Betting on location-based VR.
As both location-based and cinematic VR continue to expand in a number of directions, with new cutting-edge arcades popping up almost everyday, we’re also seeing some of the more established players in the immersive entertainment space collaborating with one another as they figure out how best to scale and monetize this growing sector.
Secret Location was founded in Toronto in 2009 as a services company, but has since pivoted into content production. In 2015 its Sleepy Hollow production was one of the first VR experiences to win an Emmy for its accomplishments in “User Experience and Visual Design”. In 2016 the company was acquired by Entertainment One (eOne), a Canadian multinational media company featuring a movie library valued at over $1.7 billion, and under that umbrella continued to explore the intersection between tech and traditional storytelling.
The partnership is specifically targeted at location-based venues and will integrate Secret Location’s Vusr technology with mk2’s recently launched VR Pods. Vusr is their internally developed cloud-based content management system that streamlines the various challenging logistics involved in delivering immersive experiences.
Mk2 has a strong background in managing traditional cinema venues, producing over 100 award-winning movies and operating over 26 theaters in Europe. Their VR Pods – plug-and-play solution for professionals – were first unveiled at this years South by SXSW festival, and have since sold around 100 units across the world since March. Current partners include public institutions, such as the National Public Library of France and the Film Fund in Luxembourg, leaders in the movie theater industry, including Nordisk in Scandinavia, as well as Brazil (Arvore) and Asia.
Vusr Venue lets location-based VR entertainment providers manage their content and experiences through a centralized dashboard. The advantage is that by streamlining the process and being able to quickly respond to changing consumer needs during a play session, the provider can improve the overall quality of the experience. Operators are able to manage live sessions, view station-operating statuses, download and install new software, and troubleshoot hardware components and software.
Elisha Karmitz, mk2’s CEO, believes Vusr Venue will give their operators simpler and much more efficient methods for managing the complex back-end components of VR LBEs and will help make mk2’s VR Pods easier to use at scale. “Mk2 has long been searching for an easy-to-use content management tool to power our VR Pods. Secret Location’s Vusr Venue is providing exactly what our global customers need, and more.”
The VR Pods come loaded with over 50 curated VR experiences provided by mk2, and with the integration of Secret Location’s Vusr Venue, it now hopes to develop a worldwide VR distribution network, including collaborating with such prominent studios as Atlas V, Chris Milk’s WITHIN, SUPERHOT Team, and Felix & Paul to showcase their latest content on their continuously updated catalogue.
In the New Year, mk2 plans to invest on increasing its footprint in the location-based VR market, not only by opening new LBE VR venues, but also by investing heavily in content production and distribution, as well as opening a communication agency dedicated to VR.
Image Credit: Vusr Media / mk2