FutureFive NZ - Wellington poised to be a virtual reality hub


Wellington poised to be a virtual reality hub

As the virtual and augmented reality boom continues, Wellington-based VR company Blackeye has published BlackpaperOne. The publication explores the booming industry of virtual, augmented and mixed reality, which is estimated to be worth $205 billion globally within five years. The publication predicts that Wellington will be the heart of an exciting new export industry for VR.

Blackeye is also a founding member of the New Zealand VR/AR Association, the national association for the virtual, augmented and mixed reality sector and is the official New Zealand chapter of the global VR/AR Association.

According to Blackeye, which operates a virtual and augmented reality consultancy, BlackpaperOne sheds light on massive opportunities for New Zealand in an industry that is forcing the world to adapt across many different sectors. Gaming, live events, education, travel, healthcare, real estate, advertising building and retail are all being impacted by the VR boom.

“The opportunity for Wellington as the creative capital of the country is immense,”  says Blackeye executive Jessica Manins.

“With organisations such as Magic Leap and 8i on our doorstep, this is a very exciting time for the industry and I am blown away by its exponential growth.”

Magic Leap is a US-based mixed reality company that operates ultra-secretively. They have been valued at over US$4.5 billion (NZ#6.1 billion). Wellington’s well-known Weta Workshop has a close partnership with Magic Leap, with about 40 Weta staff currently working on creative possibilities for Magic Leap.

Manins says 8i, a VR/AR technology company in Wellington, is a prime example of the industry thriving in New Zealand. They announced a year ago that they had attracted $20 million from investors such as Samsung and Dolby, and even the venture fund of movie star Ashton Kutcher. Earlier this year 8i announced the release of Holo, a mobile AR app that lets users create content with holograms of their favourite celebrities and characters.

BlackPaperone reveals that more than $1.5 billion was invested in virtual, augmented and mixed reality globally in the first two months of 2016. This marked the first time investment had topped a billion dollars in any single year.

With upcoming releases of AR technology from Magicleap and Apple, Blackeye plans to publish BlackPaperTwo in the next quarter to provide updated information about the position of the fast-growing industry VR/AR industry.

The aim of these papers is to improve understanding of the technology, for businesses and consumers alike, as well as help to educate the general public.

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