Zombies, Zombies Everywhere, as MGM Aims to Cash In on Virtual Undead

Posted on: August 23, 2017, 04:17h. 

Last updated on: August 23, 2017, 05:42h.

Zombies will soon be infesting downtown Las Vegas and the Strip. But before you stock up on canned foods, medicine, and weapons, rest assured these representatives of the ravenous undead are here purely to entertain.

Zero Latency’s Zombie Survival comes to MGM Grand
MGM is hoping the threat of zombies will draw players into the casino’s new immersive VR entertainment arena,
which opens Sept. 8. (Image: Zero Latency)

For a few weeks now, the “Fear the Walking Dead Survival Experience” on Fremont Street has been offering visitors a new type of interactive ride experience. And MGM Resorts announced on Tuesday that they were bringing in zombies to help launch the Level Up lounge’s new virtual reality arena, which opens Sept. 8.

The two new zombie-themed activities are giving a glimpse at the type of non-gambling experiences casino destinations in the future could be looking to create.

Fear the Walking Dead is based on the eponymous TV show, and it transports teams of paying customers into a maze-like post-apocalypse community college populated by zombies. The zombies here are played by actors, of course, and the college is a set, but the experience becomes something like an interactive ride, like Disneyland morphed with video games.

MGM will be jumping into the undead fray with “Zombie Survival,” which will be one of the immersive virtual reality options available at their new VR arena at Level Up in the MGM Grand.

Social Promotion

MGM has teamed up with VR entertainment specialists Zero Latency to create the 2,000-square-foot thunderdome that immerses players in a freely-navigable digital universe, while strapped to wireless goggles and wearable computers. Promoters are calling the new corner of MGM’s millennial-focused video- and skill-gaming hub Las Vegas’ first ever free-roaming multi-player VR arena.

Zero Latency CEO Tim Ruse said that the arena emphasizes the strong social element that virtual reality can bring to gaming.

“When it comes to playing games, and exploring new worlds in virtual reality, more people means more fun,” he said. “Technology can often be isolating but we are determined to continue to design games and experiences that bring people together to have mind-blowing VR adventures and forge real memories that can last a lifetime.”

Along with Zombie Survival, the arena will offer an experience called “Singularity,” which involves teams battling killer robots in a secretive military research station, and “Engineerium,” a puzzle adventure set in “a fantastical world with flying whales, giant parrots and colorful creatures.”

“We were looking to bring a unique entertainment element to MGM Grand and found the perfect fit with Zero Latency, who create virtual reality gaming experiences using astounding technology,” said President and COO of MGM Grand Scott Sibella of the new VR arena. “There is simply nothing like this anywhere in Las Vegas,”

Chasing Millennials

The VR arena at MGM is just a small part of Level Up, a 12,000-square-foot lounge that MGM is trying to turn into a must-visit destination for millennial gamers who may or may not be ready to cross over into gambling. At Level Up you can play, for example, the world’s first Frogger machine played for money, or wager with friends on a few holes of augmented reality golf.

There are machines offering more traditional casino gaming, too, like blackjack and roulette, but even these are set up differently, attempting to create a more social, multi-player dynamic. Because you know, that’s what these millennial kids like, supposedly.

Level Up also offers games that have little to do with gambling, such as foosball, ping pong, Giant Pac-Man, and Connect Four.