By MATT LINDSEY
POTSDAM – The Virtual Entertainment Lounge will soon open, aiming to provide a place for social gathering, entertainment and state-of-the-art technology to the North Country.
Co-owner Chester Xiang has been working for a couple of months on the 8 Market St. Suite 1 business and hopes to provide a place for people to gather to play games in a social environment.
The lounge will open in the next couple weeks, Xiang said.
The focus is on getting gamers in a social environment and exposing the North Country to the latest gaming technology, he said.
Players can pay to play by the hour with discounts offered for spending more. For example, buying $100 worth of services will cost $80, he said.
Xiang said he and his business partner will man the lounge during its early stages, but he will look to hire employees to run the business once it gets up and running.
“We want to observe behavior and see what people are saying,” Xiang said.
Virtual reality, a ten-monitor computer gaming setup and viewing room will all be available once open.
Virtual reality games will include shooter games, Star Wars and Google earth, among others.
“I think people will be shocked by the virtual reality opportunities,” he said. “This is where the current technology is going.”
Xiang said on Google maps a gamer can observe any area around the world, even in St. Lawrence County. He said it helped him explore the region.
“It provides educational opportunities too – it’s not just gaming,” he said.
The cost for an hour of virtual reality is $30 and $20 for a half hour.
Players, donned in virtual reality goggles, will be in an 8X10 space and will have to move around as part of the game, he said. “By the end of 30 minutes you will be pretty sweaty,” Xiang said.
Two virtual reality stations will be available.
A set of ten computers with curved monitors will be set up for five on five gaming. Walk-ins are welcome along with reservations. The cost is $5 per hour for each player.
More advanced computers will cost $10 per hour providing racing games and flying simulations, among others.
A board game room will be launched in the coming months. Games will be supplied and people are welcome to bring their own. “We supply the space and table for people to gather,” he said.
An X-Box One will be available for gamers to use free of charge in between game sessions. If someone dies or is eliminated early on, they will have something to do to fill their time, Xiang said.
Xiang said most of the work is done, with only minor adjustments being made now.
“Everyone was very good to deal with from the government offices – they were all very supportive,” he said.
Hours will be 3 p.m. to midnight, seven days a week.