Market Slowdown No Match For Europe's VR Growth
Europe’s VR industry is going from strength-to-strength, overcoming hurdles placed in its way by fragmentation and general market slowdown.
The VR meetup community in Europe has more than doubled since 2016, with significant investment pouring into the continent from abroad. Japanese mobile gaming studio, Gumi, for example, has offered substantial investment and resources to the EUVR organisation, a non-profit working towards maturing the industry in Europe.
The Fragmented VR Ecosystem
EUVR offers a range of resources and platforms to address the fragmented industry ecosystem that’s holding Europe back. As Daniel Doornink, CEO and founder of VR incubator, VRBASE, puts it:
“In this early-stage industry it is about learning and sharing those learnings to ‘grow the whole pie’ instead of competing for pieces.”
The frenzied pace of Europe’s VR growth has created a landscape of fragmentation that’s both inefficient and causes irritating missed opportunities. Many large corporations are generally quite fragmented internally, which causes a problem when designated country-based managers are only focused on their own territory. There’s also a lack of cross-promotion, collaboration, and communication between VR community leaders. If they can come together to leverage each other’s resources, the impact of their current initiatives and projects will be amplified considerably. The trick is to unify the community.
It’s a problem that needs to be solved, and fast.
Solving The Problem
EUVR has put together an interactive database in order to provide visibility for companies in the industry, which is often lacking in emerging tech spaces such as ours. It serves to highlight the sheer diversity of the industry on the continent, along with having a host of other benefits for the industry at large.
The database is set to offer transparency to the landscape, facilitating this valuable aspect of collaboration, along with partnerships and deal flow that will continue to build up the VR industry in Europe. However, it’s not just aiming in Europe… it’s also targeting increasing interest from foreign investors and landing partnerships from further afield.
Belgian VR and WebVR consulting and development agency, LucidWeb, is also making a substantial impact with its in-depth tracking of companies working in VR in Europe. Working alongside Silicon Valley-based venture firm, The Venture Reality Fund, the company has performed extensive research, gathering information from correspondence with VR ambassadors from regions across the Continent.
In February 2017 it had about 300 active companies in its database. By July, that figure was 487 and growing. To appear on the list, a company must have received formal funding and have a commercial product live on the market.
LucidWeb reports that startups focusing on user input, 3D tools, and enterprise applications are growing fast, having more easy access to capital. The company notes that mature companies working in these areas are more likely to find themselves either going public or acquired by the big guns, like Microsoft and Facebook.
The user input sector (focus on interactions in VR by brain, body, eyes, feet, and hands) is featuring strongly right now, with one of the most staggering pieces of investment news coming from the UK-based company, Ultrahaptics. The company recently secured $23 million in its Series B round.
The 3D tools space is even more impressive. Improbable raised $500 million from SoftBank last May in its Series B round, for example.
Of course, Gaming is the most crowded and competitive space. There’s also a heck of a lot of money flowing in. One of the most notable sums was granted to Swedish Logtown Studios, which bagged €600,000 for their very first VR title, whilst UK-based nDreams bagged $3.47 million USD in July.
Let’s conclude with a rather inspiring quote from Juan Bossicard, co-founder of EUVR which will certainly hearten all of us working in VR in Europe at this time:
“Europe has the potential to become a leading region in VR content: Our creativity, our cultural heritage and our talents are all assets that can be used to create unforgettable VR experiences, amazing video games and disruptive B2B applications.”