By Jill Fox
These days people are thinking about escaping reality. Now they can– in Coral Springs.
The development of virtual reality (VR) technology is making it possible, and after much anticipation, a new arcade will soon open its doors.
“CTRL V” allows players to transport themselves inside a variety of games.
“It’s like nothing you’ve ever done before,” said Ian Ross, who, along with his father, Steve owns the newest franchise.
Both Ian and Steve are in clinical medicine. A recent medical school graduate, Ian was preparing for his Ph.D. when his father accidentally found this business opportunity.
Steve was walking through The Wellington Mall when he saw a massive line of people waiting to enter a virtual reality arcade. He immediately called Ian at the thought of a good investment.
The father-son duo had never tried VR before, but after researching similar companies, the Rosses decided to pursue a partnership with CTRL V, North America’s first virtual reality arcade, which initially opened in Canada in 2016.
This particular model was built around being affordable and getting into as many people’s hands as possible, and that’s what appealed to Ian and Steve.
When they traveled to Canada to meet the developers, they were awestruck by how immersive the experience was. From fighting zombies to whitewater rafting down the Colorado River to virtual dodgeball, Ian said the advanced technology was unbelievable.
As doctors, the Rosses see people on their worst days, and Ian said, being able to see people happy and thrilled on their best days was what drew him to this idea.
Although he grew up in Wellington, Ian frequently played ice hockey in Coral Springs. He knew the area was densely residential, and there wasn’t much in terms of entertainment.
He found the perfect location, right next to Coral Springs High School.
“It was the right size, the right location, the people we met; everything seemed to really click,” he said.
Currently living in Jupiter, Ian, his wife, Chelsea, and their two golden retrievers, Stella and Enzo are in the process of looking for something closer to Coral Springs.
The Coral Springs location will be the first in Florida, and the third in the United States, with two others in Delaware and New Jersey.
Under construction since October, it’s been a long process, basically at a standstill since March, due to COVID-19.
Now with inspections mostly complete, they are looking at opening in the fall, and COVID-19 guidelines shouldn’t pose a problem.
Their 10-foot by 10-foot stations were planned before the onset of the Coronavirus, but the format is ideal for the current climate.
“The way we designed it, it’s a perfect scenario for social distancing,” said Ian, “And as it has progressed, we’re taking new protocols for sanitization of the headsets.”
The 16 VR stations each hold one person and are accessible for nearly all ages and capabilities.
Ian said anyone can have a good time at CTRL V. Their clients range from birthday parties and corporate events to bachelor parties or young families who will enjoy playing over 50 games, which change monthly.
Prices start at $25 for 60 minutes of play.
CTRL V is located at 7373 West Sample Road in Coral Springs. For more information, visit facebook.com/CtrlVCoralSprings. Stay posted only on Coral Springs Talk for the opening date — anticipated this fall.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.
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