VR development companies and virtual reality itself have a reputation for broken promises, but it is being fulfilled in several ways. This is how virtual reality makes a real impact – from outpatient care to employee training and (yes) games.
Over the past 5 years, the development of augmented and virtual reality platforms has grown dramatically. Continuous improvements in AR / VR technology and significant price reductions will soon make it ubiquitous. VR and AR are not only technologically impressive, but they also have a number of potential business and consumer applications that remain to be explored.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best VR and AR development companies for you. Read company descriptions, past clients, and famous projects to find what works best for your business.
Twenty-five years ago, virtual reality was a real catfish. It tormented, we fell in love, but a problem arose: in fact, this did not exist – at least not in the way we all wanted it.
Pop culture helped fuel huge interest in the ’90s – the decade that started with The Lawnmower Man, culminating in The Matrix and filled with Virtuosity, Strange Days, and Johnny Mnemonic in between – but the revolution never quite came. And boy, we felt abandoned.
Industry: sport, media
What it does: Spectator Sports are sports gloves designed for Virtual Reality. LiveLike showcased the Super Bowl, the FIFA World Cup, and other tent duels via its VR platform. Along with the live stream (of course) it adds extras such as Jumbotron channels, live stats, multiple movable vantage points and a sense of immersion in the stands – all but the smell of spilled beer. With former NBA commissioner David Stern among the company’s investors, LiveLike has also focused on mobile devices which, while inherently less engaging than the headphone version, increase social opportunities.
Business sector: 3D development
Location: San Francisco
What it does: In recent years, Unity Technologies has found a foothold with automakers, who use its virtual reality imagery as a prototyping tool, and filmmakers, who use it to combine various production tasks. Yet it remains a powerhouse in gaming, with its development engine supposedly laying the foundation for half of all mobile games and more than half of all virtual or augmented reality content, including the reigning cultural giant of ‘AR, Pokémon Go. Coco VR, Pixar’s first foray into autonomous virtual reality cinema, made in collaboration with Magnopus.
Location: Austin, Texas
What it does: VR can transport your senses into an alternate reality. Your body? Not as much. You are always circumscribed by your actual physical space. Virtuix came up with a workaround with the Omni, essentially a 360 degree treadmill that allows players to run through virtual lands while basically staying in a real land. While its bulkiness makes it sub-optimal for the domestic market (as Barbara Corcoran said after Virtuix featured on Shark Tank, “If my husband were to bring this into my house, I would divorce him immediately”), the four are Omni – Virtuix arenas attractive draws Omni made its Dave & Buster debut in Austin last June.
Location: Los Angeles
What it does: Before becoming CEO of a VR studio, Chris Milk was a technical music video director with a resume that included Arcade Fire’s “We Used to Wait” and Johnny Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave” are notable for their interactive animation elements. No wonder, then, that Milk is perhaps the most prominent evangelist of virtual reality as an artistic medium. Since launching in 2014, Within has had an impressive roster of short animated, horror, experimental and music films, as well as some incredible documentary collaborations with CNN (a frontline report on how climate change has affected Iceland’s disappearing glaciers), The New York Times (a 2015 chronicle of three asylum-seeking refugee children) and other media.
Industry: data center, semiconductors
Location: Santa Clara, CA.
What it does: As data processing and the need for more efficient computing power increase, silicon improvements must be made that can keep up. This is where Nuvia comes in. The Santa Clara-based startup is developing a range of silicon-based processing devices that meet the performance and energy efficiency requirements of today’s intense global computer network. This technology is particularly useful in areas such as VR, which have been known to be very high in computing space and computing power.
Industry: video games, consumer electronics
Location: Menlo Park, California.
What it does: Any discussion of VR in 2019 has to start with Oculus, which Facebook acquired for $ 2 billion in 2014, sparking the second big firestorm of the VR hype. The Oculus Rift headset was launched in 2016 – the so-called Virtual Reality Year, which also saw the release of HTC Vive and PlayStation VR – and last spring saw the launch of the latest headset, the PC-less wireless Quest that is characterized by excellent maneuverability, but also has some performance and price hurdles. A new blessing: The Go and Quest headsets now support Amazon Prime Video.
Industry: marketing, advertising
Location: Austin, Texas
What it does: Working with VR, AR and 360-degree video, this marketing studio has developed videos and experiences for the likes of Amazon, Google, MTV, and Walmart. VR Subvrsive’s portfolio includes a decentralized learning portal built to run on Oculus Go to train new employees at Simi Winery in California. It also includes ultra-thin combined AR / VR documentation of Austin’s iconic mural, taken before his move. The company also offers products that allow retailers to recreate their spaces in 3D on the web and allow brands to create their own AR content right on the web.
Sector: healthcare, outpatient care
Location: Palo Alto, Calif.
What it does: Even some of the biggest names in cross-reality have expressed concern about how VR might be too immersive, but for patients dealing with chronic pain or anxiety, that total immersion – more like pushing relief mechanisms from internal body pain that mere distraction – is a feature not a bug. Limbix is among the forerunners in virtual reality patient care, offering a wireless, internet-free system hosting portals designed for exposure therapy (these can be realistic, but without stakes, simulations of actions like public speaking and driving) , anxiety management (such as breathing exercises and meditation focused on a single object) and more.
Location: Torrance, California
What it does: One way to allay the fear that VR games encourage isolation is to socialize with them. Survios, the VR game publisher behind Creed: Rise to Glory and Raw Data, also runs its own arcade in California, where players can collect and play a plethora of titles including Survios and many more. There is even a weekly After Dark evening, which caters to young professionals who may be intimidated by the atmosphere perceived only by early VR users. It’s part of a broader trend towards VR arcades, which give amateurs the ability to eliminate the barrier of entry represented by relatively expensive home options.
Sector: Real Estate, Travel and Hospitality
Location: Sunnyvale, California.
What it does: Anyone who has ever hunted a house knows that there is usually a big gap between getting advance information about a potential property and actually getting into it, especially on a long-distance move. Hence the emergence of 3D image tours in residential properties. Matterport’s approach is quite advanced, incorporating computer vision to “read” even complex layouts. Once a space is mapped, users also have the option of an RV tour that is even more engaging and realistic than a computer stream.
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While a planned future of ubiquitous headsets and haptic gloves did not materialize, VR has nonetheless made some huge strides and found a home in a variety of industries. The latest estimates suggest that nearly 43 million people will use virtual reality at least once a month this year. The number of active VR users worldwide is expected to reach around 171 million. Sure, it is still widely viewed as a gaming technology, and a niche one, but it has also proven to be a valuable tool in e-commerce, retail, medical education, employee development, technology, and non-gaming entertainment fields. It might even help manage your anxiety.
“The biggest companies in the world have invested billions of dollars in VR – and they did so long before one device was officially sold in stores,” writes correspondent in his book Future Presence: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy and the Limits of Ordinary Life. “Where does this optimism come from? Not only because virtual reality can create the most interesting video games we’ve ever seen; promises to upset any sector you can name. ”