Toppers at the AMOA and AAMA will be broadening the definition of fun at the March Amusement Expo International, welcoming VR entertainment ecosystems as a new potential area of growth. Companies representing some of the most innovative out-of-home entertainment will dot the show floor, as always, but this year a “VR Pavilion” will house some new faces in the rapidly-developing virtual reality market.
In the past, Expo leaders have successfully targeted similar markets like laser tag and bulk vending, effectively growing the impact and reach of this spring trade show. Now, they hope to do the same with VR.
The VR Pavilion will be augmented by an entire day of panels and seminars dedicated to the emerging tech, as well as educational opportunities and hands-on demos on the show floor. Curator of the VR education program at Expo will be Bob Cooney, business development consultant for Zero Latency and RePlay columnist, who stresses the importance of providing solid first impressions to those who try VR in the arcade.
“Arcades will continue to be the locations where most people will first experience VR,” said Cooney. “Billions of dollars have been invested in virtual reality startups based on the expectation that the consumer market was poised to explode. However, with consumer adoption emerging slowly, companies are now flocking to location-based entertainment as a means to showcase their products and build the consumer awareness they hope will lead to greater adoption.”
According to Greenlight Insights, a leader in virtual and augmented reality market intelligence, global spending on location-based VR entertainment will exceed $8 billion by 2022, up from $579 million in 2017. Location-based entertainment centers will continue to play a significant role in growing consumer awareness and mass adoption of VR technology.
The new VR program’s educational track debuts on Tuesday, Feb. 27, during the Amusement Expo International Education Day. The trade show itself, including the VR Pavilion, is open Wednesday, Feb. 28, and Thursday, March 1, in South Hall 1 of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Be sure to don a headset or attend a class if you want to get up-to-date on what could be the next big thing!