How Does This Even Work?
Yes! We are a team of AAA developers with years of experience creating blockbuster motion games like Guitar Hero and the Nintendo Wii. Thanks to private backing, we've been able to give live demonstrations at game shows since E3 2015, release our first shipment in June 2016, and stay on target for our retail launch planned for autumn 2016. And as odd as a VR exercise bike may sound, those who've played speak for themselves: VirZOOM only sounds weird until you try it.
In addition to the VirZOOM exercise bike, you need two things to play VirZOOM games: a PC computer or PlayStation 4 , and a VR headset. Currently, VirZOOM works equally well with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR headsets, with Gear VR support planned for the future. Please note that we only sell the VirZOOM bike – a PC/PS4 and VR headset must be purchased separately, but we're looking into options for retail bundles down the line.
If you decide you want to play on PC, make sure to get one that's VR-ready: Check out the Oculus and HTC Vive websites for suggestions. If you'd rather play on a PlayStation 4 console hooked up to your television set, you just need the PS VR headset and PlayStation Camera, available separately or in the PS VR Bundle that includes the optional PlayStation Move controllers.
You'd think so, but it's really not so bad! Based on thousands of playtests and tons of user feedback, we can confidently say this isn't a factor in enjoying VirZOOM. Just about any VR game can get you to work up a sweat, even when you aren't actively working out, and headsets have been designed to accommodate this: the PlayStation VR doesn't even touch your face, and the Vive and Oculus liners keep sweat out of your eyes and dry out after like a baseball cap. You should be all set as long as you follow the cleaning instructions for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, including wiping off lenses periodically to keep them from fogging up over time. And if you need additional sweat protection, consider another layer like VR Cover. Bonus tip: Set up a standing fan directly in front of you to keep cool and enhance the feeling that you're moving really, really fast.
Different people have different levels of sensitivity, but we have worked really hard to minimize the risk of motion sickness (or, more accurately, simulator sickness). One of the most common comments we hear at conventions and trade shows is how surprised players are that they didn't get sick on VirZOOM, even as other VR experiences have been so challenging for them. Our motion control system, coupled with your own physical activity, dramatically enhances the sense that you're really moving. (If you're curious about the research and design that went into this, check out "Pedaling With a Pegasus," by our CTO and co-founder.) Moreover, we know that some VR experiences are trickier than others, so we offer a wide variety of games to choose from. Even if taking corners at high speeds in a race car throws you off, gently drifting on a Pegasus or slowly driving a tank may be more up your alley.
You can play other developers' non-VR games on VirZOOM using our PC gamepad emulator – see our Downloads page for info on setting that up. You'll still be able to use the buttons and triggers on the VirZOOM bike to control those games and view games on a TV – this just limits your options for input. If you want to be able to control steering by leaning, that's only possible with a VR headset. Our own games in VirZOOM Arcade, on the other hand, rely on tracking your head position to control your movement, so you must have a VR headset plugged in to play, and you have to be wearing it to steer and control where you look in-game. If you absolutely can't stand to wear a headset over your eyes while playing, you can wear it on your forehead and follow the action on your TV or PC monitor, but we don't recommend it: Our games look and feel a lot better in VR!
We're in partnership discussions with fitness equipment makers about other kinds of bike models. Our bike is designed for the home gamer with portability and affordability in mind, but we realize a high-end system will appeal to many people as well. Other models could potentially feature higher weight and height limits, and resistance settings that change automatically as you play.
We investigated this option in early prototypes, but found that that we couldn't have all the sensors or safety features we needed. We chose to design and build our own bike, creating a more uniform experience and keeping sensor cost and complexity down. We also found that players intuitively wanted to lean to steer, and this is a lot safer on a sturdy stationary bike with handlebars that don't turn!
Maybe someday, but first we need to investigate other ways to control steering and diving besides tracking your head position. Leaning on a bike is an excellent form of control because you can naturally sense even small changes in balance. The VirZOOM bike is the product of a great deal of research and testing, and we'd want to make sure that any other model would be just as safe and easy to use.
The VirZOOM bike safely supports users up to 6'2" and 260 lbs. As noted above, though, we're looking into options for supporting a broader range of sizes down the line.
As long as you secure it before you start pedaling, it should stay safely out of your way. You can hang it over the handlebars, or as we prefer, slip it through the front of the frame. The front of the bike also has a special clip you can snap the cable into make doubly sure nothing ever gets tangled up. Our handlebars are also a great place to hang your headset or hold your PS4 controller!
Our continually expanding collection of games, VirZOOM Arcade, lets you fly on a Pegasus, feed ducks from a kayak, wage live multiplayer tank battles, and more. You can also use your bike as a controller for other PC VR games with the VirZOOM Gamepad Emulator. We've also got a free software development kit so other developers can add VirZOOM support to their own games. Check out our Downloads page for more information!
We do offer a bicycling game, but you'd be surprised what else you can do with VirZOOM. Sure, tanks, helicopters, race cars, and horses aren't typically powered by pedaling. As our users and reviewers will attest, however, once you've tried it, you'll agree it feels completely natural – you'll totally forget you're on an exercise bike.
Yes! We know putting a bike in your entertainment room is a big ask of your whole family, so we design our games to appeal to a range of game styles, VR thrills, and fitness levels, from kids to adults. And while some of our games allow you to blow up machines, you won't see any violence against people or animals.
It does! It can be folded up and moved out of the way, and also fits entirely within a hardcase golf bag that you can take on planes.
For $399.95, you get the exercise bike controller and access to all of our games and software, detailed on our Downloads page. Charges will appear on your credit card statement from VIRZOOM, INC. Please note that a VR headset and a PC or PlayStation 4 must be purchased separately, and are needed to use VirZOOM.
We're currently only accepting orders on our own website for the US and Canada, but join our mailing list for updates on availability with online retailers and international order options.
Absolutely! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you run a gym, arcade, or other public venue and wish to discuss commercial purchasing options.
If you ordered before June, you should already have it! Please contact us at email@example.com to check on its status. New orders will ship during our retail launch, estimated for October 2016.
Setup & Support
You should have assembly instructions packaged with your bike, but just in case, here's a PDF of the assembly instructions. For an even more detailed set of setup instructions, see this step-by-step setup guide in our online manual.
Your code appears when you first launch our collection of games, VirZOOM Arcade. If you haven't installed it already, check out the Setup page from our manual for instructions on getting started with VirZOOM.
We collect all our original exercise games in VirZOOM Arcade, available for download on Steam. You can also download our PC gamepad emulator to use VirZOOM for other PC games, even ones that weren't originally designed for VR or exercise! Check out the Downloads page for more information.
The bike itself runs on 2 AA batteries, so it doesn't require a power cord. To connect to your computer or PS4, we have a Bluetooth dongle that plugs into a USB port.
When you first start VirZOOM Arcade, you only have access to one game at a time. This is on purpose: Moving around in VR can be disorienting without proper training first, so we provide a few games a specific order to get you acclimated to the basics (pedaling forward, then leaning to turn, then flying, etc.). After you complete a tutorial, you unlock one game and the tutorial for another game. If you ever find yourself having a hard time with some of the more advanced games, consider stepping back to the games that are unlocked earlier until you get the hang of it.