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Insights: Case Studies

How an Indie VR Developer Raised over 500k – And What You Can Learn from It

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Cooperative Innovations | XR Studio | Cooperative Innovations

21 Jun 2019 | 3 min read

Our Business Philosophy: 

We share a belief that immersive technology is the future of work, entertainment and life. Having previously dabbled in virtual reality in the early 1990s our founders, Brian & Simon, also produced several AR games for the PS Vita. When the first of the new generation of VR headsets hit the market Brian and Simon knew this was the direction they wanted to go in with their work. They immediately saw both the potential of what the new hardware brought to the consumer market as well as how their experience in game development would have a positive impact.

We believe people are the multiplier for any technology, and so over the past few years we have focussed our work on educating and empower creators, technologists and consumers to create positive shared, social VR/AR spaces. In order to achieve these aims, we launched Cooperative Innovations in 2016, with an ongoing commitment to establishing best practices in VR/AR development through extensive R&D, the creation of industry-leading tools and technology, and training and knowledge-sharing.

Reinventing the MMORPG with Raiders of Erda 

On the game development side, we’ve been developing the VR Fantasy RPG, Raiders of Erda, which takes the widely successful and innovative genre of MMORPG and reimagines it in social VR. We believe that VR is the perfect medium for a fantasy RPG, the level of immersion that is unique to VR allows for a whole new way to empathise with characters and become enthralled in an imaginative world with rich lore. With Raiders of Erda, we want to encourage players to team up with friends and experience this world together.

Social VR as a sub-genre is characterised by a sense of innovation and experimentation, in the last few years we’ve seen applications like AltspaceVR and Rec Room really capture the VR community’s imagination, and we hope to tap into these audiences and offer a distinct and fresh experience with Raiders of Erda.

Raiders of Erda gameplay

Creating the Right Kind of Work Culture 

As content producers we know how hard it can be to raise funding. In order to develop any form of creative content you need to make sure you have the funding in place (or additional sources of income), whether that’s by giving away equity, investing time in loan applications, or spending time trying to find the balance between work for hire and your own creative endeavours. We do all of this to support something that may or may not be commercially viable, based entirely on the tastes of your potential audience and the availability, range, and quality of other choices in the market. There are no guarantees to success and that fact is compounded by the rapid development of HMD’s.

We place a huge amount of value in the work-life balance of our team and it’s important that all game developers try to create a comfortable and creative working culture. We hate the idea of making people work late to hit deadlines (often referred to in the games industry as “crunch”), and we understand that tired and stressed-out employees just don’t make exceptional, wonderful or delightful work.

As a result, our approach is to develop tools and best practices in order to reduce the chances of overspending, overworking and under delivering. All our work is underpinned by continuing R&D to develop technologies that assist with our ongoing work-for-hire projects as well as working on our own IP. Our goal is to establish best practice in this relatively young field and to make tools for the industry and ourselves to use to relieve these pressures.  

What’s next for Cooperative Innovations? 

In order to really focus on the goal of supporting our workforce and the industry as a whole, we decided that we needed substantial investment to take away the pressure on finding income and have recently closed a seed funding round of over £500k. We’re heading in to this year with a growing team, two games in development, and the start of a licensing programme to share our tools suite to other developers.

We hold it in good faith that the immersive industry is heading towards a tipping point. New hardware on the horizon will see a step change in consumer behaviour, and in the meantime we will keep investing in R&D to keep ourselves and our customers ahead of the curve.

About the author:

Cooperative Innovations have a core belief that immersive technology is the future of entertainment, work and life. Cooperative innovations have a passion for removing the barriers to creating compelling, immersive experiences for all to enjoy. They also believe that people are the multiplier for any technology, so their work is focussed on educating and empowering creators, technologists and consumers to create shared, social VR/AR spaces.

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