Many people who try a high-quality Virtual Reality rig find it close-to life changing – It’s the sheer disbelief of finding yourself being transported to another world. It’s all engrossing.
The downside is that the top end gear is still too expensive for people to have in their homes. There are moves just across the Solent that could change this.
Hope to open this summer
This could soon be possible if a new virtual reality centre is approved for Portsmouth, making it one of only three in the south of England.
City residents Sabina Borthevic and Michael Kaciuba are hoping to open My VR Portal in the Bridge Shopping Centre in Fratton this summer.
The husband and wife duo, who have lived in the city for eight years, were inspired by the popularity of virtual reality when travelling abroad.
Sabina, 26, said:
“This is still quite new in the UK. It is popular in the US and China, which is where we got the inspiration from. When we visited other countries we thought it would be a really good idea to bring it back here.
“This is something that everyone can enjoy. People can experience these amazing things together. It’s more sociable than gaming at home on your own.
“We think this will be something that families will want to do together.”
100 different games
If approved My VR Portal will initially offer 100 different games and experiences in four booths in the centre. Customers will be able to choose between 30 and 60 minute slots.
Sabina provided a few examples,
“You can travel all around the world and go to different places. You can experience the Titanic, climb Mount Everest and even go to the moon.”
Replacing empty retail units
The centre will replace one of the empty retail units in the shopping centre. Sabina added:
“As we all know retail is struggling at the moment. This is a new way to use the shop and attract visitors to Portsmouth.”
Currently there are only two other virtual reality centres in the south of England, in Bournemouth and London.
Cllr Pitt: “Amazing” addition to the city
Head of Culture and Leisure in the city, Councillor Steve Pitt, believed the My VR Portal would be an “amazing” addition to the city,
“This sounds absolutely amazing. We have waited a long time to see the Bridge Centre brought back into use. Some of these units have sat empty for too long.
“Regenerating our shopping centres is not just about providing new retail but new retail experiences.
“Virtual reality is something that the university here is a national leader in, so it’s great that a virtual reality centre will set up here.”
The centre will also be able to provide birthday parties on the first floor of the site.
Portsmouth City Council is expected to make a decision on the application by 14th May.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed