HOLLAND TWP. — The state's first free-roam center for virtual reality gaming is coming to Holland.
, is owned by Zachary Rhoda and Benjamin Hulst. It will be the company's ninth location in the U.S. — near the corner of U.S.-31 and James Street at 2522 Van Ommen Drive.
"We want the best for Holland," Rhoda said. "We've lived here our whole lives, and we wanted to bring the coolest pieces of entertainment here."
But there's exciting news for rest of the state, as well. Rhoda and Hulst have secured additional locations in Grand Rapids, Detroit, Lansing and Ann Arbor.
"Until those open, this is going to be Michigan's one and only," Rhoda said. "It's an eight-person, over 2,000-square-foot room where you and your friends aren't hooked to anything at all. You have a backpack that houses the computer system and your helmet camera."
With that equipment, Rhoda and Hulst can transport participants to outer space or a zombie warehouse, all without the limitations of wires and lag-time.
"Zero Latency works directly with Ubisoft," Hulst said. "They work exclusively together and build games based on their hardware, and they use some very expensive and fast-processing computers. The headset has a tracking system, so you can see the other players without running into them. It's very, very unique."
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The system is also friendly for those who aren't game-oriented, Hulst said.
"I'm not a big gamer and I went back four times," he said. "It's very exciting."
The business will also carry North America's first
401cr from Forced Dynamics
. The racing simulator tilts and rotates, with an on-board computer, monitors, surround-sound speakers and a feedback wheel.
"You'll feel exactly what you'd feel in the car," Rhoda said. "It does full donuts and you'll feel every movement when that car is going 150 miles per hour. It's the first of its kind."
Zero Latency is based in Melbourne, Australia. The nearest franchisee is Waypoint VRcade in Mishawaka, Indiana. Beyond that, you'll have to drive to Canada.
"We're in full construction mode right now," Rhoda said. "We're painting and drywalling and working hard to make this facility as nice as possible. Finding the right commercial building was a blessing, and the owner was willing to work with us. We're putting everything we have into this."
The duo plans to begin testing with friends and family in August before its soft opening to the public in September. But the real push will come in October.
"We'll really headline for the Halloween season," Rhoda said. "There's so many zombie shooting games in VR. We're going to run with that theme."
Zero Latency will be limited to teens and adults, as the backpacks can be heavy. Rhoda and Hulst plan to focus on corporate meetings, team-building exercises and full-building rentals.
"There are wonderful team-building skills involved in this," Rhoda said. "We'd like to make it possible to rent the whole facility for your group."
The average cost for a half-hour game session, plus setup, is $50 per person. Rhoda and Hulst expect to release more details as the business nears its opening.
— Contact reporter Cassandra Lybrink at
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