Virtual reality center to offer more than gaming

Dec. 18, 2018

A new business in Sioux Falls will offer virtual reality gaming, education and exercise.

Kasey Wheeler and his wife, Gwen, are opening Virtuality Gaming Den in a retail center at the southeast corner of  26th Street and Sycamore Avenue.

They started remodeling the space earlier this month and plan to be ready for a soft opening in February, Wheeler said.

“We’re hoping to be live and in business March 1.”

Wheeler works as an IT consultant but wanted to find another opportunity. He started with the idea of a pinball arcade, but a friend introduced him to virtual reality racing, and he was hooked.

“The concept of virtual reality is right up my alley,” Wheeler said.

He envisions Virtuality Gaming Den being used for more than gaming. In the mornings, users could rent the VivePro headsets and use apps for meditation, yoga or an aerobic workout.

“When you do this with the headset, you are alone with the world,” he said of the meditation and yoga programs. Or with fitness games, users can take on challenges with their avatar. “You can duck, weave and punch objects as they come at you.”

Later in the day, the center would be a great use for educational programming, Wheeler said. The Wheelers homeschool their children, so they’re aware of software that uses virtual reality to help students learn.

“I think you can reach people better through headsets because they’re immersive.”

Wheeler envisions students taking a virtual field trip or studying a subject such as anatomy. Apps are available with realistic anatomical models and thorough study guides, giving the students the opportunity to remove organs and other body parts and examine them.

Another fascinating use, he said, is traveling through an area using Google Earth. A user who has an upcoming vacation can have an immersive, street-view experience of checking out the area ahead of time, Wheeler said.

Another educational offering could be training firefighters to work inside a burning building without the dangers of fire and smoke, he said.

Later in the day, gaming will be the main focus. Wheeler wants to build a community and create leagues for racing and other games, and have users participate in worldwide tournaments that are offered for VR apps.

The fee will be $20 for a half-hour and $35 for an hour, and there will be 14 bays to use. For people who are new to the VR experience, staff members will help customers explore the offerings and find something that interests them, Wheeler said.

Virtuality Gaming Den also will have a couple of racing simulators, possibly a couple of  cinematic pods, gaming consoles and, to satisfy Wheeler’s initial idea, a pinball machine or two, including a virtual version.

The business also will offer mobile services for birthday parties or corporate events.

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Virtual reality center to offer more than gaming

A new business in Sioux Falls will offer virtual reality gaming, education and exercise.

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