The party giant will pilot an AR program with the “Virtual Ticket Blaster Experience.”
Chuck E. Cheese may bring up memories of pizza, skeeball, ticket hoarding and animatronic mice, but for the next generation of kids spending their birthdays there, memories may now revolve around virtual reality gaming. The kids enternainment company has paired with Reel FX, an Oculus Rift content creator, to trial a new Oculus Rift VR game in three markets.
Launching in Dallas on May 20, and spreading to San Diego and Orlando later this month, the Ticket Blaster game will be on offer for the birthday party package in a six week trial. The game involves the ‘Birthday Star’ going into a booth, equipped with an Oculus Rift headset. He or she will then be guided by Chuck E. into a virtual world where they must try and gather as many virtual tickets as possible.
Typical of any Oculus Rift game, the Ticket Blaster takes advantage of the headset’s 360-degree head-tracking technology and 3D view to create an immersive experience. Additionally elements outside of the headset – the use of air to create a wind tunnel and actual tickets flurrying about means that kids actually feel as though they are flying through a tunnel, whilst they wildly try to grasp tickets. At the end of the game, the headset registers the number of virtual tickets collected and the child can then redeem them at the merchandise counter, like any other arcade game.
In a press statement, Roger Cardinale, president of CEC Entertainment stated:
Kids today have unprecedented access to game consoles and tablets. Our challenge is to deliver an experience not available at home, and there is no doubt virtual reality does just that.
The Oculus Rift is considered the next generation of gaming and will eventually be at home sitting next to a Wii remote and Xbox Kinect console – it will eventually be simply another at-home gaming device. It is smart of Chuck E. Cheese to get ahead of the curve by offering the product before it trickles down to that age group.
The company has worked with Reel FX before in 2012 when they revitalised the brand by reimagining the starring character, Chuck E. into an electric-guitar playing rock star mouse.