion. Customers can enjoy and experience VR at their own pace with ‘virtually’ no assistance required from the staff, greatly reducing labour costs compared to other arcades.