Not so long ago, virtual reality (VR) only existed in the realms of science fiction. But in recent years, the technology has been widely popularized, redefining diverse fields, ranging from medicine to gaming. Variety magazine reported that global VR revenues will reach over $7 billion by the end of this year and the figure is projected to increase to over $70 billion by 2021.
Theme park entertainment is one of the many fields being transformed by the VR revolution. Everland, South Korea’s largest theme park, has incorporated the latest VR technology in many of its attractions to give visitors unforgettable experiences.
Redefining Theme Parks
VR has blasted modern-day theme park entertainment into another dimension. With the capability to create entire new worlds, there’s almost nothing the technology cannot simulate.
Gyro VR is Everland’s latest innovation which embodies the future of theme park rides. Combining the power of Samsung Gear VR headset with a 360-degree spinning rig, Gyro VR transforms passengers into fighter pilots in outer space, taking them on a thrilling journey through narrow valleys and giant spaceships to defeat alien enemies. The ride garnered worldwide attention when it was exhibited on the international stage, cementing its place as a pioneer of theme park entertainment.
Opened earlier this year to great fanfare, Robot VR is another cutting-edge ride at Everland which gives a glimpse of the future of theme parks. Combining VR with the dynamic movement of a mechanical arm, Robot VR passengers can experience what it’s like to pilot a giant robot through different obstacles. With over 100,000 visitors in just 6 months, Robot VR stands as a testament to the wide appeal of VR theme park entertainment.
Breathing New Life into Classic Rides
Before VR came along, creating new rides for theme parks was costly and time consuming. It could take months or years for parks to develop novel experiences for visitors. But with the flexibilities offered by the latest VR technology, this is no longer the case. Visitors can expect to find something new every time they visit a theme park.
Capitalizing on the capabilities of VR, Everland has added surprising elements to the some of its classic attractions. Opened almost a decade ago, the T-Express has thrilled thousands of people of all ages. Everland created VR Adventure, which simulates the dips and turns of the T-Express with VR headsets and dynamic 4D chairs, to allow fans of the wooden rollercoaster to enjoy their favorite ride in a unique setting and more first-time visitors to experience the gravity-defying ride.
With the ability to generate novel sensations, VR has reinvented classic theme park attractions. Haunted House VR is the result of Everland’s collaborative effort with SK telecom to create the all-time favorite attraction for the digital age. From flying on a broom to fighting zombies with a chainsaw, Haunted House VR scare and frighten visitors in ways they have never experienced before.
Learning in Another Dimension
VR not only has the power to thrill, its ability to transport individuals to another world also makes it a powerful educational tool. Pride in Korea is part of Everland’s effort to make the theme park experience enriching as well as exciting. By simply putting on a VR headset, Pride in Korea takes visitors on a historical journey, providing adults and children alike a unique experience to learn about the country’s fascinating cultural heritage.
The Future of Entertainment
In just a short amount of time, VR has already opened many new avenues which were unthinkable before. The technology, however, is still in its infancy, with much more potential for growth. To help further the advancement of VR technology, Everland is donating parts of the revenue earned from its VR attractions to the pioneering startup Sang-wha. The startup collaborated with Everland in the design of Gyro VR and Robot VR. With VR-related innovations coming thick and fast, theme parks may be able to offer experiences beyond our wildest imaginations in the near future.