SINGAPORE: “Get that zombie away from me!”
Those were some of the more kid-friendly comments that emerged while we were battling the undead and making sure they do not breach the makeshift fort we were housed in, as we “fought” to stay alive while waiting for help to arrive.
Strapped with a game pack on our backs, customised virtual reality headsets and Razer-branded headsets sitting snugly on our heads and cradling futuristic-looking guns, six of us from Channel NewsAsia got an up-close-and-personal experience of the latest entertainment option to be made available in Singapore from Friday (Nov 24).
Enter Zero Latency Singapore, a 4,200-sq-ft VR gaming zone located at Suntec City that allows gamers to roam around untethered while tackling three virtual worlds: Engineerium, Zombie Survival and Singularity.
Engineerium is positioned as a “family-friendly fantasy alien world” where gamers collaborate to solve puzzle challenges, and tackle their fears of heights and the unknown, at the same time, while Singularity is for hard-core gamers looking to down killer robots and drones in zero gravity. Zombie Survival is one where players have to shoot their way to safety, protecting their fort, as help arrives (belatedly).
Singapore-incorporated operator Tomorrow Entertainment, which brought indoor adventure arena Bounce here last year, partnered Australia-based VR entertainment and gaming developer Zero Latency to bring the latter’s offering here. Customers can purchase a ticket, which includes 30 minutes of gameplay, for S$69 – although the launch price in the initial stages will be at S$59.
PRICING ASIDE, GAMERS WILL COME
Executive director Simon Ogilvie, speaking to Channel NewsAsia ahead of the launch on Tuesday (Nov 21), said the company had discovered Zero Latency 18 months ago and have been in talks to bring its VR content to Singapore since.
The next step was to identify the site where Zero Latency Singapore will be based at and, from there, the whole process of setting up operations took a total of three months, Mr Ogilvie said, adding that the whole set-up cost the company “north of a million dollars”.
Singapore is the first market in Southeast Asia to host Zero Latency’s VR games, and the executive director said this is because he recognises that the local consumer is “willing to pay for value” when it comes to looking for the best - whether it is in food or entertainment, among others.
With that in mind, he is confident that there will be people here keen to pay for this gaming experience.
“Do I think it is a sustainable market? Yes,” Mr Ogilvie said, noting that the company did an independent market study to suss out consumers’ appetite for premium-priced entertainment.
There will be some “sticker shock” initially, he acknowledged, but said the offering is likely to draw people back “multiple times”.
“I liken Zero Latency to be the ‘business class’ of gaming,” he said. “It won’t be available for everyone because of the price.”
However, given that there have been “several hundred tickets sold” ahead of its launch on Friday, Mr Ogilvie is optimistic that Singaporeans will take to its VR gaming and the “social experience” it elicits.
He also revealed that the company will be bringing Zero Latency to other Asian markets in the next seven months, including Hong Kong, Macau and Bangkok.