Meet SPREESPREE Interactive was founded in 2017 as “Holodeck VR.” The company uses proprietary and patented “sensor fusion technology” to create spacious multiplayer VR experiences and attractions. Headquartered in Nuremberg, Germany, their experiences are available at a number of VR attractions throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East.
A stated goal of the company is to become a “Netflix of VR experiences” by supporting third-party content created by developers for the platform and then entering partnerships and licensing agreements.
Virtual Reality Check
The COVID and Post-COVID Worlds of Location-Based VR
You might be thinking that this is a terrible time for location-based VR experiences . In the short-term, you might be right. Concerns about shared headsets as well as distance precautions arising from coronavirus have led to a dip in location-based VR.
However, for those companies able to play a longer game, COVID may help the market in the grand scheme of things. Before the pandemic, VR was certainly going places – including in entertainment. Location-based experiences like VR arcades were how many people experienced VR for the first time, even if these locations were less than ubiquitous.
Social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic has since contributed to an explosion of VR adoption in enterprise as well as in entertainment. SPREE is counting on this XR enthusiasm outlasting the virus . “COVID has fueled ever more demand from shopping malls which now desperately need alternate revenue streams and innovative ways to utilize floorspace, especially with the foot traffic fluctuating and increasing in various markets,” founder and Managing Director, Jonathan Nowak Delgado, said in a release shared with ARPost.
Nintendo’s Virtual Boy 3D Gaming Console. Similar to SEGA, Nintendo also had the vision of putting out a Virtual Reality headset for the gaming market. They even went as far as putting a VR headset on the market, but unfortunately it didn’t make it far. Released in the mid 1990s and known as the Virtual Boy, the device was a 3D gaming console that had a 3D viewing system rigged out to look like virtual reality. While it was way cheaper than the other options on the market at the time, the device also didn’t manage to truly spark the VR movement, simply because it lacked head-tracking and quality graphics and only offered stereoscopic 3D display.
What Has SPREE Been Up To?During the time that foot traffic to VR attractions was down, SPREE closed a seed round of funding with millions of dollars in investments. They also signed partnerships and licensing agreements with hardware developer Pico Interactive and experience group VR Nerds.
The partnership with Pico allows SPREE to offer an “all-in-one free roam custom solution” based around Pico’s Neo 2 headset . The partnership with VR Nerds makes SPREE the exclusive distributor of an all-in-one Tower Tag experience, which has been called “the world’s first free-roam immersive VR esports experience.” The experience features an exclusive stage and allows players to play against other players or against AI-powered bots in the paintball-like VR game.
That’s all of the news right now, but the company is already planning a new funding round and is always on the lookout for more partnerships.
“In order to continue to be on the forefront of the VR attractions industry, we will continue to build upon proprietary, patented sensor fusion technology, strategic partnerships, and a cutting edge content distribution platform as we plan our series A round later this year,” said Delgado.
Major Brands Are Investing in VR. About 75 percent of the Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands have created some form of virtual reality or augmented reality experience for customers or employees, or are themselves developing these technologies. Given that this study was conducted in October 2015, the number is likely significantly higher.
Where Will You Experience VR?
No one would blame the average enthusiast for looking past experience-based VR right now. However, companies are using the present moment as a unique opportunity to bring this content to us in bigger, better, and more accessible ways in the post-COVID world.
Whether you have tried experience-based VR in the past or not, it may become more accessible and more popular in the coming months and it will in part be because of the legwork that companies like SPREE are putting in while we’re at home.