Universal Studios filed a patent application for a system for handling many VR users in a location based environment. Combined with previous patents, this could be a hint that the company plans on competing with The VOID location based VR experience.
The patent describes a system of “tracks” in the ceiling which VR headset cables are attached to. This would allow the users to traverse a large space without bumping into eachother. To be clear this isn’t a free roaming solution- the tracks guide the user along pre-determined paths.
An automated gateway entry system is depicted where the customer can enter the track and put on the headset in a queue.
At certain points along the track the bogie which the cable is attached is described as locking in place. This could be used for cutscene-like sections of the attraction, or to prevent users going backwards and colliding. Interestingly in one listed embodiment the VR headset is wireless- which seemingly would render the system pointless.
This isn’t the first VR patent application from Universal. In 2017 the company applied for a patent for the use of an augmented reality headset for a theme park ride. In 2018 it applied for a patent for a control system for a “virtual reality mobile pod”.
In late 2018 Orlando Rising reported that Universal has plans for a large land expansion. While this could be intended for a VR section, patent applications simply aren’t enough evidence to say conclusively. But if Universal Studios does add VR to their parks, it would be a welcome boost of confidence for the entire location based VR market.