September 1, 2020 - The virtual reality venue The Park, which Telenet first launched in Belgium in 2018, also opens its doors in the Netherlands today. Over the past two years, the VR arcades have already welcomed 120,000 people, and as a result of that great success, The Park is now crossing the border to Breda and Eindhoven. Some of the VR experiences are about popular TV series like De Mol (The Mole) and De Dag (The Day). The players determine the course of the storyline during the game. Of course, The Park ensures that all VR games are completely corona-proof.
The Park made its debut in Antwerp in June 2018. Now, two years later, Belgian VR fans can also indulge themselves in Ghent, Hasselt, Kortrijk, Brussels, and Blankenberge. A seventh and eighth venue, in Breda and Eindhoven, have now also been added to these. Our neighbours to the north will be able to walk around in large spaces divided into playing fields of 100 m² on average. They can play various virtual games using VR goggles and a backpack equipped with sensors and a minicomputer.
Philippe De Schutter, The Park CEO: “The Park is a unique concept and an example of what we call ‘phygital entertainment’. It offers people a team experience on the boundary between physical and digital life. The players themselves are physically involved in the game and their choices determine the outcome. Because of this, the experience is also very personal; like a computer game in real life. We want to use The Park to introduce the general public to the future of entertainment. This has already worked out very well in Belgium. Now we want to introduce our neighbours to the north to the VR amusement park.”
De Mol and De Dag head to the Netherlands
The Park develops the games that visitors can play. They are accessible to all age groups. Several of them are based on popular Belgian TV formats. Most famous is De Mol, where young and old have the opportunity to take on the role of saboteur or unmask one of their friends. With a team of four to five players, they will be given the most challenging assignments for half an hour in the beautiful setting of the New Zealand landscape.
Another format that The Park has poured into a virtual game is De Dag, the popular channel Vier series written by Jonas Geirnaert and Julie Mahieu. The players have to stop a bank robbery as a SWAT team.
Philippe De Schutter: “We’ve had 120,000 visitors in Belgium, with the average age being 31, in recent years. But make no mistake: our VR venues are for young and old. The best proof is the bridge club, a group of 60- to 80-somethings, who came to play - loudly laughing and shouting - a zombie game. We are now aiming for international expansion with this concept, and we’re definitely good to go with concepts like De Mol and De Dag. The Netherlands is only the first step of our international journey. We will continue to write our story and make major investments in the quality of the experiences we give our visitors.”
The Park is a corporate venture of Telenet and 9.5 Magnitude Ventures, a Belgian venture capital fund that includes finance&invest.brussels among its shareholders. Because the concept is so popular in Belgium, the founders are now aiming for strong international growth.
In order to remain at the forefront of virtual reality entertainment, The Park works hard to continuously develop. For example, it is possible to let players who are in different cities play against each other in the same virtual world. This gives The Park a world first.
John Porter, Telenet CEO: “The Park is the future of entertainment. We believe strongly in their innovations. The fact that we can take this important international economic step during the coronavirus pandemic shows that the concept is appealing to a wide audience. We have entered into a partnership with Vodafone for the roll-out of our VR venues in the Netherlands. They will ensure that all data from the sensors will be exchanged between the players without any delay. The fact that we can work with such a global player in the sector gives us extra clout.”
Of course, the experiences in The Park are completely corona-proof, both in Belgium and in the Netherlands. The branches in Breda and Eindhoven use air fumigators, provide hand sanitiser, and use purple light and ozone to thoroughly disinfect the various physical elements in the arcades. Eye and mouth masks are also available. Visitors can also set up a button to be warned if they get too close to each other during a game. This video explains more about the measures.
On 1 September 2020, The Park will officially open its doors to the public in Eindhoven’s Philips Bedrijfsschool at Strijp S and in Breda’s city centre near the Grote Markt.
VodafoneZiggo is a leading Dutch company that offers fixed, mobile, and provides integrated communication and entertainment services to consumers and corporations. As of 31 March 2019, they have 5 million mobile phones, almost 4 million TV sets, over 3 million fixed broadband Internet connections, and 2.5 million fixed telephony connections. VodafoneZiggo is a 50/50 joint venture between Liberty Global, the largest international TV and broadband Internet company, and Vodafone Group, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. For more information, please visit www.vodafoneziggo.nl.