The industry of Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR, VR) is growing at a fast pace. An Emerged Research report predicts VR markets will reach around $1.25 billion by 2025. With gaming content remaining the most engaging VR content today amusement venues and location-based entertainment sites have also grown in popularity.
No surprise that VR arcades are popping up around London to let people experience the computer-generated worlds without having to buy a headset. Moreover, an arcade, players have the ability try out all of the latest amazing products in one place. But only the most innovative and advanced companies can suit to the demands of the modern audience as the overwhelming hype sets off a flurry of expectations from the public.
DNA VR launched in July 2017 out of a small basement in Camden as London’s first and largest virtual reality arcade. The business grew quickly via word of mouth from a very engaged audience. In 2019 and 2020 they received two Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards and in 2020 the company expanded, opening two new venues – in Hammersmith and Battersea. This year they opened their first arcade in Manchester.
Stepping into the screen
We tested out the virtual reality experience at the iconic Battersea Power Station. The space features individual zones with access to VR escape rooms, multiplayer games, as well as the company’s signature Free-Roaming. Gamers are spoilt for choice with over 50 virtual experiences.
VR Arcade and VR Escape Room are set in separate Pods where players can communicate with their friends through the headsets as they play. While there may be other customers at the venue, you are never going to play with strangers which a big plus.
The Free-Roaming experience is set in a separate zone where the whole team can walk around freely and play together untethered using wireless headsets. Bring up to four players and pitch against flesh-eating zombies, out-of-control robots and even each other in a variety of games. Our ultimate favourite is Arizona Sunshine where the game will throw you into a world of instincts and survival.
You will have one hour to complete the chosen mission but there is an option to book multiple sessions.
A virtual escape
We chose the VR Escape Room and were teleported to an abandoned monastery filled with whispering ghosts and ancient puzzles. It was rated as medium difficulty so tricky but great fun for newbies. A staff member monitored our game and we could communicate via the headsets if we ran into any trouble or got stuck during the game – where they would drop us a hint to progress. We’re proud to say we completed the escape room in 52 minutes and we’ll definitely be back for another game one day.
DNA VR has 3 venues in London (Battersea, Hammersmith and Camden) in 1 at Brown Street in Manchester. Pricing varies based on the day and the size of the group and starts at £29pp for VR Arcade and £22pp for VR Escape rooms.
Reservations and more information can be found here.
Image credits: © DNA VR