G2A: VR Development Calls for a Leap of Virtual Faith
A key code reseller entering VR development? A bold move for G2A ends with surprising results.
At present in the videogames industry there’s two schools of thought about virtual reality (VR): it’s a fad or it’s the future. Most definitely residing on the latter side of the fence are Polish consumer marketplace providers, G2A. Having effectively developed a large, profitable company whilst flying almost completely under the radar of the wider industry, G2A is now determined to become a key player in the progress of videogames as a medium. One way of doing this, in the collective mindset of G2A, is to incubate an internal development team dedicated to VR.
Never before has VRFocus been invited to meet a company that is so deeply invested in customer satisfaction. From support to payment systems to UX design, every part of G2A is committed to working for the customer first. It would be quite easy to assume that this is a front, bravado employed to condition journalists to deliver a favourable report, but it’s not just in the team leads and PR documentation that is distributed. Even respectably low level employees are vocal about how much of their time is invested in ensuring G2A delivers a high quality customer experience. This, of course, is echoed in the forthcoming VR experience currently in development at G2A, G2A Land.
G2A Land is not just a clever marketing tool – though indeed it is a very shrewd idea to jump into the field before the bandwagon even gets truly rolling – but it is every bit the unique software that VR will need in its early days. A compilation of a variety of experiences tied together with a theme park aesthetic – of which you can read more about in VRFocus‘ upcoming G2A Land preview – the release will likely be distributed wider than G2A’s own marketplace. What’s more, G2A President, Bartosz Skwarczek, assures VRFocus that the intention is to launch G2A Land for free.
“The future is about virtual reality,” stated Skwarczek in a presentation to VRFocus. “G2A is the fastest growing marketplace in the world, but there is more opportunity than that.”
G2A Land is an exercise in marketing models. G2A has invested a lot of time and money getting it right – the team of 12 developing the title have worked tirelessly to achieve the staples of constant framerate, high resolution and other white paper requirements of modern VR – but it’s not a product as such. G2A Land will offer a permanent position for the company to reach out to consumer who may have ignored its marketplace in the past, or even have been unaware of it altogether. It will present interactivity alongside the opportunity to purchase and sell key codes for additional videogame titles which will operate outside of G2A Land. For example, it’s not too far a stretch to think of spending 20 minutes at a VR shooting range in G2A Land, only to then go and browse for and purchase Oculus VR’s own first-person shooter title, Dead & Buried, playable via the Oculus Home menu in exactly the same fashion as a videogame title bought natively.
G2A Land is being developed as the company saw an opportunity, and G2A did not establish itself by ignoring such possibilities. Recognising itself as the underdog, G2A has managed to acquire over 6 million registered users since its launch in January 2014. The company now has more than 300 employees at its Rzeszow office and deals with hundreds of thousands of transactions every month. All of this came without partnerships, agreements of even the approval of any developers or publishers within the videogame industry.
These numbers also potentially mean good things for VR, too. While G2A is concerned with making sure G2A Land is an enjoyable VR experience that could potentially widen its audience, it would be hard to deny the impact that such a title could have if the company chooses to promote it wisely within its existing membership. G2A Land is being developed exclusively for VR; at the time of writing, the development team were noticeably disheartened when VRFocus suggested that a traditional 2D monitor version might be being developed in parallel. Putting a VR-only experience in front of G2A’s most ardent fanbase could convince many to adopt the technology sooner than they had previously intended, if they had intended to do so at all. Though G2A champions itself as an underdog marketplace that has invested in a VR sideline, such a collaboration could indeed have a very far reaching impact.
So why should you, the core audience of VR, care about G2A Land? Well, the truth is that next to big hitters such as EVE: Valkyrie, Edge of Nowhere and Chronos, many consumers probably won’t. But one strength that G2A Land has which many others lack is ambition. G2A Land will be launched as an ongoing proposition – a suite of experiences upon which to build – and with G2A’s considerable commitment o making sure they get it right, you’d be a fool to bet against them doing so.