The arcade is making a comeback, but not with pinball machines and fighting games. The VR arcade is on the rise as the price of consumer-level virtual reality equipment continues to fall. Nevertheless, these headsets are still beyond many consumers’ budgets, which makes an arcade the perfect middle ground. Location-based entertainment (LBE) facilities, though, must take safety into consideration in a post-pandemic world. To ensure a safe environment for children and families, choose a sterilization solution that always works.
Location Based Entertainment Sanitization: The Challenges and Solutions
Location Based Entertainment (LBE) and VR
The virtual reality arcade industry emerged in the late 2010s as headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive perfected their designs. Early models caused headaches and motion sickness due to relatively low graphical fidelity and refresh rates. Modern headsets, however, have proven to be much more comfortable. Nevertheless, many headsets require a connection to a more powerful computer, making them prohibitively expensive for many families. The location-based entertainment model was a perfect solution.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic pressed pause on the entire LBE industry. Although some articles claimed this would be the death of the entire virtual reality arcade concept, the opposite has been true. Months of isolation suddenly made virtual reality experiences much more attractive. Facebook began investing heavily in its virtual reality Metaverse. Half Life Alyx launched in early 2020 and arrived to critical acclaim as the best virtual reality title to date. Arcades closed, but virtual reality took off.
VR Arcades on the Rise
What critics failed to realize is that virtual reality experiences require specific equipment and physical space. For a truly immersive experience, users need space to walk around. Many people don’t have enough space to properly set up a virtual reality environment in their homes. Furthermore, more expensive equipment, like omnidirectional treadmills, is far out of reach for most people. The arcade can afford to invest in these requirements and provide a quality experience.
That’s why virtual reality arcades are seeing a resurgence after the pandemic. However, safety is still an important concern for parents. Many parents are wary of sending their children to a large, enclosed facility with lots of other children. Kids are not known for their good hygiene practices, and the risk of infection is high when lots of them gather. These concerns have given rise to another form of LBE: The mobile virtual reality arcade.
Mobile Virtual Reality Entertainment
Mobile virtual reality experiences surged in popularity during the pandemic and continue to perform well. Virtual reality equipment is loaded into the back of a truck which users can enter to try out various virtual reality games.
With the overall virtual reality market poised to grow at a breakneck pace, businesses have found success driving to homes for birthday parties and other such events, though they face the same problem that traditional location-based entertainment businesses do: sanitization.
The Risks of Shared Devices
The whole virtual reality arcade business model depends on multiple users for a single virtual reality device. Since individual consumers cannot afford their own devices, the arcade profits when many people come to experience a single unit. Sharing devices is unavoidable. Unfortunately, that presents additional risks to the users. Viruses and bacteria can settle on the surfaces of headsets, causing transmission after they’ve been handled. Similarly, handheld controllers can spread disease even with careful handwashing protocols in place.
The risk of infection poses an existential risk to these businesses. If an outbreak occurs after hiring one of these services, parents are likely to blame the virtual reality experience for the infections. A few bad reviews could result in the company going under. Although most businesses have tried to implement sanitary protocols to put customers at ease, many of these efforts have failed. This is because the traditional approach to disinfecting devices simply does not work.
The Traditional Approach Doesn’t Work
The traditional way to disinfect devices has been to use disinfecting wipes or sprays. These methods never fully disinfect anything because there is always an element of human error present. With wipes, for instance, the user has to ensure that the wipe covers all exposed surfaces thoroughly with enough pressure to ensure that the disinfecting agent can actually transfer to the device. Most people simply won’t take the time to perform the task properly.
Sprays likewise tend to miss nooks and crannies in devices where viruses can hide. Even if an employee were perfectly trained and did their job with precision every single time, using wipes or sprays would still be wasteful. Wipes and spray cans end up in the landfill, further adding to global waste. In addition, they cost money and have to be kept in stock, taking up valuable inventory space. These methods are not only ineffective, but they’re also inefficient.
A Specialized Solution
Instead of trying a one-size-fits-all solution that doesn’t actually deliver what it promises, why not switch to a specialized solution built specifically for the virtual reality market? Virtual reality headsets and controllers are not easy to clean with wipes or sprays. In fact, some of those chemicals can tarnish the finish on headsets or even cause damage to internal components if liquids are applied incorrectly. Protect the investment and promote cleanliness in the business with CleanBox.
CleanBox is a specialized solution for shared devices. The CX Series, for example, was built specifically for head-mounted devices, including virtual reality headsets. They also work for headphones or customer service headsets, so they can serve multiple purposes for businesses. CleanBox products take up very little space and can be easily stacked to make it easy to disinfect multiple units quickly. What makes CleanBox better than the traditional methods of cleaning with wipes and disinfectants?
UVC Technology Delivers
Light can do what chemicals cannot. Specifically, CleanBox products use UVC light to sterilize virtual reality headsets and their accessories in as little as a minute. UVC LEDs emit a high-intensity UVC beam at wavelengths that disrupt the RNA that viruses and bacteria use to replicate. However, the strength and wavelength are finely tuned to ensure they do not damage sensitive electronics. CleanBox is therefore safe for all kinds of devices.
To make sure that UVC light can reach inside headsets and ensure complete disinfection, mirrors help reflect UVC light into hard-to-reach places. The final result is a perfectly sterilized device every single time. By removing human error, CleanBox provides consistent results that anyone can achieve with the press of a button. UVC has become the go-to disinfecting method for many other applications. For example, there are now UVC systems for car interiors!
A Box for Every Device
The CX Series can handle all kinds of head-mounted devices. Nevertheless, virtual reality experiences involve other kinds of equipment that may not conform to the shape of a standard headset. Video game controllers and other handheld devices can also be safely sterilized in the OmniClean 2 box. If it fits in the 12”x12”x7” box, it can be disinfected perfectly every time. Pair an OmniClean with a CX Series to make sure the virtual reality experience is 100% safe.
To learn more about CleanBox products and how they can help, contact CleanBox to speak to a product specialist.