Cutting-edge virtual reality may not be something that comes to mind when someone thinks about children's restaurant chain Chuck E. Cheese, but it soon might be
. The popular birthday hub is teaming up with Reel FX and Oculus VR
to bring a new gaming experience to its patrons. An old favorite, the Ticket Blaster, will get a new look for kids that are taking part in birthday parties with the "Chuck E. Cheese's Virtual Ticket Blaster Experience."
The new ticket-gathering experience will strap an Oculus Rift to participants inside the Ticket Blaster tube to aim and shoot at tickets inside a virtual world. Tickets blasted while in the game will be registered using head tracking technology, and are "fully redeemable at the merchandise counter." Sample footage of the attraction in action shows that the tickets will still physically swarm around those playing, adding another element to the VR experience.
"Kids today have unprecedented access to game consoles and tablets," says CEC Entertainment President Roger Cardinale. "Our challenge is to deliver an experience not available at home, and there is no doubt virtual reality does just that. Oculus Rift technology is the next frontier in the gaming industry, and we're thrilled to be able to say it's part of the Chuck E. Cheese's lineup."
A six-week testing program will launch for the new ticket experience, with a Dallas location receiving the first machine today. A total of 30 locations in the United States will be participating, with 16 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, six in Orlando and eight in San Diego being named as part of the pilot program.
"The Oculus Rift is just sort of one of those ways that we can extend new technology into our stores, be a leader, be the first to the marketplace and provide an experience for kids that they can't get anywhere else," says Jeremy Blaido, senior director of marketing communications at CEC Entertainment.