Say goodbye to long lines, crowds and the disagreeable idea of direct human contact. They will be non-issues with the Virtual World’s Fair, a planned VR theme park unveiled today by Landmark Entertainment Group, the company behind such Universal Studios attractions as “Kongfrontation,” “Terminator 2 3D,” “Jurassic Park: The Ride,” and “The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman 5D.”
The concept sounds like something Generation Z might transition to after it outgrows Minecraft. Designed to be enjoyed at home rather than as a real world travel destination, the Virtual World’s Fair will feature real-time social interaction, entertainment, education and shopping. It was developed in conjunction with the Pavilion of Me (P.O.M.), a daily-use in-home entertainment portal that re-imagines everyday activities such as checking social media, online shopping, watching video content, video chat and playing video games as virtual reality experiences.
P.O.M. is scheduled to launch next year. The complete Virtual World’s Fair experience will follow in 2017.
In June, Landmark announced L.I.V.E. Centre, a mixed virtual reality and augmented reality experience featuring a virtual zoo, a digital art gallery, a virtual museum, a 4D theater and an immersive cinema with futuristic themed retail. Unlike the Virtual World’s Fair, it will be housed inside a real world brick and mortar site. The 200,000 square foot facility is scheduled to break ground in China within the next 14 months and open in the summer of 2017.
The Virtual World’s Fair will be accessed through the P.O.M. portal via a VR headset. Users will create a personalized avatar, then journey into the Virtual World’s Fair, where they can interact with other people’s avatars, including family, friends, strangers and – according to Landmark – perhaps even celebrities and world leaders. There is no word on whether virtual churros will be available for purchase.
Like Disneyland, the Virtual World’s Fair will have four distinct “lands”:
Intencity, showcasing advancements in technology, design and art through pavilions and exhibitions hosted by major brands, countries and organizations.
Dataland, featuring entertainment and education for children.
Passportal, where users can virtually travel to exotic destinations and international events such as national parks and monuments, capital cities, concerts, international festivals and holiday festivities.
The Tower of Humanity, where the world’s most pressing issues are experienced, discussed and acted upon.
The Virtual World’s Fair’s access portal, The Pavilion of Me, will include five rooms:
Communications, where users will be able to browse the internet, and use social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Instagram in a virtual reality setting.
Memories, a space to view photos and videos as an immersive experience.
Entertainment, a place where users can listen to music, play video games alone or with friends, and watch movies and TV shows from their hard drives or from services such as Hulu, Netflix or Amazon.
P.O.M. lounge, where users can customize their own personal space, invite their friends to chat, hangout
Shopping, where users can browse and buy in VR.
According to Christopher, the core idea behind P.O.M. is to take everything people do on their computers and mobile devices and makes it more theatrical, fun and immersive. He sees it as a critical step toward establishing virtual reality as a daily experience, instead of merely a tech enthusiast curiosity.
“Some of the virtual reality projects we are developing today are based on ideas we had back in the mid 1990s but abandoned because the technology wasn’t quite there yet,” said Christopher. “The technology has now caught up, so it’s no longer science fiction. That virtual reality future we envisioned years ago is finally here.”