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Road Testing the Newest Location-Based VR Experiences by Gibby

Since the epidemic, location-based virtual reality has grown again. So let’s play some video games! The world’s fastest-growing firm, Sandbox VR, recently established its 40th site. Gibby’s Guide set out to test drive the best products the market had to offer.

Presents by Gibby

An English-born journalist, director, and radio host with the name of Gibby Zobel. He has been producing content for the BBC World Service, BBC News, and China Global Television Network (CGTN) from his home base in Brazil for more than 20 years. He writes and publishes Gibby’s Guide, a free independent VR digital magazine that was released in 2021 while he is on vacation in the UK.

We share a few of the magazine’s feature articles as admirers of Gibby’s work, including this one from the most recent issue: Gibby’s Guide V23.

“I wanted my pals to be able to physically engage with one another through an immersive experience where they could reach out and touch each other. I thought that when someone could completely lose themselves in the immersive experience, that’s when VR would start to work its magic. All of the game, the interface, and the suspension of disbelief would vanish, leaving only experience.

Co-founder and CEO of Sandbox VR Steve Zhao described his idea of a “minimum viable matrix.” He then erected it.


Location-based The term “Virtual Reality” or “LBVR” refers to an environment outside of the home where people can participate in special VR games, typically in teams, that are not available on consumer headsets. Additional features like fans, heaters, water spray, and hydraulics can enhance the experience, as well as haptic vests and tangible objects like guns. Games are specifically created internally or by studios like Ubisoft.

Their first arena opened in June 2017 on the 16th floor of a high rise in a back alley of Hong Kong, flanked by private members clubs and other less savory neighbors.

Exactly six years later, a prestigious property in the heart of Seattle has just became Sandbox VR’s 40th location worldwide. The company, which has locations throughout the US, Europe, and Asia, is the fastest-growing in its industry.

But it came extremely close to not happening. The nascent LBVR market was in danger of being suffocated by Covid-19 from birth. The Void, a significant player at the time, vanished into thin air. Some people made it through. Zhao’s Sandbox VR is an illustration of this. The narrative is told by him on his Medium page.

“Our revenue dropped by 100% as a result of the nationwide lockdown and the requirement that all of our retail locations close. The year was traumatic for the team and myself because we were managing a startup that was on the verge of collapse during the worst crisis imaginable, going through an emotionally exhausting bankruptcy procedure, and the team was barely getting paid at all, according to the founder.

However, they managed to survive despite a drastic 80% employee reduction, rent freezes, and other financial hardships.

They released Seekers of The Shard: Dragonfire, their sixth in-house developed LBVR game, last month. They have now announced an agreement with Netflix to later this year bring Squid Game to VR, following a collaboration with CBS to produce Star Trek Discovery.

With over 100,000 monthly ticket sales, Sandbox VR clearly stands out, but other LBVR businesses are also making strides.

Czech entrepreneur Divr Labs is backed by billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, who is most known for his stake in West Ham United Football Club, and has locations in Stockholm and Prague in addition to a great West London position inside Westfield, Europe’s largest shopping center.

Divr Labs’ 150 square meter facility can hold 48 people an hour thanks to clever design. When operating at full capacity, only that one retail space would generate income of more than $4M annually.

The first VR arcade in London, DNA VR, has grown to include three locations in the city and one in Manchester, while Meetspace VR, another UK company, operates seven arcades nationwide.

The world’s most technologically advanced theme park, Lionsgate Entertainment World, debuted in July 2019 in the Chinese province of Guandong. It makes use of well-known movie series like The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games to produce VR experiences like an indoor VR rollercoaster and a motorcycle sim.

In a similar manner, Star Wars Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge by ILMxLAB (now ILM Immersive) had a brief run at Disney World Orlando in 2022.

Back in London, Layered Reality also makes use of popular culture to create Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds Immersive Experience, a two-hour extravaganza.

The play, which is in its fourth year, is staged in a massive custom-built set. Over 175,000 people have visited it, making it Trip Advisor’s top-rated immersive experience in the city.

But how would you describe these encounters? Do they merit the hysteria?

LBVR may occasionally be a huge letdown; recent instances include attempts at prominent arts venues like the Serpentine Galleries and Barbican Centre, which can be disastrous for the general public’s attention, especially if it is their first time using a headset.

They must also compete favorably with other forms of entertainment. Retro establishments like NQ64, Arcade Club, and Pixel Bar are popular because traditional arcades are experiencing a revival.

Then there is the recent development of motion tracking projection mapping.

Squid Game, Ghostbusters, and Angry Birds are available from Immersive Gamebox in non-VR form, and Chaos Karts promises “an augmented reality experience without the need for headsets” on their illuminated race circuits.