Keep­ing an eye on the coin-op gaming scene


Sega has al­ready dab­bled with PlaySta­tion VR at its Tokyo Joy­po­lis cen­tres, but now it’s com­mit­ting to some­thing more per­ma­nent through a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween sub­sidiary Sega Live Cre­ation and Mel­bourne startup Zero La­tency. The two com­pa­nies plan to build a per­ma­nent ‘ware­house-sized vir­tual re­al­ity cen­tre’ in Tokyo in which play­ers can run about blast­ing fan­tas­ti­cal crea­tures. Zero La­tency’s tech re­calls Sony’s PSVR hard­ware through the il­lu­mi­nated coloured spheres, mounted to head­sets and guns, that it uses for track­ing, but the kit was ac­tu­ally co-de­vel­oped with a mil­i­tary con­trac­tor to en­sure it will be rugged enough to en­dure a sit­u­a­tion in­volv­ing over-ex­cited men run­ning about in the dark.

Play­ers wear a back­pack con­tain­ing the PC needed to drive ev­ery­thing (and min­imise trip­ping haz­ards). A zom­bie sur­vival game is al­ready planned, pre­dictably, as well as an un­spec­i­fied pointscor­ing chal­lenge, and play­ers can tackle the games alone or in teams. Zero La­tency is con­sid­er­ing what it calls “out-of-body hap­tics” to let play­ers feel heat and smell par­tic­u­lar aro­mas. Sega isn’t mak­ing games for the launch, but Zero La­tency plans to make its SDK avail­able to third­par­ties in the near fu­ture. There’s no firm launch date yet, but the tech is al­ready up and run­ning at Zero La­tency’s own ar­cade in its home city of Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia.

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