11 companies doing awesome things in virtual reality

From hug suits to Strictly

There are some seriously exciting things happening in the world of virtual reality right now. It’s not just the release dates of the physical headsets finally being announced, it’s all the other hardware and software that’s springing up around them. Gadgette recently hosted a VR event with Virtual Umbrella called VR The Future – the night was a great success (over 100 of you came!) but it wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing experiences our exhibitors were able to offer. If you couldn’t be there, or you’d like a little more detail on the companies you saw, we’ve got all the info on these 11 tremendously exciting companies.

11) Rewind

Rewind is a London-based VR production company that is “combining cutting edge technology with strategic thinking to create immersive virtual, physical and digital narratives.” Rewind “take pride in [their] dynamic and diverse team of visual artists, technologists, programmers and production staff” – and so they should. The company have worked with some amazing brands including Nissan, Red Bull, Microsoft and IKEA, and most recently created 360-degree immersive experiences for Strictly Come Dancing. Take a look:

Coatsink is a passionate and talented indie team working on games for PC, VR, console and mobile. Since Tom Beardsmore and Paul Crabb established the company in 2009, Coatsink has become a very recognisable face in the independent developer community, the growing VR industry, and the apps market. Currently, they’re working on some original projects for release on PC, Oculus Rift/Samsung Gear VR, and consoles, while also doing work-for-hire for a couple of international studios.

9) Psytec Games – Crystal Rift

Psytec Games are bringing something really exciting to VR gaming with Crystal Rift. Crystal Rift is a grid-based dungeon crawler that’s played in the first person perspective. An experimental horror challenge game that takes the player through a series of increasingly mysterious locations, it includes full virtual reality support. On the night of the event, Crystal Rift was shown on the HTC Vive, which has only recently been given its official release date.

8) VRgo

The VRgo chair is the most intuitive and consumer friendly hands-free movement controller for virtual reality. It’s kind of a giant joystick, combining simple responsive control with flawless design enabling you to unlock deeper levels of immersion by bringing your reality and virtual reality closer together. Basically, you sit on the VRgo chair and steer yourself through the VR experience by physically moving and tilting – it takes a little getting used to, but it’s ridiculously fun.

7) Xiotex Studios – Caretaker

Xiotex Studies is a game development company started in 2007. Byron, the owner, has worked for Lionhead Studios, EA Canada, Sega Sports Interactive, Introversion and a whole lot more. It’s an impressive CV! Xiotex brought their exciting new game Caretaker with them to VR The Future so we could have a try ourselves. Caretaker is an adventure game set at the end of everything, starring Stargate Atlantis’s David Hewlett. It’ll be coming out in Q1 2016 on PC, Mac and Oculus Rift.

6) Pixel Ripped

Created by Ana Ribeiro and Stef Keegan, Pixel Ripped is a “Madcap, retro homage to gaming history.” A game within a game, “Pixel Ripped is original, fun and packed full of surprises that will keep you guessing along the way. From the floor of 1970’s living room where you will be playing the first home gaming console, all the way up to the turn of the millennium. You’ll be treated to 2D sprites of the 70s to the bright and colourful 3D graphics of the 90’s. Pixel Ripped truly is a nostalgic and mad trip down memory lane.”

Pixel Ripped 1989 will be released on Oculus Rift in early 2016, and other platforms soon after.

5) Climax Studios

Climax Studios is an independent games developer where every designer, artist and coder shares the same goals: to embrace the latest technology, and to deliver games that are immersive, engaging, and fun. Climax have worked hard to achieve this with the release of Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China and their virtual reality games, Bandit Six and Bandit Six Salvo.

Bandit Six was one of the first titles available on the Samsung Gear VR and is currently the top selling game on the platform. It’s a great mix of arcade gameplay and brand new technology that transports you into a Lancaster bomber as you shoot down wave after wave of enemies. Its sequel, Bandit Six Salvo, was just released last month.

4) 4pm Games – Negotiator

With an extensive background in film & TV cinematography, Bojan Brbora made the leap into independent videogame development 3 years ago and has since released the award winning ‘4PM’ for PC on Steam, as well as the much talked about sleuth ’em up ‘Criminel’ for iOS which was featured as a best new app on Apple’s App Store.

Bojan is currently working on a new title for virtual reality on Oculus Rift titled ‘Negotiator’. The new game is a tense thriller in which the player becomes a terrorist negotiator in the 70s and 80s. Bojan and his team aim to blend branching narrative and strategy elements to create a new kind of game experience, one specifically tailored for VR.

3) CCP – Eve Gunjack

CCP is a leading independent game developer that has been praised for its artistry, game design, and unique, player-driven, infinitely scalable narratives. CCP is the creator of the critically acclaimed science-fiction game EVE online for PC and Mac as well as DUST 514, a groundbreaking, free-to-play, massively multiplayer online first-person shooter for the PlayStation 3. Their VR offering is Gunjack, a virtual reality action game for the Samsung Gear VR, and it is awesome.

2) Tesla Studios – Tesla Suit

Tesla Studios brought along their amazing Tesla Suit to our event. This virtual reality suit is designed to be the connection between the real world and our virtual reality avatars. Tesla Studios say “the idea is to use both environments to achieve the maximum results” – in other words, when someone hugs you in VR, the suit lets you feel it in real life. The suit is a multi-modular system that includes an E-haptic Module, a motion capture module and even a climate control module for maximum customisation.

1) The Soluis Group

Virtual & Augmented Reality from Soluis Group on Vimeo.

Soluis do some ridiculously cool things in both virtual and augmented reality. From AR business cards to virtual building tours, they offer something a little different to all the gaming-focussed applications of VR. Working across media including games controllers, smartphones, tablets, multi-touch surfaces, ‘fulldome’ installations and 3D motion control, they make some of the coolest and most exciting new applications of AR and VR for business.

Main Image by Jon Devo