Zero Latency arena at Tawar Mall in Doha
Digital

Zero Latency: free-roam multiplayer VR in the Middle East

A free-roam, multiplayer virtual reality entertainment concept that started off in Melbourne, Australia and now has branches across more than 16 countries worldwide. Zero Latency now brings the multiplayer free-roam immersion of virtual reality to the Middle East, opening first in Qatar (Tawar Mall, Doha) and then in Saudi Arabia sometime in March 2019.

VR gaming: just your body and mind

Standard virtual reality systems have you fixed into one position with the option to look around. Zero Latency gives you a large warehouse-scale space that lets you move around without any wires tangling your movement and no walls to obstruct your movement. Even though space is large, the scale is even bigger when you play as you don’t even feel that you’re in a confined room.

Every player wears a battery-powered backpack, which is a high-performance Alienware gaming PC that renders the visual output in the VR headset (renders at 2K resolution, hence the visuals will be sharp). Seeing the amount of visual detail being rendered, you’d imagine that the backpack would get hot like a gaming PC. It didn’t even feel warm during the gameplay. Each player also has Razer headphones to listen and communicate with other players, which is connected to the backpack.

If you’re wearing glasses, you’ll need to remove them to put on the VR headset. However, you can easily adjust the focus using the diopter sliders on the headset so that you can have a clear view of all the details. Once the helmet is on, you’ll see virtual avatars of other players with their screen name above them.

The VR helmet and the weapon controller have LED bulbs on them that allows easy spatial tracking in the free-roam space during gameplay sessions. To avoid any injuries or bumps during the intense gameplay, the system visually notifies you in the VR headset when you’re within proximity of another player.

Playable sessions

Each session should have a minimum of two (2) players and a maximum of eight (8) players. There are three different games that can be selected before the play session

Length of each session will vary hence influences the cost per person

  • 15-minute game: QAR/SAR 70 per person
  • 25-minute game: QAR/SAR 90 per person
While you wait for your session, you can easily see current gameplay on the big screen showing first-person perspectives of players in the session
While you wait for your session, you can easily see current gameplay on the big screen showing first-person perspectives of players in the session

If you’re really hungry for more, they also have combo pricing available to play 2 or more games; this depends on which games you select.

There’s a universal scoreboard that shows overall scores in the venue from the opening day. If you created a Zero Latency account, it’ll be logged as well and shown with your screen name.

Where next in the Middle East?

Doha is the first location in the Middle East inaugurated for this entertainment concept, with the second one being in Riyadh that will open in March 2019. Plans are underway to open up in Oman, Beirut, Jeddah, and Bahrain in the coming months.

I had a brief chat with the regional head of Zero Latency to learn more about their Middle East plans. Their grand plan is to cover 13 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region within the next 2 years. Most of the Zero Latency locations would either be inside malls or standalone locales based on venue options.

Scores are updated after each session, with rankings shown for the current session and the overall rankings at the current branch
Scores are updated after each session, with rankings shown for the current session and the overall rankings at the current branch

With branches of Zero Latency spread across the world, your scores will move with you anywhere in the world. All you need to do is just login and the scores will sync with each play session. This would be an added incentive for those worried that their scores are benched to one location.

Middle East gamers who want to learn more about Zero Latency can visit their official website.

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