The Void, a developer of immersive virtual reality entertainment centers, is partnering with the multinational, multihyphenate mall developer Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield to build 25 new locations around the world.
Location-based virtual reality has become the default gateway into the consumer market for virtual reality headsets, given that adoption of the consumer wearable device hasn’t been all that robust.
Utah-based The Void has some big intellectual property behind its immersive experiences, including ‘Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire’ from Lucasfilm; Walt Disney Animation’s ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’; and ‘Ghostbusters: Dimension.’
Through the partnership with Westfield in the U.S., the company intends to launch pop-ups at the Westfield World Trade Center in New York, the Westfield San Francisco Centre, Westfield Santa Anita on the outskirts of Pasadena and Westfield UTC in San Diego. The Void notes that all of those locations will become permanent going forward.
The companies also intend to take the show on the road with openings planned for Paris, London, Amsterdam, Chicago, Copenhagen, Oberhausen, San Jose, Calif., Stockholm and Vienna.
This partnership between the two companies reflects some harsh realities for both businesses. For virtual reality it’s the limited home adoption of headset entertainment, and for shopping malls, it’s the rise of e-commerce and the conversion of these public spaces from shopping destinations to broader entertainment hubs.
It’s a fact that Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield chief executive Christophe Cuvillier acknowledged in a statement about the partnership. “Over the past years, our industry has evolved dramatically. In a connected world, shopping is not enough anymore,” Cuvillier said in a statement. “Today, our customers expect to be entertained and brought together to share memorable, engaging sensory experiences.”