New York-New York’s Roller Coaster Set to Be a VR Coaster

Virtual reality seems to be taking over Las Vegas, and the iconic roller coaster at New York-New York is rumored to be converting to a VR Coaster soon.

Virtual reality roller coasters, or VR Coasters, have been in existence since 2015, and there are currently about 20 operating at theme parks throughout the U.S.

On VR Coasters, riders don virtual reality headsets, and animations inside the headsets are synchronized to the movements of the real world roller coaster.

New York-New York VR coaster

Hold onto your virtual moobs.

The conversion of the Big Apple Coaster at New York-New York to a VR Coaster is a brilliant business move. It provides a unique experience, it encourages those who have ridden the coaster before to do it again, and it also gives the resort an opportunity to bump up the ticket price to enhance the bottom line.

At the moment, tickets for the Big Apple Coaster are a very reasonable $15.

Once the coaster becomes a virtual reality roller coaster, the price could be bumped up to $20 or more. Multiply that $10 increase over the approximately (self-reported) 1.4 million customers each year, and New York-New York and its parent company, MGM Resorts, are in for a windfall.

Here’s a look at a promotional video for VR Coasters, although, from what we hear, there’s no video that can really show the exhilaration guests experience on a VR-equipped ride.

There’s been no official announcement yet, but our philosophy is if it’s in a news release, it’s too damned late.™

Word is New York-New York is partnering with a German company to bring the VR Coaster experience to the Strip resort.

We haven’t ferreted out the name of the company yet, but a company called VR Coaster seems a likely candidate. They got the VR Coaster ball rolling, and describe themselves as “pioneers of the augmented thrill ride.”

New York-New York casino

You’re so pretty.

While can be some perils with VR Coasters, mostly related to motion sickness when VR units are out of sync with the movement of the ride, a VR Coaster at New York-New York has virtually limitless potential.

We are not a roller coaster person (mainly because we tend to be a motion sickness and terrified-of-heights person), but give us an animation that includes some stunning Las Vegas effects or a Las Vegas-themed adventure, and we’d be all over it.

From what we understand, the VR feature on the New York-New York roller coaster will be an optional element, and guests can still ride the coaster in the traditional manner.

To be clear, the Big Apple coaster isn’t going anywhere! The ride will just be “enhanced” to include the virtual reality capability, also known as an “upsell.”

Our inside scoop about the New York-New York’s coaster becoming a VR Coaster follows on the heels of another virtual reality-related announcement, which we reported nearly two months before it came out in a news release, of course.

The first multi-player, free-roam VR experience in Las Vegas is set to open at Level Up inside MGM Grand on Sep. 8, 2017.

Up to eight players will navigate a 2,000-square-foot arena and play one of three, 30-minute experiences at a cost of about $50 a pop.

Here’s a look at what it’s like to get your VR nerd on.

The three VR experiences are Zombie Survival (blast zombies, already), Singularity (blast rogue robits, already) and Engineerium (solve physics-based puzzles, already).

The new VR experience at Level Up, from a company called Zero Latency, seems to be a response to a failed attempt to get approval for its arena-style gaming area (from a company called Interblock) that was supposed to “revolutionize the casino player culture.” We are not making this up.

Level Up has struggled since it opened at the end of 2016, but a virtual reality arena could give it a much-needed boost.

Level Up MGM Grand

MGM Grand’s Level Up hasn’t found a foothold yet, but it may just find a virtual one.

Other VR experiments have been showing up around Las Vegas, including a VR lounge at Alto Bar at Caesars Palace, and we even spotted a virtual reality kiosk at Harmon Corner.

There’s also a VR Adventures location at the Linq promenade.

VR Adventures Linq

Warning: Virtual reality headsets do not prevent pregnancy, but they do prevent sex, which is sort of the same thing.

At one point, there were rumblings about a “virtual reality theme park” coming to town, but we haven’t heard anything more about it. Don’t hold your breath.

Virtual reality seems a good fit for Las Vegas, as the city constantly strives to evolve its entertainment offerings. There’s even been talk of strip clubs integrating virtual reality.

In a way, Las Vegas is a city built on virtual reality, or at least an alternate one.

Update (1/17/18): Las Vegas Weekly has confirmed our story, without attribution, obviously. The VR starts Feb. 7, 2018.

Update (1/18/18): More details have been shared about the VR.

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20 thoughts on “New York-New York’s Roller Coaster Set to Be a VR Coaster

  1. Jerry Duffy

    Until NYNY offers chiropractic treatment after you take ride on their coaster, I’m going to pass. It’s seriously one of the most roughest, most uncomfortable roller coasters I’ve ever been on.

    Skip this and go experience the rides at the Stratosphere. Much more enjoyable and thrilling.

    Reply
    1. Ken Adams

      Using a MyVegas reward (while staying in a NYNY room years ago seeing the flash from the camera out the window) I drank way to much… and although
      I don’t remember any of the ride, because I was posing for a picture I knew was coming at some point. HAHA

      Reply
  2. Manybar Goatfish

    Call me a germophobe, but I’m not big on the idea of community headsets. Unless the headsets are power washed and then put through a rigorous autoclave sterilization process after each use, thanks, but no. It’s probably more the case of an uninspired ride attendant half-way wiping the headset off with a dirty wet-nap and then handing it to the next rider.

    Reply
  3. Kerr

    I rode this roller coaster in June for the first time and really enjoyed it. Are people really so jaded that riding a roller coaster isn’t exciting enough and they need to augment it with virtual reality?

    Reply
      1. Scott Roeben

        Thanks! I figured it was one way or the other, but that makes sense. Curious if the cost will be reflected, or if it’ll be one price, but you can decline the VR headset.

        Reply
  4. detroit1051

    We rode Manhattan Express year it opened 20 years ago. Ride was so rough, my wallet came out of my pants pocket, but it wedged behind my ass, so all was well. I should try it again.

    Reply
    1. Scooter

      Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing. To me, the whole point of a roller coaster is to experience the actual world around you.

      Reply
  5. Bouldersteve

    This is a good move for all the reasons you stated but count me out.But then I am no longer in the roller coaster demo.When you get to my age drinking and roller coasters are a bad mix.

    Reply
  6. rich__b

    One of the rides at my local park has the VR thing. The main problem with it is the extremely long loading and unloading. Instead of a three or four minutes between, it takes nearly a half hour. So it makes for an extreme long line too.

    They may not end up making more money because they will not be able to have nearly the amount of riders you have without VR.

    Reply
    1. Alex

      This is a completely different situation. Unlike a traditional theme park, I don’t think there are hundreds of people clamoring to ride this every hour. Stats on this coaster say it can run up to five trains. I doubt they even use more than one.

      Theme parks don’t really have an incentive to speed up operations. Guests have already paid, so what’s the rush. But this coaster is paid per rider. So, in the unlikely event this becomes wildly popular, they can add trains and staff to improve load/unload times.

      Reply
  7. Grid

    “tickets for the Big Apple Coaster are a very reasonable $15” $15 for a single ride. Six Flags general ticket are priced @ $37-$62 for all day unlimited coastering. For what you get, 15 bucks is an insane ripoff.

    Yet, people will pay it for the experience. And that experience is riding a Roller Coaster ON THE LAS VEGAS STRIP. Once you don a VR headset, whats the point? In a normal theme park setting, where you ride through trees and such, maybe.

    But why would I not want to see the strip in Vegas? Isn’t that the point of having a coaster there?

    Reply
    1. Manybar Goatfish

      You raise a good point, Grid. The VR coaster concept is every bit as dumb as the idea of donning a VR headset in a strip club to watch virtual reality strippers. Although, I can remember at least one strip club I was at that I could only wish for a VR headset. The strippers were so bad that I would have paid for a blindfold if they had any for sale. And when it comes right down to it, for the price of 14 beers you can get a set of beer goggles that’ll make every stripper in the world (and then some) beautiful. That’s better than virtual reality, plus you get the beer.

      Reply
  8. Photoncounter

    This ride is not and never was worth $15. I’ve ridden it many times despite being a “seasoned citizen” (I’m not dead yet!). I won’t ride it again as that means paying for parking to do so. Screw MGM and their greed.

    The first couple drops are OK, but after that it’s just a plain old steel coaster. There really isn’t much structurally they could do to improve it given the limited real estate so adding a VR experience is probably the only option to fleece more money out of people.

    Reply
    1. Scott Roeben

      The decision to increase revenue from an existing asset isn’t greed, it’s Capitalism. If people don’t find the ride of value, they won’t ride it, and it will go away.

      Reply
  9. Manybar Goatfish

    Roller coasters these days are child’s play compared to the old school ones. I grew up on one with a wood frame structure and the cars didn’t have any restraints or seat seat belts whatsoever. Every single time I rode it, there was always a couple of idiots who were standing up with their hands in the air.

    Reply

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