Zombies, pirates and other virtual characters are about to be unleashed on Tysons, just in time for Christmas.
Sandbox VR will launch its new virtual reality gaming experience at 1656 Silver Hill Drive in The Boro with a grand opening on Dec. 22. This is the first Virginia location for the San Francisco-based startup, which has expanded to over 40 sites across North America, Asia and Europe since introducing itself to the world in 2019.
“We are thrilled to open our very first Virginia location and The Boro — with its robust lineup of entertainment options — is the perfect home,” Sandbox VR founder and CEO Steve Zhao said. “We can’t wait to introduce the McLean community to our world-class VR experiences and give residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience a whole new reality.”
Initially anticipated this summer, the 7,508-square-foot venue will feature four private rooms known as “holodecks” that can each accommodate up to six players at a time. Players get a headset, haptic vest, a backpack, and wrist and ankle sensors that enable them to interact with each other in a fully immersive virtual world.
Pre-opening booking is now available at a discount of $39 per guest through Dec. 21. Admission is typically $50 to $55 per player, according to Sandbox VR’s website.
Games available at the Tysons location will include “Deadwood Valley” (zombies), “Deadwood Mansion” (haunted house), “Curse of Davy Jones” (pirates), the fantasy world “Seekers of the Shard: Dragonfire,” a sci-fi adventure “Amber Sky 2088,” the gladitorial “Unbound Fighting League,” and ones based on “Star Trek: Discovery” and the dystopian Korean show “Squid Game.”
Sandbox VR will be open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to midnight on weekends.
The virtual reality concept’s arrival continues a trend toward interactive entertainment in Tysons, as the area seeks to diversify its retail offerings to draw in visitors and support a growing residential population. Tysons Corner Center in particular has become a regular destination for pop-up “experiences,” such as the “Encanto”-themed show that opened today (Friday) and a Hot Wheels attraction coming next week.
The primary entertainment option at The Boro right now is the ShowPlace Icon movie theater.
“The Meridian Group is excited to officially welcome Sandbox VR to The Boro,” said Charlie Schwieger, vice president of asset management at TMG, the property owner and developer. “This tech-driven, immersive and social experience will be an entertainment destination for visitors of all ages. It’s the perfect addition to The Boro’s experiential retail lineup, restaurants and family-friendly entertainment options.”
Next year, The Boro will see the arrival of The Trillium Tysons, a senior living community currently under construction. The high-rise apartment building constitutes the first block of the neighborhood’s second phase, a 9.37-acre expansion that will include 40,000 square feet of retail space and more than 800 residential units.
(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) In case the apocalyptic vision of HBO’s “The Last of Us” adaptation isn’t immersive enough, you’ll soon be able to physically battle zombie hordes at The Boro.
The Tysons neighborhood will be home to a new virtual reality gaming venue from the San Francisco-based startup Sandbox VR, which says it utilizes full-body motion capture technology to achieve a level of realism and immersion inspired by the holodecks in “Star Trek.”
The deal was first reported by the Washington Business Journal.
According to a press release, Sandbox has leased a 7,500-square-feet space at 1656 Silver Hill Drive that will feature four private gaming rooms, or holodecks, which can each accommodate up to six players. The center is expected to open this summer.
Located across the street from the ShowPlace ICON Theatre, the new tenant is part of a push to provide more “experiential” amenities for residents and workers, according to The Meridian Group, the developer behind The Boro.
“At The Boro, we strive to create an interactive, socially engaged neighborhood cultivated by experiential retailers like Sandbox VR,” Meridian Vice President of Asset Management Charlie Schwieger said. “With a concept that promotes community and team building through technological innovation, Sandbox VR makes a unique, exciting addition to The Boro’s growing portfolio of eclectic restaurants, shops and attractions.”
Launched in 2019, Sandbox has over 30 locations worldwide and counts celebrities Will Smith, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and Kevin Durant among its investors, according to its website. The Tysons location will be the first in Virginia, though Virginia Beach and Woodbridge centers are also in the works.
The company says its in-house studio has developed six different “experiences,” including a pirate adventure, a haunted-house game and the latest addition involving zombies.
The Boro shared more on how the holodecks work in its press release:
The Boro’s Sandbox VR location will feature 4 private rooms for virtual reality gameplay called “holodecks,” in which groups of up to six players will explore virtual worlds and rely on each other to succeed in games designed to be social experiences. Together with friends, family, or co-workers, players are equipped with a VR headset, a haptic vest, a backpack and motion sensors on their wrists and ankles. This technology allows players to see and physically interact with one another while feeling like they are in the middle of an action movie, with the heightened emotions that come from not just watching a film, but from actually becoming the stars of the action.
David Friedman, Sandbox’s vice president of global real estate, said the company was drawn to Tysons due to its proximity to D.C. and status as “one of the largest areas for office and retail in the country.”
Just last month, the Boro welcomed the long-awaited restaurants Circa and Él Bebe. The burger joint Caliburger is expected to open at 8301 Greensboro Drive in the first quarter of this year.
Construction on a second phase of The Boro on the north side of Westpark Drive is on track to reach substantial completion in 2025.
Work began last April on The Trillium, a 16-story senior living facility, and Fairfax County approved plans for more residential buildings a month later. In total, the 9.37-acre expansion will add 160,000 square feet of retail and 610,000 square feet of housing.
Rainbow Road will pass through Tysons Corner Center this winter holiday season.
The D.C. area’s biggest mall is one of 15 locations across the country that will host a “Wishlist Wonderland” pop-up from Nintendo, the video game company behind the Mario and Animal Crossing franchises announced last week.
Focused on giving customers a chance to play with and learn about Nintendo’s Switch console, the pop-up will arrive at Macy’s Court in Tysons Corner Center on Friday (Nov. 18) and remain through Dec. 27, a mall spokesperson confirmed.
From Nintendo’s event page:
Wishlist Wonderland with Nintendo Switch is a pop-up experience coming to select markets this holiday season. It’s a hands-on opportunity to learn about the Nintendo Switch family of systems and the extensive library of Nintendo Switch games! With demos of some of the latest Nintendo Switch games, interactive displays, My Nintendo Rewards check in, and more, this event will help you and your family find the perfect Nintendo products for your holiday wish list.
The games available for demonstrations will include “Nintendo Switch Sports,” “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — Booster Course Pass,” and the 2023 edition of “Just Dance,” which is set to be released on Tuesday (Nov. 22).
However, the games won’t be available for purchase at the pop-up, according to Nintendo, which says they can be bought through retailers and its online store.
No registration is required for the pop-up, but the company says patrons must wear “secure footwear,” such as sneakers or closed-heel, flat sandals, to play “Nintendo Switch Sports.”
“Secure footwear reduces the risk of tripping, falling, or footwear dislodging when playing,” the event page says.
The pop-up’s arrival will come on the same day as Tysons Corner Center’s annual holiday tree lighting, which will take place on The Plaza from 6 to 8 p.m. The mall kicked off its holiday festivities last week with the start of Santa photo sessions.
It’s game over for GameStop in North Point Village Center.
The chain retailer that sells consumer electronics, gaming merchandises and video games was located at 1468 North Point Village Center.
The company did not immediately return a request for comment from FFXnow on what was the last day of business and why the store closed. But in recent years, the business has been shrinking its footprint across the country by shuttering many stores.
The nearest location to the Reston spot is at Dulles 28 Centre in Sterling.
Mochinut, which features Hawaiian-style donuts that are mixed with Japanese mocha and American donuts, is expected to open soon at the village center, according to the business’s website.