A new 11,000 square-foot virtual reality entertainment destination just opened in Paris, with the goal of making VR a more accessible and joyful (and less solitary) experience. Productman, the product and service creation studio spun off of Paris indie agency Buzzman, had a central role in its creation.
The new VR game center, called Illucity, offers 20 games for up to 33 visitors at a time. It was opened by Ymagis, a company specialized in digital technology for the cinema industry. Productman worked with its client to develop the concept, brand, customer experience, design and architecture of the center, which was set up in a former big box toy store in northeastern Paris. Depending on which type of game you play, tickets costs between $5.75 and $40.
“Most virtual reality experiences are rather disappointing--you often have equipment that isn’t up to standard,” says Francois Phan, Productman’s associate director. Also, he says, “virtual reality can seem like something where you’re closed off from other people.”
At Illucity, VR is a collective experience where you can see other people playing. The center is full of cheerful, bright colors (as opposed to some VR offerings that use stark, pale hues to convey a “tech-y” futuristic feel). There are sound effects and areas where the ground vibrates and fans blow air at you. Phan says the idea was to create a place “where your senses would be bowled over.”
Ymagis and Productman have big ambitions for the concept: The goal is to expand to other cities in France and internationally by summer 2019.
Productman has worked on other playful concepts before--including a nose mask that emitted a stinky fart smell, which was used by video game maker Ubisoft.