Yes, VR roller coasters are happening. More specifically, VR headsets on actual rides will be a thing. Samsung has partnered up as an “Official Technology Partner” of Six Flags theme parks in the US.
That means the most popular rides will let you plop on a Samsung Gear VR to experience the drops and high speed loops.
Only nine parks will offer the option to strap the headset on (it’s not mandatory to use on the coaster) and experience the ride. Season Pass Holders and Members get to try it before it opens to the public beginning this month and into the summer.
To be honest, upon first reading, it sounds like you’re only using the headset on an indoor ride – but nope. You’re hopping on a giant, outdoor roller coaster with a Samsung phone stuck to your face.
It doesn’t sound practical in the slightest: What if it falls off? How is it secured on? How clean is it going to be? Are there going to be hundreds of Samsung phones lying about to avoid charging?
Six Flags does answer a few of these on its FAQ page. Apparently there’s a safety lanyard in addition to three straps that go on around your head, over it and under your chin. It also says the headsets will be sanitized and covered with “anti-microbial leather and cleansed between every use with anti-bacterial wipes.”
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Additionally, children 12 and under are also not allowed to wear the Gear VR as Six Flags says its adhering to rules already put in place by Samsung. They may however, still jump on the ride.
The FAQ’s pretty much end there and don’t discuss how charging the phones will work, and whether they’ll be theft proof.
Six Flags and Samsung say, “You’ll be able to feel the heart-pumping adrenaline of steep drops, inverted loops and powerful twists and turns as gyros, accelerometers and proximity sensors synchronize all of the action while viewing a remarkably realistic 360-degree virtual world.”
But aren’t you already literally doing that? Doesn’t VR defeat the purpose of actually riding a massive, metal contraption as the sun shines down on you with the wind whipping your hair around, while you glance down at the tiny dots on the ground before you plunge to uncertainty?
Check out the crazy video below for yourself as we continue scratching our heads, wondering how well this will work.