Now VR would add a twist to the roller coasters in theme parks

At various theme and amusement parks worldwide, roller coasters have been quite popular attraction, for more than a century. Whether it’s at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, in the US or the now-defunct Ratanga Junction in Cape Town, South Africa, these enormous creations have a unique way of attracting the crowds.

Research conducted in 2016 proposes that this inclination has less possibility of getting changed any time soon: the most desired attraction for the maximum of amusement and theme parks worldwide was a steel roller coaster. This shows that roller coasters are a major contributor in terms of achievement of the amusement industry as a global tourism export.

At present, the digital era has hosted a new spin on roller coasters: implementing Virtual Reality (VR) into the experience. This combines the real and the virtual side together. As guests are fastened to their seats and traverse the actual roller coaster, they get a VR headset that introduces an alternate reality: you’re underwater, or even in outer space.

The first VR enhanced roller coaster in the world was introduced in Europe at Europa-Park in Germany back in 2015. It was superimposed on an existing steel roller coaster.

However, does this new technology create a danger to the future demand and survival of steel roller coasters? That’s the question my colleague and I posed – and answered – in our research.

We evaluated the consequences that VR enhanced roller coasters have had on the pioneers of the movement, the European steel roller coaster industry. Ever since the introduction of the first VR enhanced roller coaster in 2015, over 30% of European manufacturers have made VR additions to one or more of their operational roller coasters.

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