Can an Infinity Ward Co-Founder Succeed in Social VR?

After shipping 7 Call of Duty titles, Chance Glasco is turning to VR social spaces.

Infinity Ward is home to some of the biggest selling videogames of all time. Having birthed the Call of Duty franchise, which after more than a decade of annual releases is still topping the charts every holiday season, Chance Glasco suffered ‘videogame burn out’ after his seventh edition in the industry-leading series. After taking some time to decide what was next, Glasco has turned his attention to virtual reality (VR).

Call of Duty: Ghosts key artPerhaps inspired by Infinity Ward co-workers James Chung and Pete Blumel, now heading-up World War Toons developer Studio Roqovan and Crowe: The Drowned Armory’s The Rogue Initiative, respectfully, Glasco is now invested in a new VR platform: Rumii. Now, alongside Elbert Perez, a college friend, Glasco has founded Doghead Simulations with the aim of reinventing virtual meeting spaces.

Despite the proliferation of social environments within VR – the likes of vTime, Big Screen, Facebook Spaces and the recently closed and then re-opened AltSpace VR t to name just a few – most organisations still use video services to conduct long-distance conversations. Glasco is confident that Doghead Simulations can create an application that will change that, but is cautious by suggesting that most people simply don’t know that technology currently exists; and even if they did, would not necessarily adopt it without experiencing it first.

In an interview with Forbes, Glasco offers a famous quote from Henry Ford in reference to using VR for a long-distance meeting: ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.’

“Instead of making the horse faster, we are trying to bring you something totally different. Something that’s better than a horse,” Glasco said. “Say you’re an architect in New York and you have a client in London. You could import a CAD file and walk through the house that you’re working on. So you’ll get that sense of scale, especially for things like engineering, that isn’t captured very well just by using video technology.”

Rumii screenshotDoghead Simulations consists of 17 developers working across three different continents. Within this arrangement, the studio is perfectly positioned to address the challenges that long-distance communication in VR faces as they experience them themselves.

“I think one of the biggest issues is that you’ve got a lot of people who work together who don’t feel like they’ve been together. So using the power of social presence, we’re a lot closer,” said Glasco. “The thing with Rumii is you really feel like you’re with other people, your brain just buys into that sense of team, and collaboration is a lot stronger than using video.”

Akin to the likes of AltSpace VR, Rumii will allow for businesses to customise their own virtual spaces. From social feeds to stock tickers, interactive walls in meetings rooms and shared desktops, Rumii will offer a full suite of tools designed to get the job done. But those already familiar with VR have heard all of this before; what does Rumii do that’s different?

Doghead Simulations are preparing for the future of VR technology rather than what’s immediately in front of the team. Suggesting technology such as eye-tracking and depth-sensing cameras will be comfortably incorporated into Rumii in time, Glasco is confident that the experience will be superior to a common teleconference.

“Something like 67% of people doing teleconferencing are actually doing something else, like writing an email or playing a game on their phone. But with VR, you’re closed off to the world around you for that meeting – there’s nothing to distract you from outside that meeting,” said Glasco.

Rumii screenshotRumii has been designed to run on multiple head-mounted displays (HMDs) and operating systems, and has an application process already in place for a beta testing phase. No release date or pricing strategy has yet been announced for Rumii, but you can find out more at the official Doghead Simulations website and VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest from the studio.

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