Selfridges play destination invites immersive play



1 hour ago

Selfridges play destination invites immersive play

Organized by Smartech, Selfridges’ gaming destination, the PlayHouse, aims to make gaming more inclusive, showcasing virtual reality experiences alongside retro arcade games.

Venture down the Selfridges escalator in London to the lower ground floor and you’ll find yourself in a gamers’ paradise. The recently opened PlayHouse, a 200 m² store organized by Smartech, brings together digital and physical experiences, with the ambition of opening up the world of games for everyone.

Experienced gamers and newbies alike are welcome here to try out the latest Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and Spectacles by Snap must-haves. Retro arcade games are also on display – the resistance piece being a 12K gold arcade machine from Polycade.

There are immersive VR experiences from Robocom, and for those who want to try life on the fast lane, sessions on AMR-C01, Aston Martin’s first luxury home racing simulator, can be booked.

Play as a way to connect

The new opening – a permanent fixture after a previous pop-up space – takes advantage of the growing popularity of video games during the pandemic, as people found distraction and community on the other side of the screen. In 2020, 62% of UK adults were playing some form of video game, many of which had never purchased a controller before.

Bringing this IRL community together is at the heart of the philosophy behind PlayHouse. “It is clear that the game has become something that has brought joy to individuals and families, and bonds with each other,” says Nathalie Bernce, co-founder and CEO of Smartech. “It has shown that many have individually found a new outlet for much-needed contacts.”

Products from 85 next-generation manufacturers will be showcased, creating a new platform for people to try and experience products before they buy. The launch is part of a larger transformation of the technology department at the Oxford Street store, with a shift to experiential retail.

Designed to encourage and inspire play, the space features highly Instagrammable features, including pastel-hued arches and interactive play booths. Each month, it will host coding workshops, a platform to promote women in tech, with future events planned, including a live artist customization station with Controller Modz and gaming PC building workshops. in store powered by Battlerigs.

It’s this mix of physical and digital experiences that holds the key to the future of gaming, according to Bernce. “More than ever, people are hungry for human connection, for fun experiences and to discover new things.” §

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