Konica Minolta to Launch VirtuaLink, a Location Based Multiplayer Virtual Reality Entertainment Service, in Japan as Part of Its Visual Solutions Business
Opening Two Hands-on Entertainment Facilities in Tokyo This Summer
Tokyo (June 6, 2017) - Konica Minolta, Inc. (Konica Minolta) and Konica Minolta Planetarium Co., Ltd. (KMP) are pleased to announce they will launch VirtuaLink, a Location Based Multiplayer Virtual Reality Entertainment Service. This service allows up to 50 visitors to share a 360-degree virtual space and enjoy an exciting experience together, with the accompaniment of live narration.
The VirtuaLink service will be offered at Konica Minolta VirtuaLink (Tokyo), KMP’s directly managed entertainment facilities in Japan, starting from this summer.
VirtuaLink, a Location Based Multiplayer Virtual Reality Entertainment Service
VirtuaLink is a Location Based Multiplayer Virtual Reality Entertainment Service offered jointly by Konica Minolta and KMP. For this service, Konica Minolta, with technical cooperation of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.(SIE), works with up to 50 units of PlayStation®4 Pro and the same number of PlayStation®VR (PS VR) to enable a group of participants to share an exciting experience in a 360-degree virtual space.
Conceptual image of VirtuaLink
Value Offered by VirtuaLink
So far, sharing of a 360-degree image by a group has been made possible only in facilities equipped with large dome screens, such as planetariums and dome theaters. Through the use of PS VR units, VirtuaLink enables participants to play in a virtual world as if they were part of that world without the necessity of a large dome screen.
In this virtual world, the image changes in response to the movements of participants, enabling them to share an interactive experience they have never had before.
- By connecting up to 50 PS VR systems, the system allows all participants of a group to share the same virtual space and story – each participant can look in any direction they like and join in the game.
- The system enables a navigator to address individual participants and offer explanations, which helps to enhance a sense of togetherness among participants.
- The system offers exciting 360-degree images, building on the dome projection technology KMP has developed through its many years of experience producing planetarium programs.
- The use of PS VR units makes participants feel as if they were part of the virtual world, without the necessity for a large dome screen.
Konica Minolta’s Visual Solutions Business
Since the completion of the first plenetarium projector in 1957, KMP, as one of the world’s leading planetarium manufacturers, has been successfully expanding its business by developing optical planetariums and digital full-dome systems tailored to the size of each facility and for a wide variety of purposes, ranging from education to entertainment. Its two directly managed planetrium theaters in Tokyo, Konica Minolta Planetarium “MANTEN,” which opened in 2004, and Konica Minolta Planetarium “TENKU,” which opened in 2012, enjoy great popularity for the stunning, novel entertainment experience they provide, and have a combined yearly attendance of approximately 800,000 visitors.
Over these years, KMP has enhanced its core technologies, including optical technology and nano-fabrication technology, for the development of equipment and systems, while building the basis for the expansion of its Visual Solutions Business leveraging its know-how in the production of programs featuring 360-degree image projection and the operation of theaters that offer such programs. With the development of VirtuaLink, KMP embarked on new business endeavors in the field of virtual reality, with the technical cooperation of SIE.
In its medium-term business strategy, Konita Minolta aims to strengthen its Visual Solutions Business by increasing the number of KMP’s directly managed entertainment facilities, while expanding the hands-on virtual-reality group entertainment services, such as VirtuaLink, and offer new solutions using 360-degree image projection technology. Konica Minolta is determined to transform and accelerate efforts to develop more extensive services based on visual solutions, with KMP at the center.
With its brand proposition, “Giving Shape to Ideas,” Konica Minolta will continue offering systems and services to create new value, now also in the field of visual solutions.
*”VirtuaLink” and the names of the planetarium theaters shown above are registered trademarks of Konica Minolta Planetarium Co., Ltd.
*“PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.