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Malaysia to have its first VR theme park


Stick to your guns: Up to four players can join in the fun in Exa's Global Global VR games – Photos: Havson Group Bhd

Stick to your guns: Up to four players can join in the fun in Exa's Global Global VR games – Photos: Havson Group Bhd

A quick question: How many of you are thinking about escaping real life and doing something crazy, like fighting aliens on a remote planet? Well, lucky you because that could very well be an option in the near future.

Immersive gaming is about to get real in Malaysia now that Havson Group Bhd has announced plans to open the country’s first virtual reality theme park.

While you can’t actually leave this planet to go fight aliens, you can do it virtually and live to tell the tale.

Based in Bandar Puteri Puchong, Havson Group Berhad comprises Mediasoft Entertainment, Exa Global, DJM and Tomotech Singapore. Mediasoft is the company responsible for the JumpSmash and RollSpike mobile games which have a combined 9.5 million downloads worldwide.

Tomotech is its Singapore based arm, currently working to develop and publish the next chapter of the JumpSmash series on the PS4 console.

However, the most exciting ­project bubbling at the virtual reality development studio is the Exa VR Theme Park. This is where you can transport yourself to another world and feel like you’ve left reality behind.

“Our ­flagship VR theme park will be based in Kuala Lumpur and operate ­sometime in the first ­quarter of next year,” said Exa Global chief executive officer Richard Lee.

The information about the venue and opening may be vague – heck, the ­company is not even ­revealing the games yet – but the ideas behind the theme park are pretty solid.

Lee and his group of 15 developers have been working for over two years to make Exa VR Theme Park a reality. – Photos: Havson Group
Lee and his group of 15 developers have been working for over two years to make Exa VR Theme Park a reality.
 

Unless a competitor beats them to the punch, this virtual theme park would be the third of its kind in the world.

“We are not riding off the ­virtual reality games currently available on the market. We have created our own unique game and ­hardware under the EXA Global banner. That’s what sets us apart from our competitors,” said Lee. While Exa Global is taking care of the software front, DJM is building the hardware, like the VR headsets used in the game.

“We are introducing many ­levels to the game – for instance, players will be able to track the ­improvements they make to their characters. They can eventually do things like upgrade their ­weapons, body armour and so on. There is a continuity to the game’s storyline,” said Lee.

The details are top secret for now but my 10 minutes ­experience with the game was “real” enough to induce a few screams. In my defence, the alien jumped out of nowhere!

I had to suit up with a VR ­headset, a backpack with a ­computer and a gun-like controller to play the game.

But work is in progress to ­incorporate the operating system into the headset so that the ­backpacks can be discontinued. The developers are also in the midst of creating a body tracking system that will track the player’s movement more accurately.

Players can play alone or team up with others – the gaming ­experience will last at least 60 minutes and is tentatively priced at RM75 per player.

“The gameplay is for four ­people. At our VR theme park there will be three rooms ­dedicated to the games, a VR Museum that ­showcases our ­development in VR and a VR Arcade Entertainment Centre where patrons can play VR arcade games,” explained Lee.

As part of its future expansion plan, Havson Group is looking to open 50 Exa VR Theme Parks ­within South-East Asia and China.

“The theme park is a family entertainment centre where ­everyone, especially gamers and sci-fi fans, can immerse ­themselves in the world of virtual reality,” said Lee.

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