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The Jurassic World VR experience. Photo: The Virtual Reality Company

With consumer virtual reality headset sales not living up to the original hype, there is growing interest in what is known as destination VR — fixed locations where people can try out a specific experience. Such installations are coming soon to a mall, theater or restaurant near you, if they aren't there already.

Why it matters: By virtue of dedicated space and being able to justify the cost over many patrons, destination VR efforts can often provide an experience well ahead of what even a traditional high-end home system can offer. As such, it's a glimpse of where the industry is headed.

Jurassic World VR Expedition is the most recent example of this. It's an experience arriving at more than 100 Dave & Buster's locations and produced by the Virtual Reality Company, an early player in destination VR.

  • Jurassic World VR Expedition is a five-minute, multiplayer experience that lets four people compete against one another to capture lost dinosaurs. It uses a custom motion simulator with HTC's Vive headsets.

The bottom line: Destination VR is important because, for many people it's their first real experience with VR. The Jurassic Park attraction should be a good test of whether the notion has legs, bringing a popular franchise to a place that people already go for entertainment.

  • "This will be a great barometer for the model we are going for," says Robert Stromberg, co-founder and chief creative officer of the Virtual Reality Company.

More destination VR examples:

  • Birdly — On display at last month's Code Conference, Birdly uses a traditional VR headset, but has people lie down in a contraption that lets you fly like a bird by leaning and tilting your wings.
  • The Void — One of the early players in destination VR, the Utah-based effort has evolved over the years. The Void's most recent project, a Star Wars-themed game, was at TED this year and let people join in the action in a battle against stormtroopers.
  • iFly — The indoor skydiving venue recently added a VR component to let people recreate plunging over iconic locations.
  • Six Flags — The amusement park chain is using VR to breathe new life into some of its older roller coasters.

What's next: VR will extend to beyond the headset. Startup Immersive Artistry is transforming a spot on the Las Vegas strip into a $100 million multi-sensory experience that will merge live action and holograms to transport attendees to an Asian street market, complete with food, music and more.

  • Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell is part of the team behind the effort, due to open in August 2019. They envision a family-friendly daytime experience that will cost around $30 and an evening adults-only fare that will start at $60.
"We want to take large groups of people and transport them into places they could never go."
— Immersive Artistry CEO Cary Granat tells Axios.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

10 hours ago - Technology

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."