The world of content is changing and perhaps one of the biggest changes that will happen over the next decade when it comes to experiencing media will be the integration of virtual reality (VR) into our everyday lives.
Zero Latency is a Melbourne-based free-roam virtual reality company. It is the first commercially operating venue in the world that offers this kind of virtual reality experience, much better and at a whole new level of what you would be able to out of your home. The company prides itself on being able to offer the most immersive experiences in the country.
Customers use an online booking system to schedule a session with their friends. Users turn up 15 minutes before their session, get suited up and briefed and then are sent into the facilities simulator, where they and five other people are immersed into a zombie apocalypse simulator for a 45 minute experience. Players and their friends have to work together to fight zombies, lords and rebels as they move through an abandoned city on a mission to recover an old asset, a drop ship that they need to get into to escape.
“It’s a pretty intense kind of game,” says cofounder Tim Ruse. “We ramp it up slowly, but once you’re in the thick of it, you’ve really got to work as a team to survive.”
The team have been working on the technology for around three and a half years, first doing a public demonstration at Melbourne’s Pause Fest Conference in 2014.
“We did a public demonstration, which got us some great feedback from people, and we met some really interesting, creative people through that process who then went on to help us, some of whom are still helping us today,” says Ruse. “A lot of them went through to help us get through our crowdfunding campaign.”
In addition to a successful crowdfunding campaign which raised $30,000, Zero Latency has also raised $1 million in seed funding.
While the core focus right now is on growing the business around its facility in North Melbourne, Zero Latency is also beginning to explore two different revenue systems.
“There are essentially two options we are looking at,” says Ruse. “People can just buy a system and we can go and set them and they get all the content and we get a licensing fee out of that. The second option is that some customers may want more of a theme park model where we provide them with a custom installation, we go and build that for them with their own content.”
Zero Latency has the ability to build the content for clients or integrate existing content into a VR system.
In terms of launching to the world stage, Ruse says that launching at Pause Fest was a pivotal moment for the company.
“It was a good exercise for us to get it out there and it was more local interest coming on people’s radar locally. A lot of people that we meet say that’s where they saw us there. It was a really good way to meet locally, nationally and internationally to raise brand awareness. That was pretty valuable,” says Ruse.
“I think PauseFest, George in particular has got a really open inclusive attitude and it’s a really good place to go meet people who are doing interesting work locally, and especially if you’re in early stages trying to get an idea off the ground, it’s simply important to have as broad of network as possible who you can bounce ideas off, who can help you and you can help them so that kind of grassroots activities like that is valuable for early stage startups.”
VR is definitely going to be a prominent theme throughout the 2016 Pause Festival, and there are sure to be many in-depth conversations about where the whole industry is heading over the next five years as the technology becomes more mainstream and begins to be integrated into smaller wearables.
Pause Fest 2016 will take place at Federation Square on the 8th – 14th of February 2016. Tickets can be purchased here, with a Zero Latency experience included in a Full Festival pass and a special price offered to Single ticket holders.