Hopefully, this marks the beginning of the end for virtual reality headsets on real-life roller coasters.
From the Associated Press (Sept. 21, 2018):
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — SeaWorld Orlando has gotten rid of virtual reality headsets that were installed on its Kraken Unleashed roller coaster a little more than a year ago.
News outlets report that park officials have confirmed that the headsets, which disappeared last month, are gone for good.
SeaWorld debuted the VR headsets last June as a way to freshen up the ride, which originally opened in 2000. The VR story followed the rollercoaster’s movements as a virtual submarine evaded deep-sea creatures.
Park officials say cleaning and adjusting the goggles was slowing down the lines too much.
In my opinion, this was just a bad idea to begin with. Roller coasters are exciting enough without the need for virtual reality. I am fully supportive of VR at theme parks, but the venue and experience should be appropriate for the technology. In this case, the added hassle of equipping riders with headsets outweighed any perceived enhancement to the experience itself.
Hopefully other VR-enhanced roller coasters will follow suit, and realize the failure of this experiment.
Roy Kachur is a Media Technologist, IT Architect, and VR Evangelist. He has worked in the information technology field since the 1990’s, and in the media industry since 2014. He believes that VR will play a significant role in the future of media.