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vTime – Making VR more social

By    |   May 15, 2018, 7:42 am EDT

VR has had a long-standing problem of both the ‘uncanny valley effect’ and its lack of social connectivity. With vTime, that problem has been tackled through social interactions and a higher quality of dimension and background. You can get transported to new parts of the universe, without leaving your couch. You can also share pictures, interact with new people and share emotions and gestures from your controllers and keyboards.

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The Virtual vTime experience (Photo via vTime Twitter)

While other apps like Second Life, may seem like you’re controlling a digital avatar, that’s not the experience that vTime is trying to provide. They’re focusing on complete immersion in the virtual world, along with providing the tools necessary to enjoy your social experience.

E.g. you can strike a conversation while being in your favourite place in the map and share conversations with your friends and new strangers. While most companies are doubling down on VR and the tech behind it, vTime is focusing on the social aspect of it all.

They’ve raised close to $7.6 Million on a Series A funding round by Deepbridge Capital and others. Founder and CEO Martin Kenwright wants to invest that round in fuelling R&D for their AR experience that’s about to launch next year. They’re doing innovative things in the AR realm that will really connect people across the world with one another.

“The advent of consumer AR at scale is allowing us to use decades of expertise to develop another unique way to connect and engage with friends and family in alternate realities,” – Martin (Source)

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Martin Kenwright, CEO Starship /vTime (Photo via Wikipedia)

They’re transitioning towards a social XR experience, which involved both VR and AR. This means that consumers can choose what kind of experience they enjoy and allow for more social connectivity through that experience. With close to a million users, the company has been moving forward with providing memorable experiences to consumers.

Are they solving an existing problem? Some might say so. The problem with current social media apps is that they’re one-dimensional and lack conversations. You check your phone for likes and comments, and you put it away to check it an hour later.

“vTime is the first truly ‘sociable’ network on mobile VR. Unlike conventional social networks, where you spend time mostly with your PC, tablet or phone, vTime is about spending that precious time with family and friends.” – Ken (Source)

That can be enhanced with a dedicated VR experience with friends. Even if you try it for the first time, you’re going to find that a lot of the amazing experiences that vTime offers are unmatched even in the real world.

That’s why this UK company has been focusing on two main areas. One is enhanced customization. You can develop your own avatar and create something that satisfies your customization needs. The second area is location-centric. They’ve taken some of the most beautiful and breathtaking places in the world and designed environments based on them.

The other component that works well for vTime is the ease of accessibility. You don’t need to buy any new hardware or create an account with a new social media platform. You just need your smartphone, your Facebook account and an existing VR headset to get started. Setting up is simple, and the whole process is intuitive for first-time users.

The way that Martin focuses on increased development is through community-activation. The community is a strong part of the development within the app, where they can design new experiences and upload photos to create new worlds. That’s when they can start inviting other people to visit their creations and marvel at the graphics of the experience.

The company, overall, is focusing on key technologies that can be adopted on the platform without increasing load. Things like 6DOF HMDs, the AR cloud, 5G, eye tracking, voice input and haptic sensors are interesting for Martin as the company grows towards a consumer-enriched model. They’re trying to build the next great thing in experiences, when it comes to VR.

With vTime entering the space of AR in the coming year, it’s going to make the virtual space that much more interesting. Other players in the industry might target the same strategy and develop new experiences that closely match virtual and augmented realities. This will open up the VR space to new horizons, as well as create more worlds for consumers to explore. The rising tide will raise all boats, and VR exclusive content will become more popular than console or smartphone based.

It’s one the most innovative technologies in the space right now, and its reaching new heights with every direction its picked. They’re moving one step further with their Oculus Go integration, making it easier for anyone with a handy portable version of VR to enjoy it as well. Overall, the industry looks to be in good shape and enjoying a plethora of user-generated content at the same time.

 

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Oculus Go & vTime integration graphic (Photo via vTime Twitter)

Few people can understand gamification and social play than Martin. He started his career as a 2D graphics artist in 1987 and worked on some of the most iconic games that you’ve played. He’s been at the helm of many innovative projects in the gaming industry, and he understands how to create engaging experiences. The Starship Group has been working on some of the most interesting games and concepts in the UK right now.

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Convention popup demonstration (Photo via vTime Twitter)

They’re expanding via word of mouth and presenting the experiences at conferences and conventions. That’s been a driver of success for them, as they continue doing the work that they’ve set out to do. By giving the imagination wings, vTime has created an infrastructure for new experiences, exploration and community. There could be brand integrations, new sources of storytelling, virtual museum tours and much more when it takes off in the coming years.

With user acquisition as their primary target, they’re trying to keep the existing user base engaged through interesting experiences. They can customize much of what they’re seeing and develop new worlds in the virtual reality realm. This adds to that next level of engagement, giving more precedence to connectivity and social interactions.

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