There’s a lot of money being invested into all sorts of virtual reality (VR) companies right now. One of the biggest funding rounds in recent memory was announced this morning as UK based developer nDreams revealed that it had just raised some $2.75 million USD in investments from Mercia Technologies PLC. VRFocus recently spoke to nDreams CEO Patrick O’Luanaigh about the news and its upcoming slate of VR titles.
In the interview below O’Launaigh talks about where the company will go following the release of its two Gear VR titles, Gunner and Perfect Beach. There’s also discussion about balancing development between the major head-mounted displays (HMD) and what the near future holds for the company.
VRFocus: With Gunner and Perfect Beach already nearing release, where do you intend to allocate this investment capital?
Patrick O’Luanaigh: We’re using the investment to continue expanding nDreams, increasing the number of VR titles that we develop/publish, increasing our R&D and looking at opportunities in new areas of VR.
VRFocus: Going forward, how do you expect to balance development on the likes of Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus with mobile HMDs such as Gear VR?
Patrick O’Luanaigh: Our aim is to have great launch titles for all the major VR headsets. But as we are getting a much better feel for when the headsets will launch and how quickly the install bases are likely to grow, we are able to shift our focus around accordingly; we’re doing that at the moment.
VRFocus: Does nDreams have any interest in HMDs and initiatives such as OSVR?
Patrick O’Luanaigh: We’re interested in all headsets that deliver a great VR experience, and particular in those that we think are likely to sell in significant numbers (over a million units). So we’re keeping a close eye on all the HMDs that have been announced so far, including OSVR.
VRFocus: Why did nDreams decide to commit to VR so early on?
Patrick O’Luanaigh: To be honest, we fell in love with VR. Great VR delivers an experience that you can’t get any other way. We believe it has huge potential, and it also suits the skill set of our team really well. So we took a gamble and committed our future to VR before pretty much any other studio. That decision has allowed us to do a lot of research, prototyping and experimentation, and put us in a very exciting position.
VRFocus: How many VR projects in total is nDreams working on right now?
Patrick O’Luanaigh: At the moment, we have five main VR projects, with some others in design/pre-production.
VRFocus: Will you be sticking exclusively to videogame development or are you looking into other areas of VR too?
Patrick O’Luanaigh: We are exploring other areas of VR alongside developing games and experiences; hence our recent announcement that we’re investigating the area between VR gaming and films with UK company Virtual View Productions.
VRFocus: Even with consumer releases nearing VR is going to take some time to hit the mainstream. When do you see it having a big enough reach to have made your work commercially viable?
Patrick O’Luanaigh: There is no doubt that VR will take a while to reach the mass-market, and no-one expects it to happen on day one. But it’s still possible to have significant commercial success early on new platforms if you have the right products. We believe that VR is very close to being commercially viable for us.
VRFocus: Where do you see nDreams in five years from now?
Patrick O’Launaigh: I hope we will be seen as one of the leading VR companies in the world – that’s certainly our target, and a key reason that we took on this investment.