The world’s first premium Virtual Reality ride: SkySlide
The Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, welcomes around 80,000 visitors each month during peak season. Even in quieter times of the year it draws in 30,000 visitors monthly. To turn this popularity into revenue, Sky Tower wanted to create an experience that would generate even more engagement and visits to this main attraction.
Hold on tight: how was success achieved?
SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd first chose Happy Finish as its long-term partner in 2020. The businesses collaborated on a bespoke version of SkySlide. It was designed to take users on a journey over the Auckland cityscape and around Sky Tower via a motion platform Virtual Reality (VR) experience.
Happy Finish conceptualised, created and developed a truly unique VR ride allowing multiple people to experience the thrills of hurtling around the tower. This also included all technology and hardware integration and fabrication.
To ensure the experience looked realistic, Happy Finish worked with local partners in New Zealand on a 360° gigapixel panorama of the Auckland Skyline. This included a photorealistic CG version of Sky Tower to further enhance the feeling of immersion.
The overall slide experience has a planned cycle time of approximately five minutes, giving a maximum of around 120 cycles per operational day to accommodate the high level of visitors Sky Tower attracts.
The experience included a bespoke slide seat fabrication, allowing up to two guests to use the Sky Tower’s slide at the same time. The seats are on a motion platform with sufficient payload capacity and durability for two riders. The virtual experience mirrors real-life movement, bringing the experience to life in an engaging and exciting way.
Buckle up for the results
Happy Finish combined physical and visual technologies to create a unique premium experience offering visitors an exhilarating viewing opportunity. As a world first, the adventure further amplifies the positive cultural impact of Sky Tower and the role it plays in contributing to tourism in Auckland.
To this day, the SkySlide continues to boost brand awareness, social interaction and PR coverage, and is exceeding Sky Tower’s visitor penetration and revenue growth targets. There are current plans to offer visitors additional versions of the experience and gamified add ons to keep the experience current and ensure visitors will return again and again.
Leilani Toiting, Campaign Manager, SkyCity Auckland, comments:
“It’s been a blast launching such an adrenaline-pumping attraction with Happy Finish! The Sky Tower is a much-loved New Zealand icon, and now visitors can use Virtual Reality to fully immerse themselves in an experience that would have previously only been available in their imagination.
“SkySlide gives people from across the country a new reason to visit Auckland, and even more reasons for international visitors to add it to their ‘must do’s’ when they travel to New Zealand.”