Virtual Reality centre looks to bounce back from pandemic
A UNIQUE Virtual Reality experience has reopened its doors following the easing of restrictions and welcomes those looking for a different way to celebrate birthdays, Christmas parties or just looking to experience the magic of virtual reality.
Founded by owner Conor Gannon back in 2017, Future Shock is an entertainment centre based in Tallaght which combines virtual reality, escape rooms and racing simulators all in one state-of-the-art facility.
Conor came up with the concept for Future Shock after visiting friends in Canada and visiting VR arcades, which were gaining traction overseas. The first arcade opened in Smithfield in 2017 before relocating to Whitestown Way in Tallaght.
“I quit my job and we got a short-term lease on a building in town, and we were there for a couple of years,” Conor explains.
“We got to test it out for a while, and it was going well but we knew we needed a bigger premises and parking was a big issue in town. We agreed on Tallaght and moved into a 400,000 square foot building in June 2019 which was about three and a half times bigger than the previous space.”
While fitting out their new location in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and like so many business owners, Conor was forced to put the plans on hold.
Due to the easing of restrictions, the business was permitted to open its doors in June this year and now hopes to welcome people in who want to try a virtual reality experience.
Conor sought help from the Local Enterprise Office, receiving a microenterprise development fund to help translate his idea into a reality.
“The scheme [funding] was for taking over a unit that had been vacant for ten years, renting it, fitting it out and reopening it as a business. We got huge support from that, I think it was almost 50 per cent of our total building costs, which was massive for us,” he said.
“We have had great help from LEO, they really worked with us, and we got the Covid restart grant as well – I can’t speak highly enough of them.”
Explaining exactly what Future Shock offers, Conor told The Echo: “We have three main categories for VR – we have a zombie experience for up to eight people, so you and your team are fighting to survive the zombie apocalypse which is good fun.
“We have formula one racing, so we do racetracks for up to four people you put the headset on, and you have a wheel and a pedal, and you go around the racetrack competing.”
The facility also offers customers the chance to play several different games by renting the headsets for an hour in the ‘VR Arcade’ feature.
A growing trend in Ireland and around the world in recent years are escape rooms, and Future Shock offers a twist to these exciting immersive challenges.
“You have the opportunity to go into a very large environment in virtual reality, for example we have a pyramid escape room where you are in the pyramid looking down into the abyss and a thousand-foot drop,” Conor explained.
“In the real world you could never offer that to the customer, but by using VR you are able to implant that environment which is really cool.”
Future Shock currently employs two staff but are seeking applications as they welcome more customers back.
“We are hoping to get six or seven staff in as we scale the business over time,” said Conor.
“We are looking to get two more people in for October as we get the big parties back in. Over time and as we get busier on the weekdays, we hope to get up to seven staff.”
Speaking about the future of the business, Conor says that the company are looking forward to getting back to their full potential over the coming weeks as business goes back to normal.
To find out more information about Future Shock or to book an experience, you can go to www.FutureShock.ie