Developers Look To Make Helsinki the Virtual Capital of the World

Finland-based VR studio Zoan is co-ordinating the creation of a virtual recreation of Helsinki.

A group of developers will soon be arriving in Helsinki with the intention of creating a virtual city experience in co-operation with virtual reality (VR) studio Zoan.

The results of the project, called ‘Virtual Capital of the World’ is planned to be revealed at the start-up and technology event Slush in December, 2018. The final product will be showcased on a VR headset manufactured by Helsinki-based VR company Varjo.

The initial concept for the project was developed by VR studio Zoan, which will also be administering the work of the development team. Several videogame developers and publishers, including Ubisoft and Supermassive Games are sending representatives to get involved in the project, aiming to fine-tune the virtual experience and ensure it is as realistic as possible.

“Our goal is to come up with the world’s most realistic VR experience. The soundscape and the visual quality are important factors in reaching a realistic mood, when the reference point consists of existing environments. The latter is emphasised, as Varjo’s VR headset offers an exceptionally high resolution. Only a skilled 3D artist is able to make, for example, realistic water or a wooden surface”, says Zoan CEO and founder Miikka Rosendahl about the reasons for the visit of the international top developers.

The plan is for the virtual Helsinki to be made available in 2019 worldwide, as a location-based VR experience in public spaces and arcades as well as VR stores for VR headsets.

“Helsinki wants to be the city in the world that best capitalises on digitalisation and the city is already a significant centre for startup culture and AR/VR development. At its best, digitalisation is increasingly successful services for the citizens and a better Helsinki experience for tourists. A virtual experience representing top quality is a good example of how Helsinki can be sensed in a new way”, says Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.

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