Karaoke in most of East Asia isn’t quite the same as in the west. Instead of drunkenly singing in front of a bar full of strangers, people rent private rooms and drunkenly sing in front of friends. Joysound, a major Karaoke chain in Japan, has turned their Karaoke rooms into a VR arcade.
Starting from this August 22nd, aspiring vocalists can rent both a Gear VR and Galaxy S8 at a Joysound branch in Tokyo’s Shinagawa neighborhood. The phones connect to the karaoke machine, which hosts a private VR platform from Japanese telecom giant KDDI called- creatively enough- KDDI Karaoke VR. 30 minutes with a Gear VR and S8 runs 300 yen (approximately $3) and unlimited time costs 1500 ($15).
Customers have a variety of experiences to choose from, the most promoted of which is “1∞ Vari-Real Bonnou BOMB/Magical Punchline” Bonnou is the Japanese word for the Buddhist concept of kleshas, or the five destructive emotions. The religiously titled VR experience features the idol quintet Magical Punchline dressed as high school students and promises to give viewers a taste of “simulated high school life.”
Users can also check out The Giga Dinosaur Exhibit 2017, a VR experience formerly exclusive to the Makuhari Messe convention center’s animatronic exhibit of the same name. They can also scare themselves with the horror experience, Village of Resentment. Lastly, manga fans can try a pair of experiences based on the popular series March Comes in Like a Lion and Ancien and the Magic Tablet.
Finally, there is VR Dream Match Baseball, which is separate from the other offerings and uses the HTC Vive with a custom bat and glove controller. The challenge is to hit and catch 165 km/hr fastballs. This experience was previously exclusive to VR Center in Saitama prefecture, north of Tokyo. Thirty minutes costs a mere 200 yen ($2), but you can pay 1000 yen ($10) for unlimited time.
Reservations for both headsets are required, and currently, only the single Shinagawa branch hosts them. However, Joysound says they intend to roll out VR headsets for other locations at a later date.