East Croydon Cool talks…Virtual Reality

East Croydon Cool talks… is a blog series that explores topics of cultural interest via local area experts. This month we spoke to Simon Jones, Co-Founder of Limitless VR to learn more about the world of Virtual Reality.

In layman’s terms, how would you explain Virtual Reality?
It’s an interactive computer-generated experience that gives you the ability to be inside a game in either single player, multi-player or online with others.

What made you want to set up a VR café?
It all started a few Christmas’s ago when I was looking for presents for my daughters. I’d tried VR experiences out in London and was totally hooked on the possibilities so bought a couple of tech items so my family could give it a try. Within a month, both myself and Mike had a collection of gaming pc’s and HTC Vive headsets at home. After a year of us both using it at home and talking about its huge potential and how it would impact all business sectors we decided that a VR & gaming experience centre would a great way for us to enter the virtual reality business.

What VR experiences can you enjoy at Limitless VR? Is it all about gaming?
There is a big misconception that VR is all about gaming but we have a huge variety of experiences on offer. Everything from simple shooters to trying out new realities or giving something a go that you’ve always wanted to try in real life….like wingsuit jumping off a cliff! You can even dive into the ocean or experience being in the art of Dali or Van Gogh. We have something for everyone age 10 to 100 and cater for single, multi-player/groups, birthday parties and corporate events.

What brands/businesses have adopted VR well?
It really is impacting all business sectors. Here at Limitless-VR, we recently hosted some demos for a New York based company who wanted to use VR to model their client’s architectural ideas. Companies like IKEA are using it for visualising their furniture in your own home. It is also starting to be used for training purposes and as a collaborative medium especially during the concept and design process.

Who helped bring VR into the mainstream?
The main players are HTC and Oculus but other niche companies are now using the technology for warehouse experiences using gaming laptops in back packs so you can freely roam around e.g. Star Wars experience at Westfield. Nintendo have just opened a Mario Kart VR experience at the O2.

Is VR good/healthy for people (both physically and mentally?)
Definitely because a lot of the experiences are room-scale and require you to move around and interact with your surroundings. Everything is very immersive and visually stimulating. At a wider level, in America, the medical profession has used it to help war veterans with pain relief.

What is the future of VR?
VR is best out of the home at the moment. Like all new technologies it’s difficult to tell what direction it will take but for now making it more accessible to the general public is key to its success. We are trying to develop a new form of out of home entertainment mixing traditional activities with new technology.

What is the most popular single player game at Limitless-VR?
Probably the most popular game at the moment is Beat Saber – you have a light saber in each hand and have to cut blocks, avoid obstacles in time to the music – people of all ages seem to love this game!

What is the most popular multi-player game at Limitless-VR?
Arizona Sunshine is a firm favourite as up to 4 people can shoot zombies at the same time. Players see a graphical representation of each other and can hear each other through the headset…all in the Arizona sunshine (which means the game is actually not that scary to play!)

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