The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have caused a great deal of unrest in various startups in recent months. Some seem to have helped them a lot. However, not all sectors were lucky and we have recently seen a number of virtual reality (VR) startups closing or selling.
VR arcades did not crash during the pandemic, as this industrial sector was already in trouble, failing to reach the general public's interest in VR in entertainment. The low interest of consumers and performance difficulties associated with the rapid movement of users through experiences were among the biggest challenges facing VR arcades.
This week, Apple confirmed the acquisition of Spaces, a virtual reality arcade startup, which was forced to close its personal arcade under COVID. Its acquisition by Apple is a sure sign of failure, but it is unlikely the company has an interest in reviving the startup.
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that its US subsidiary Sandbox VR had filed for bankruptcy. Sandbox VR has raised a lot of money with the promise that it could refresh many industries at once.
In July, UploadVR discovered documents suggesting that Disney had terminated the lease of VR startup The Void's Downtown Disney, following months of closure related to COVID.
It was impossible to predict the current pandemic when many of these investments were made, but VR arcades had already shown that they were far from certain. Betting. At the end of 2018, IMAX closed the doors of the last of its seven VR arcades, after investing tens of millions in tries of virtual reality.
With the future of personal entertainment uncertain, the question is whether virtual reality arcades have a chance of recovery.
The fact is that many of these startups were promoting current realities on many fronts and trying to seriously change the landscape of digital entertainment of the 21st century, attempts that seemed impossible from the beginning.
As movie chains struggle to see how the pandemic will affect their industries in the long run, it is not surprising that many of these start-ups businesses failed to see the light at the end of the tunnel and are no longer operating or have been sold. I suspect that investors will be reluctant to support new efforts in this area and that the COVID-19 timeline will force current participants on axes that look dramatically different from the business models of the pre-COVID era. One fact is that the VR arcade market is different on United States compared to markets in countries such as China and Japan, where virtual reality arcades seem to fit a little more comfortably into the popular gaming culture.
If VR arcades survive or are reborn, this will be due to some very big changes in consumer behavior and VR adoption. The only sure thing is that virtual reality, as an industry, is in a difficult position.