The last few months we have seen bloggers, futurists and tech wizards from all over the world engaging in the increasingly hot topic of virtual reality (VR).
However, no one has raised the question yet – What about the Australian VR market?
Australia’s condensed population, sizeable VR market and close-knit VR community provide a unique opportunity to connect with Australia’s top VR experts. Working within one of the largest technology co-working spaces, Fishburners, in Sydney’s CBD, I was able to take advantage of these factors to interview Australia’s leading VR experts and most successful VR founders.
The experts listed below took time away from working on their current business models, aimed to introduce new VR technologies and innovative features, in order to help answer questions about the reality of Australia’s VR market.
• Scott O’Brien – Founder of the VR platform Humense
• Ursula Lane-Mullins – Co-founder the VR agency ACME Virtual
• Eddie Cranswick – Co-founder of the 360° video company Relax VR
• Lecky Lao – Founder the VR arcade VR Corner
• Michela Ledwidge – Co-founder Mod Productions
• Nathan Beattie – VR developer and founder of VR network AVRN
• Ben Wong and Charbel Zeaiter – Founders of Academy XI
• Adam Halley-Prinable – VR Developer
• Patrick Catanzariti – Founder of the developer relations site Dev Diner.
They each contributed their opinions with surprising insights and often contrasting standpoints about Australia’s VR ecosystem. So let’s find out:
The Future of VR in Australia
Australia is historically an early adopter of new technologies which means it is often favoured as a global test market. Thanks to the efforts of its strong VR community, the Australian VR market is best positioned to have a vibrant and prosperous future for investors, especially in the entertainment and games sectors. Moreover, mixed and augmented reality technologies look to become more integrated into the lives of millions of Australians as their high adoption rate has experts forecasting these market sizes to surpass that of the Australian VR market. Opportunities are tremendous such as data visualisation, a plug-in for dual game engine production, capturing and visualisation from humans and more. Read the full article about the future of the VR industry
Challenges in Australia
Being currently dependent on market leaders from abroad, Australia is facing crucial challenges such as lack of funding options, slow internet speed, low trust level in the success of VR from larger corporates and low market adoption due to high prices and above all – talent that leaves because of these issues. Also, many Australians don’t know about VR technology and educating them takes time. There are multiple challenges that Australia has to overcome first to conquer the VR market. Read the full article about the challenges of Australia’s VR industry
Global threats of VR
Fragmentation and siloed ecosystems are global threats that are impacting Australia. In combination with a strange first time experience and content with not enought longevity are making it not easy to gain new customers. Plus, augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) can be potential competitors for the Virtual Reality ecosystem competing for the attention and new application to interact with. These and further hurdles are impacting growth. Read the full articles about global threats for VR
Australia’s current VR landscape
The 2017 Australian Virtual Reality Landscape Map shows that a majority of companies are currently working in VR production due to low barriers to entry. There are also some working in education, agencies, arcades, news and developer relations, networks, platforms and corporate labs.
A majority of Australian VR companies focus on 360° video production as it’s easier to produce when compared to other forms of VR. Another core segment of the Australian landscape is VR development due to its ease of access through game development engines like Unity and Unreal.
VR companies 2017
VR news & developer relations
• Dev Diner Tech opinion pieces, interviews, links and guides on emerging tech for developers. Guiding developers in the Internet of Things, wearables, VR, AR and more.
• Virtualsoup The world’s premiere online VR AR MR directory for Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) andAugmented Reality (AR) companies.
• AVRN – Australia Virtual Reality Network Australia Virtual Reality Network (AVRN) is a national association of VR and AR developers and enthusiasts across the country.
• Real world VR A virtual reality event includes speakers forum, Q&A, meet up, demos.Bringing together commercial industry and the VR community.
• VRCC They facilitate connections and partnerships across the Mixed, Augmented and Virtual Reality industries on a National level by providing a dynamic, entertaining, educational and thought provoking program of meetups, events and resources suitable for both technical and creative professionals across all verticals.
• Auggd Enables the seamless delivery of augmented and virtual reality experiences through an own, white labelled mobile application.
• Hummense Humense is the empowering sense of seeing and being with another human being via digital.
• JigSpace They are a platform for creating and sharing interactive 3D instructions. They aim to be the 3D wikipedia for all kind of devices.
• Opaque Technology and design company that specialises in combining and extending existing technologies and design techniques to solve problems in a range of domains.
• Phoria Immersive therapy platform with Murdoch Childrens Research Institute researching the efficacy of VR as a therapeutic tool for kids in hospital.
Corporate VR labs
• CommBank Innovation Lab, the experience enables to explore first-hand how we’re using innovative and agile work practices to develop market leading, customer-centred solutions.
• PwC Leading professional services firms, bringing the power of our global network of firms to help Australian businesses, not-for-profit organisations and governments assess their performance and improve the way they work.
Education providers for VR
• Academy XI Expert-led courses and workshops to learn user experience design, service design, virtual reality, product management and innovation training.
• AIT – Academy of Information Technology Offer Animation, Game Design, Film making , Digital design courses, Business, IT courses and more.
• Devika A collaboration of technology start-ups with global and social ambitions.Creating cutting edge AR and VR content to help the world realise its full potential.
• Vrtheworld Virtual Reality services business that specialises in Training, Awareness and Consulting.
• acmevirtual Mixed-reality studio who love dangerous ideas, reality-distorting technologies and the daily adventure of creating something new.
• Jumpgatevr Studio that specialises in development and production of original VR content. Based out of Australia, they are working across a range of industries to explore the new worlds of virtual reality and the value it can bring.
• S1T2 Creates experiences you never had, in places you wouldn’t think possible.
• Start VR Dedicated virtual reality content and production studio devoted to the creation of beautiful and immersive virtual reality experiences.
• Triggar Provide solutions for Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality & Facial Recognition.
• Transmedia Entertainment They build universes around stories and create outlets in the form of games, film, TV, ebooks, web, social and more.
• virtualrealityventures Specialise in providing real VR solutions to some of the biggest companies in Australia and the world.
• Extreme VR A Brisbane based Virtual Reality and 360 Degree VideoPop-up Arcade.
• FrameVR Digital production studio that creates ground-breaking narrative experiences that immerse and amaze audiences.
• Optimus Gaming The Optimus Gaming company was inspired in 2014 when the advanced gaming concept of virtual reality was still in it is early development.
• Varcade Virtual reality arcade in Fitzroy and South Melbourne. Explore a variety of immersive virtual worlds with cutting edge VR technology.
• VR Arena Kids birthday Parties to total gamers Parties – VR Insanity, the Video Game Party Experience Venue, Melbourne is the Cyber Game Centre of the Future.
• VR Corner Multiplayer virtual reality experience Arcade based in ChinaTown, central of Sydney CBD. Room scale virtual reality, virtual reality arcade.
• Zerolatencyvr Multiplayer, free roam virtual reality.
• Aberrant Realities VR and video game developers with a flair for the unusual.
• Altavr Virtual reality company from developing A Township Tale, a social VR multiplayer experience.
• BigfootDS Indie game developer creating engaging & interactive VR products for a wide range of platforms.
• Blue volcano Indie game developer creating unique and interesting experiences, located in Sydney.
• Chaos Theory Games They are dedicated digital designers who specialise in game development to create awesome interactive projects.
• Equal Reality Interactive Diversity and Inclusion Training
• KID NEON IMAGES Architectual and interiors digital images studio.
• Liminal VR They combine neuroscience and design principles in virtual reality to induce a range of cognitive and emotional states, affording the ability to control and augment the state of mind.
• Pano-ad A virtual imaging company with a small team of experienced photographers, videographers and multimedia developers dedicated to providing high quality immersive content to a wide variety of industries.
• PlaysideVR Creators of the VR title ‘ZR : Zombie Riot’.
• Red Cartel 3D Animation and game development studios with over 16 years experience servicing the Gaming and Advertising industry’s, specializing in creating dynamic visual content for Gaming, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.
• Sciosity Virtual reality development firm operating across Australia and Singapore, and one of WA’s fastest growing EdTech / VR startups.
• Spectrevr A breakthrough that brings new experiences in virtual reality to horror fans creating film-like suspense and surprises.
• Virtualex They develop both bespoke and proprietary Virtual and Augmented Reality applications.Focusing on user interaction, we aim to make virtual environments react to our users, and not the other way around.
• VR Bits Developing games for a wide range of platforms, ranging from the entry-level Google Cardboard, over Samsung’s GearVR to first-class VR devices such as the Oculus Rift, Sony PlaystationVR and HTC Vive.
• 360dgrees Full service and production company based in Sydney, Australia specializing in immersive and interactive virtual reality content.
• Build VR Developing content to meet business requirements from marketing collateral to diversional therapies.
• Catalyst VR A Virtual Reality and 360 Video production, editing, animation and activation company with offices in Sydney and London. We specialise in creating and delivering immersive experiences seamlessly across Virtual Reality, Mobile, Web and Augmented Reality platforms.
• Georama Supports South Australian tourism and businesses by providing the latest virtual reality marketing technology.
• Grainger Films Is a documentary, branded content and viral campaign specialist who services companies & advertising agencies around the globe in world-class video productions.
• Immersia Specialists In Virtual Reality & 360 Video. Based out of Spacecubed in the Perth CBD, we are in prime position to help with your Virtual Reality & 360 video needs.
• LENS Create immersive content in 4K resolution supporting Gear VR, Oculus, HTC Vive and Cardboard VR.
• Lithodomosvr Immersive Virtual Reality experiences of the ancient world for a variety of platforms
• MOD Productions They create interactive entertainment and immersive experience.
• OCEANIC GROUP The Oceanic group of companies creates Virtual Reality, Hardware & Software for a wide range of industry disciplines, bringing together experts in creation of software, hardware, film pre and post production.
• OneVR Software development company focused on creating virtual marketing applications.
• Panedia Adds 3rd party VR content to Google Maps, via their Google Maps system.
• Phlipvids Shoot and produce all forms of video content and have a focus on online and social media video to engage customers, staff, tell stories and increase website rankings and sales.
• Pixelcase Original production studio using groundbreaking use of virtual reality, augmented reality and aerial technology. Perth and Melbourne.
• Plato Reality Delivering high-end, immersive content with strong cinematic narratives – bending the frame of traditional storytelling.
• Rapidvr Full service production company creating virtual reality & 360 degree film, video and interactive content for VR headsets, computers and mobile devices, including the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR.
• Rapturousmedia They specialise in 360° VR Tours, 360° Video and 360° Aerial Photography/Video.
• Relax VR Relax on beautiful sandy beache and listening to a gentle guided meditation.
• Viewport Creates custom built virtual reality software and high end computer graphics for industries and businesses all around the globe.
• Virtual Guest An integrated Virtual Reality (VR) solutions company specialising in high-quality live action capture for storytelling, marketing and training.
• Vrtours Specialist provider of virtual tours, digital photography, digital video and web design services.
• Well Strategic Businesses on Google Street View Trusted- 360 virtual tours.
• Worldview Create experiences featuring 360 videos and 360 photos.
If you want to know more about the VR ecosystem and learn about:
• What challenges need to be overcome by the Australian VR ecosystem?
• Where do leading virtual reality experts see the local VR market in 5 years?
• What opportunities are there in the VR industry and what is missing?
Thank you for your time Scott O’Brien, Ursula Lane-Mullins, Eddie Cranswick, Lecky Lao, Michela Ledwidge, Nathan Beattie, Ben Wong, Charbel Zeaiter, Adam Halley-Prinable and Patrick Catanzariti.
Note: As there are new companies found quickly, please feel free to send me an email, if you know further companies firstname.lastname@example.org as I’ll be updating the overview.