MindOut: a virtual reality arcade opened in Paris
Laughing, shouting, cheering, clapping, arguing… the atmosphere of the arcade of yesteryear may well be reborn from the ashes thanks to virtual reality. It may seem paradoxical to create social connection from virtual reality where everyone seems isolated in another world behind their headphones. Yet this is the bet of the founders of MindOut, the first arcade dedicated to virtual reality (VR) in Paris. And it works.
A community of players
In the heart of Paris, the hall opened its doors on April 21, 2017(and finalized its work only the following May 12). A complex of 200 m2 including 8 boxes equipped with two types of virtual reality headset HTC Vive and Oculus, 6 sitting stations for simulations of spaceships, piloting cars, motorcycles… and a green room that allows you to make mixed reality videos. “The advantage is to show a better immersion”, explains Romain Lesaffre, founding partner of MindOut. “From the screen, on the outside, you can see the player evolving in their virtual environment,” he adds. And then we intend to put the people who spend there on the Twitch MindOut (editor’s note : video game streaming platform)so that it becomes a podium of VR”. This would create a real community, always in the spirit of the arcade room. And the atmosphere is worked. On the ground floor, a clean white reminiscent of Westworld and in the basement, geometric blue decorations inspired by Tron.
Players in the upstairs room, screenshot from the MindOut presentation video
Players laughing in front of the screen of the green room dedicated to mixed reality videos, screenshot of the MindOut presentation video
“We select the games for the quality of the experience but also for the spectators”
Here no nausea, or motion sickness, this discomfort comparable to motion sickness felt when the movements of the body in the real do not follow those experienced by the brain in virtual reality. Indeed, the experiences lived in the boxes are equipped with room scaling, a technology that captures the real movements and transcribes them in the VR. The games offered are varied and of good quality. “Currently, we have about twenty content organized in 3 categories : exploration (like Google Earth), creation (like Tilt Brush) and fun (like Robot Recall), explains Max Goldenberg, head of communications and marketing at MindOut. We select the games for the quality of the experience for the player but also for those who watch, taking into account criteria of comfort, fluidity and replayability”.
500 REGISTERED. And for neophytes, don’t worry. Behind the reception desk, control screens allow staff to help you if you are stuck, talking directly to you through the headphones. On the practical side, to enjoy the experience, you have to recharge an NFC smart card to pass on a reader to start the game. For the moment it works well, at the time we write these lines, Romain Lesaffre confides to us having already 500 registered in three weeks of opening. And it is a safe bet that the room does not overflow. Note that in France, similar initiatives have also emerged in Lyon (Destination VR) and Lille (Ireel).
MindOut presentation video
Practical information :
MindOut, 35 rue de Turbigo, 75003 Paris
Tuesday, Wednesday, friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 10pm
30 € maximum per hour with decreasing rates and subscriptions
Website : www.mindout.fr