The UK is launching a major new center for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality tech this week, but not in the capital city of London.
Instead, the new facility, named VRTGO Labs, will be located in the North East of England in Gateshead, near Newcastle upon Tyne. It claims to be Europe’s first center for excellence based on the new technologies, though a certain referendum might have something to say about that in the future. Opening July 6th, the center is a co-working space that currently includes 26 VR and MR companies. The list features big names such as EVE: Valkyrie developer CCP Games and Esper creator Coatsink and indie teams like Chair in a Room studio Wolf and Wood.
These companies’ work spans not just games but also automobile, aeronautic, offshore, retail, manufacturing, marketing, healthcare and training industries. They’re also working with major brands like Boursin, Audi, and even Marvel. We’ve seen VR experiences from some of these brands in the past, though we’d certainly like to see more from Marvel. In fact the directors of the recent Captain America: Civil War have also expressed great interest in using the tech in the future.
As you might expect, both PlayStation and Oculus are also involved with the center. In fact, VRTGO Labs houses an office for the latter company, the only one in the UK outside of the London offices. HTC and its HTC Vive aren’t listed but no doubt some studios involved are working on the kit.
As exciting as VR and other headset-based tech is, it’s a risky time to be getting involved with it. Install bases for products like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are likely pretty low due to their high price points. With that in mind, spaces like this are essential to nurturing talent and giving content creators every possible opportunity to create the best experiences to help speed up adoption and grow VR into the juggernaut we all know it can be.
A free launch event for VRTGO Labs will take place tomorrow evening and feature exhibits from Coatsink, Luminous Group, Spearhead Interactive and more. You can grab a ticket over on EventBrite. VRTGO also hosts an annual conference surrounding VR tech, which you can expect to see return later on in the year.