Photo of the week: Zombie hunters

Summary

Telenet has announced that it will open the country’s first ‘free-roam’ virtual reality game centre, where your choices determine your fate

‘Endless potential’

Flemish telecoms company Telenet has announced that it will open a virtual reality (VR) playground on 16 June in Antwerp. It’s the first such gaming space in Belgium.

In The Park, visitors strap on VR headsets, which whisk them into another world. They must then either fight zombies or aliens, depending on the scenario chosen, using the VR weapons provided.

The Park offers “free-roam” gaming, which means that players can wander around anywhere they choose in the VR world. They do not have to follow a particular track, so their experience will not be the same as those of other groups. And their choices will determine how the game progresses.

Telenet is calling The Park – which is on Belgiëlei, south of the Stadspark – “phygital entertainment” – on the border between a physical and a digital experience. “With The Park, we’re taking the lead in Belgium in introducing people to what VR can do,” says Kenny Henderyckx, Telenet’s director of corporate development.

More Parks on the way

The free-roam concept, he continues, isn’t well-known in Belgium, “and we believe that it has endless potential. Right now, we are concentrating on specific locations – we hope to open another Park by the end of the year – but where we are headed is towards a platform that can transcend the boundaries of these locations, so players could start the experience at home or on their way here.”

And Telenet is thinking yet another step further: The ultimate ambition is to offer players the ability to enter the worlds of local TV series and movies. “We want The Park to be the entertainment platform of the future,” says Henderyckx, “that takes players to the fictional world of their choice through compelling ‘phygital’ stories.”

The Park will also have a Demo Area, where shorter, individual experiences are offered. Visitors can, for instance, walk on a narrow plank among skyscrapers or practice archery.

The minimum age to play is 13, and anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Telenet emphasises that no previous gaming or VR experience is needed. The Park opens next month, but visitors can already book a spot.

Photo: Journalists and guests at Telenet's press conference try out The Park
(c)Jasper Jacobs/BELGA

Telenet

Based in Mechelen, Telenet is Flanders’ leading cable and telecom service. It’s listed on the Bel20 stock exchange and is owned by the US Liberty Global group.
Competition - Though Telenet is now a private company, it originally saw the light of day because the Flemish government wanted to foster competition with a second telecom player in addition to the state-owned and then dominant Belgacom.
Open - Telenet awards “Yellow Thumbs” to initiatives promoting greater internet and computer access, and safe and responsible internet use.
Green - Lauding Telenet for its sustainability efforts, the Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Index and Dow Jones Sustainability World Index have twice included the company on their indices.
1 994

Telenet is born

100

percent of green energy used by company

2

billion euros in annual revenue