Thursday, May 13, 2021

On VR and the Importance of Collaboration

Editorial by Martin Palicki, IPM publisher

On a recent trip to China, I was surprised to find three distinct VR experiences available in one small shopping center in the city of Rizhao. It seemed as though mall operators had walked the show floor at the Asian Attractions Expo in Shanghai and said “I’ll take one of these, and a few of those, and I’d like to buy this also.”

martyIt may be a fad, as some experts have prophesized, but more likely, VR will continue to evolve and improve and become a staple of our entertainment offerings. Which makes one wonder when VR will be coming to waterparks.

There seems to be a “trickle down” effect of ideas and technologies between the various markets in our industry. Actually, to be fair, the information flows in multiple directions. Museums incorporated gamification and now WhiteWater’s “Slideboarding” and other game based activities are available in waterparks. Queue management and reservation systems designed for large theme parks are now being applied to waterparks. Multi-level water play structures are informing next generation adventure and dry play versions at theme parks.

It’s only a matter of time before VR and AR become more integrated in the waterpark experience. Once challenges of waterproofing are addressed, there could be significant advantages over current implementations. Most body slides are naturally solitary experiences, so the critique of VR being only a private experience wouldn’t hold much water (so to speak). Imagine sliding down a volcano in a river of lava. Or journeying along a fast-moving river through a tropical forest.

More important than VR specifics, however, is understanding that the industry as a whole benefits when we learn from one another. Good ideas come from many sources. InPark, in this issue and as always, works to share the lessons learned and inspire future collaboration. We are only one component. Trade shows and events organized by groups such as WWA and IAAPA are critical for engaging with the entire community and sharing knowledge. We look forward to sharing with you in New Orleans (WWA) and Orlando (IAAPA) soon.

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