Go on a spacewalk, relax at a New Years party, enter an arcade-style shoot-em-up, and much more.
Desirium is an Oculus Go/Viveport app that packages 15+ VR experiences into a single portal. Offering a welcome mat to all users of mobile VR, Desirium offers its content in levels of intensity from “Beginner” to “Master”, with entirely different experiences living behind each option.
Last week I had the opportunity to meet with Fibrum, the Moscow-based studio behind Desirium, who let me go hands-on with the different flavors of content available. They also granted me the opportunity to ask a few questions regarding the multifaceted application.
VRScout: What’s the backstory behind Fibrum?
Ilya Flaks (Founder): “My name is Ilya Flaks, and I am the CEO & Founder of Fibrum. My experience in game development accounts for 15 years, with one of my first projects being launched back in high school. With the creation of Fibrum in 2014, I decided to combine all of my experience, love for games and technology into a single point of attraction and enter the market as a full-fledged manufacturer of both hardware and software.”
“We designed a headset, Fibrum Pro, and mobile applications in parallel. By the beginning of 2015, we released 4 apps, and by June 2015 the number of their organic downloads exceeded 3,500,000. Thus, the company became one of the largest developers of mobile VR applications. By 2018, the company released 36 VR applications with a total 21,000,000 of downloads in the AppStore, GooglePlay, Oculus Store, Google DayDream, HTC Viveport, and Pico Store. The most popular apps are: “Roller Coaster”, “Space Stalker”, “Crazy Swing” and “Zombie Shooter VR”.
“The first Desirium concept was invented on January 23, 2017. The idea came when we discussed the problems of VR market with my colleagues. A large strategic session of the company’s managers was held, during which several project ideas were invented. A project that was named “Factory of Emotions” had won but after some discussions, we changed its name to Desirium.”
“Desirium comes from a word, desire, which is our central goal in a nutshell. With Desirium, we wanted to create immersive VR experiences that offer a spectrum, a palette of emotions hardly attainable in the real world. The developing stage had taken over a year, after which we began engaging in adapting it for platforms and testing it on closed focus groups. We demonstrated Desirium at conferences like CES, MWC, VR Days and many others.”
VRScout: How many people currently work on the Desirium team?
Alexander Erdyakov (Business Development Director): “Fibrum is a team of 25 professionals and every single employee is a VR enthusiast with great experience in the industry. It’s absolutely awesome to see the passion from my colleagues every day.”
VRScout: What inspirations did your team draw from when designing Desirium?
Alexey Glebov (Head of Product Development): “Handcrafted worlds are the main idea of our app. In the development stage we took inspiration from the Matrix and Avatar.”
VRScout: Can you give us a rundown of each of the experiences available?
Anton Vinogradov (PR & Marketing Manager): “Right now you can download 16 different experiences”
“Moon: The Dark Side is one of the biggest adventures in Desirium. A spaceship crashes during the Moon landing and you are the only survivor. You need to find out what happened to the settlement that once used to be here. Survivor is the most “game” from our list. Grab your shotgun and cut your way through dozens of zombies. Max VR is an experience that will grant you a nice nostalgic feeling inspired by retro arcade games like Space Invaders.”
“Mr. President is a game where you are president. Start a war, raise the taxes, order a taco and please, don’t touch the red button. Woodmirk House immerses you in an atmosphere of real horror. A mysterious house full of supernatural activities is waiting for thrill seekers. Space Stalker is the best opportunity for you to try yourself as a spaceship pilot in the dim and distant future. Mad Race is dangerous high-speed racing in a post-apocalyptic city. Cannonball will show you what happens if you shoot a man from a huge cannon with a 360 camera on his helmet.”
“Crazy Swing offers a ride in attraction without leaving your house. Reckless Highway gives you an opportunity to become the main target of the high-speed chase. Stay away from cops as long as you can. Candy Hunter is one of our original experiences. Look at the world from bee’s point of view and find the candy cane in office during New Year’s party. The Dolphins is the most relaxing adventure in Desirium, an interactive video from our friends from “The Dolphin Swim Club”. Space Walker is another interactive video that could be described using its name.”
“This video uses some fragments from a movie created by CGF studio. Virry VR is a virtual safari, filmed in 4k VR, at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, the Kenyan home of the most endangered African megafauna. Fasten Seat Belts is a beautiful flight in a plane for all who dare. Temple of the Depth is our Viveport exclusive. You need to escape a pyramid that is full of traps while you find an ancient artifact.”
VRScout: How do you differentiate between the intensity levels of each experience?
Alexey Glebov (Head of Product Development): “After release and some tests, we decided to create 3 different levels that are not “difficulty” as we used to name them in games. Levels are based on the user skills in VR. Beginner is for people who are new to VR, all experiences of that kind are relaxing and don’t need much control from the user. Experienced is for people who really enjoy interactive apps and games but don’t spend too much time in virtual reality. Master is for users who need maximum immersion during gameplay. You need to be familiar with VR controls to use these experiences.”
VRScout: Do you have plans for more experiences in the future?
Anton Vinogradov (PR & Marketing Manager): “Definitely! Our main priority is to create a huge library with experiences available for everyone. We believe that Desirium has great potential as a worldwide service that will constantly give you new emotions. We are looking for teams who are interested in the creation of content for Desirium and our team is working on some absolutely unique experiences too. I can responsibly say – everything is going perfectly!”
VRScout: Do you have plans to port Desirium to other platforms such as PCVR, PSVR or standalones with 6DOF like the Quest?
Alexey Glebov (Head of Product Development): “I can’t reveal everything right now, but I can mention some plans. We are working on Desirium with full use of 6DOF controllers. The updated version will be released on Oculus Quest and devices that support 6DOF. Stay tuned!”
VRScout: Which experiences are getting the most plays so far?
Alexey Glebov (Head of Product Development): “Needless to say, the most popular experience is Moon: The Dark Side because it is included in a starter pack of Desirium and it is my favorite experience so far (except one I can’t mention). Following, Moon: The Dark Side are – Woodmirk House, and Survivor. These experiences are easy to start and they are the best way to try out VR in no time.”
VRScout: Desirium lets you pay for each individual experience you want to try. How does the in-game pricing model work?
Alexander Erdyakov (Business Development Director): “The easiest way to describe pricing is to say – the bigger the complexity of a project, the higher the price is. But it is not always the case, because some projects were created by our partners and price could differ from experience to experience. It will be obvious but interactive videos are cheaper in production than games like Survivor and that’s why some experiences cost more than others.”
VRScout: Do you have other projects in the pipeline that you’d like to talk about?
Alexander Erdyakov (Business Development Director): “We have dozens of plans for 2019. First of all, we are looking for projects that could become a part of Desirium. We plan to expand our library with new experiences and release Desirium on upcoming platforms.”
“Let me place a cliffhanger here: we are working on VR music video in retro wave style. This video will be made to Brandon Howard’s new song – ‘Twilight’. Gorillaz, Fort Minor, and Bjork made their videos in virtual reality but all their videos were recorded on 360 cameras while ours were created in real 3D. The story of ‘Twilight’ is a romantic adventure of a couple in a neon glowing city. Virtual Reality Music Video will be an amazing addition to the constantly growing collection of experiences of Desirium and it will be released very soon!”
While you can download Desirium for free on Oculus Go or Viveport, it only comes with a handful of experiences. Everything else can be purchased with the equivalent of about $20 or less inside of the app.