Location-based virtual reality startup The Void will launch multiple new locations in the U.S. this year, and is also looking to cooperate on new experiences based on well-known intellectual property, the company’s new CEO Cliff Plumer told Variety this week. “Big IPs are big draws,” Plumer said.
The Void is probably best known for its “Ghostbusters Dimension” VR experience at Madame Tussauds in New York, which allows up to four players to explore the world of “Ghost Busters” together, armed with VR headsets, special vests and weapons. “That’s the first pilot project,” said Plumer.
The company officially announced Plumer as its new CEO Thursday. Plumer is joining The Void from Jaunt, where he worked as president of the company’s Los Angeles studio.
“I’m proud of what I did at Jaunt,” Plumer said. But his time at the VR content startup also gave him a unique perspective on the early struggles of the virtual reality industry. “Consumer adoption has been slow,” he said, with most people shying away from spending hundreds of dollars for expensive VR headsets.
The Void team believes that this won’t change any time soon — and that consumers are much more willing to shell out a couple of bucks for a VR experience. “We have a very simple economic model: sell tickets,” said Plumer.
But The Void isn’t just betting on lagging headset adoption. Experiences like “Ghostbusters Dimension” use detailed physical spaces with real chairs and other furniture players can actually bump into — something the company calls “hyper reality,” and something that can’t be matched by a home VR setup any time soon.
Plus, you can experience the whole thing together with someone else. “The Void is very much a social experience,” said Plumer.
Plumer said that future experiences will allow players to immerse themselves in the worlds of well-known movie franchises — something that he learned a thing or two about during his previous work-life. Before working for Jaunt, he served for six years as CEO of digital effects company Digital Domain, and three years as CTO of Lucasfilm. Said Plumer: “It has all led up to this moment.”