TECHNOLOGY

Walmart brings fantasy to life with VR experience—in its parking lots

BY Dan Berthiaume

Walmart shoppers will soon be able to fly with the dragons – virtually.

The “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” virtual tour will be offered in 16 select Walmart parking lots in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Nevada and Texas, on a staggered schedule between Feb. 15 and April 9.

Walmart is collaborating with the DreamWorks Animation film studio to provide an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience tied to the upcoming Feb. 22 theatrical release of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.”

The experience begins in an onboarding room featuring film characters. Participants are then led to a dragon’s cave to suit up in headsets, sit in specialized Positron motion VR chairs running on HP VR technology, and take a five-minute virtual journey through the world of the film with immersive real-world sound, motion and sensory cues.

Following the VR experience, customers are guided into a “How to Train Your Dragon”-themed gift shop. Select merchandise from the collection will be available in 2,000 Walmart stores nationwide and online.

“The How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Virtual Tour is a great opportunity for our customers to engage with this fantastic franchise,” said Scott McCall, senior VP for entertainment, toys and seasonal, Walmart U.S. “It’s also the most recent example of how Walmart continues to use emerging technologies, including virtual reality, to enhance the experiences of shoppers across the country.”

The VR experience was designed by VR start-up Spatial& and DreamWorks Animation, using hardware and software from HP, Intel, and Positron. HP Chromebooks allow parents to follow along with the content their children are viewing and Omen by HP gaming laptops provide entertainment for waiting participants and passersby.

 

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