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Dive Into Star Wars Like Never Before In This Rich VR Experience

Standing on a ledge over a lava field on the planet Mustafar with two fellow rebels impersonating Stormtroopers by my side, I’m frantically firing my blaster at actual Stormtroopers in front of and above me. Desperate to avoid getting shot, I’m dodging incoming fire–literally moving my body out of the way. One by one, my comrades-in-arms and I pick off our enemies, all of whom have been trying to keep us from our objective: Recovering intelligence essential to the rebellion’s continued existence, thought to be inside a secret chamber identified by rebel spies. Accompanied and assisted by the droid K-2S0, we’ve navigated several chambers, taken an elevator, fought off giant lava monsters, and found ourselves at the edge of chaos. We’re surviving. Welcome to Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire , from The Void and ILMxLab , the arm of Disney-owned Lucasfilm that’s focused on building immersive experiences. It’s the first virtual reality experience built to bring users into George Lucas’s rich universe and let them literally move around in it and complete a mission. This could be the best thing yet for location-based VR.  Opening on December 16 at Disney Springs outside Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and at a Westfield mall in London, and on January 5 in Downtown Disney outside Disneyland in Anaheim, California, the experience is meant to immerse users in the world of Star Wars in a way that’s never been possible before. Tickets cost $30, and the total experience lasts about 15 minutes, not including the time it takes to get a mission briefing, gear up, and get started. “We’re always trying to tell the right story for the right platform,” says Vicki Dobbs Beck, ILMxLab’s executive in charge. It’s an “opportunity to step into the world of Star Wars. You feel it and experience it through your senses–there’s heat and smell–and a lot of things that you couldn’t do in any other way.” Virtual reality as a whole is expected to be a $38 billion industry by 2026 , but consumer VR has gotten off to a slow start since the first hardware hit store shelves in 2015. Now, as people wait and see when, or if, the technology can become truly mainstream, there’s a lot of hope that location-based VR like that created by The Void can generate significant interest and kick-start the larger industry. Where owners of consumer systems like the high-end Oculus Rift or Samsung’s mobile Gear VR have limited physical movement, if any at all, systems like The Void’s allow for sprawling experiences inside warehouse-like spaces that give users a sense of walking around and interacting with physical objects like guns, doors, elevators, and more.

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Dive Into Star Wars Like Never Before In This Rich VR Experience

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