The owners of XP-VR, Hanley’s virtual reality experience on Piccadilly recently celebrated their first year in business.
The virtual reality attraction opened it’s doors back in July last year and has been a roaring success since then says owner’s Rhys Davey and Lewis Armstrong.
“Alongside our regular VR experiences, we have recently introduced 10 virtual escape games which have proved to be extremely popular with people looking for something different to do as a team,” says Rhys.
The virtual reality attraction offers a large array of individual and group experiences for people aged 8 plus. Alongside the virtual escape rooms, a range of equipment to play on at the venue is offered including locomotion treadmills and a flying and a racing simulator. Players put on a powerful virtual reality headset and are then ‘transported’ into virtual environments that make them feel as they are actually really there. The virtual escape game experiences on offer add a new dimension to the traditional ‘real world’ escape room format. In these, players go on an adventure together and do things inside the ‘game’ that would be too dangerous to do in the real world.
“Our team based zombie shooter has been the most popular game people enjoy, but lots of people also like our horror and virtual escape games too. They are very realistic and a completely different type of experience,” adds Rhys.
Despite their success, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the two dynamic entrepreneurs. At a time businesses around the country are struggling and high street stores are feeling the pinch, making the move to open an independently owned virtual reality leisure attraction in Hanley was ‘one of the riskiest things they’ve done’ said Lewis.
He added: “Like all small businesses, we really struggled as Covid-19 came along. We saw a huge fall in customers on the lead up to lock down but thankfully things are starting to pick up again now. We’re starting to take lots of birthday party bookings again now, including a rise in enquiries from companies that tell us they want to reward their team for their working from home.”
The Stoke on Trent attraction has since received many positive reviews online, taken on 4 new members of staff. The two owners have also invested in some new outdoor seating for the summer, as well as introducing a new VR headset home rental service for customers to play virtual reality at home.