Giant robots and futuristic cyberpunk castles now rise out of lush mountain slopes on the outskirts of Guiyang, the capital of one of China’s poorest provinces. Well, it might turn out to be profitable for Guiyang but for the rest of the world, it is definitely exciting for it is China’s first virtual reality theme park. The new VR park, named ‘Oriental Science Fiction Valley‘, is nearly complete, featuring a bevy of VR attractions and rides that hopes to capitalize on China’s steadily growing VR industry.
The massive VR theme park spans over 330 acres with various sci-fi-inspired buildings and promises 35 virtual reality attractions, from shoot-’em-up games and virtual rollercoasters to tours with interstellar aliens of the region’s most scenic spots and also a studio dedicated to producing virtual reality movies. As reported, the project has already cost around $ 1.5 billion and while most rides will have some combination of VR headsets and motion platforms, there are a few non-VR attractions also like bungee jumping from the arm of the robot.
The theme park comes across as a part of China’s thrust to develop new drivers of growth centered on trends such as gaming, sports, and cutting-edge technology, to cut dependence on traditional industries. China is one of the world’s most important market for VR with consumers showing a willingness to go out and purchase VR devices or experiences, while consumer interest in the West has been considerably more muted. With more than 200 active virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) startups and more than 5,000 VR experience zones across the country, China is actively investing in the promising mobile and high-end segments of VR for gaming.
The park says it is the world’s first of its kind, although virtual reality-based attractions from the United States to Japan already draw interest from consumers and video gamers seeking a more immersive experience. Talking about the future of the project, the theme park’s Chief Executive Chen Jianli said, “After our attraction opens, it will change the entire tourism structure of Guizhou province as well as China’s southwest. This is an innovative attraction, because it’s just different.”
Part of the theme park will open its doors to the public in February 2018 and whether or not it will be a success or simply a novelty remains to be seen!