We are one year further into the VR & AR market, one year wiser on what works and what doesn’t. One year further away from the ”death of VR”? It’s no secret that the industry is still in its infancy, companies are still struggling with revenue, clients are still to some extent looking for the true use-cases for XR in their businesses. But I truly believe 2020 will be the year this will all change. Playstation just announced they have sold over 5 million PSVR headsets. Oculus is shipping Quests – their first standalone headset – as fast as they can produce them. VR & AR were prominently displayed in this year’s CES. Varjo, the Finnish flagship hardware company has been constantly bringing us new jaw-dropping products, this time also in the software space with Varjo Workspace.
This year I believe VR & AR will become regular toolsets in the success of companies – not some gimmicky quirky things the most avant-garde companies employ. A lot of industries have already been adopting different products for collaboration (MeetinVR), training and simulation (Osgenic for surgery, Fictive Reality for soft skills), health and wellbeing (Mimerse for mental health, FlowVR for meditation), education (Grib) or AR overlays (Immersal).
It’s still not going to be a slam dunk for a lot of companies in different sectors. For example mobile AR gaming is still a sector where there are more questions than answers – what value does AR add to the experience, how do you construct the user experience, how do you optimise battery, etc? The answers might be something completely different than Pokemon Go. Still, 5G will maybe be a major enabler for new mobile AR experiences.
Gaming in VR is also not a gimme. Even though there is huge progress on the hardware side, install bases are still somewhat limiting true revenue. But in this sector we have seen several encouraging signs: Beat Saber, developed by an indie studio in the Czech Republic, ranked among Steam’s top sellers in 2019. More recently Boneworks sold over 100 000 units within the first week, grossing over 3 million dollars.
Last year at NXS we tested out a rolling model instead of batches like the first two years. This year we want to change things up a little bit again, based on our experience of these three years: We will take in another batch but remain open to investments throughout the year. This way we get the best from both worlds.
We are going to take in applications to join our program starting right now and the application period will be open until Sunday, the 1st day of March. Teams will be chosen during the first two weeks of March. We’ll hopefully have all investment negotiations done by end of April so that all teams will be able to start working with us starting May. Based on learnings from the previous years, we are going to formalise some of our support and also focus on key areas, which we’ve seen where teams might need a little bit more help and where we can offer expertise. Apply today.
Our new program outline includes three tracks: fundraising, go-to-market and product & marketing. We will work on these topics with the teams throughout the program but also in full-day workshops dedicated to each topic. Obviously content will be tailored to each team’s needs and most pressing challenges. We will tap into our mentor network to help out our teams. This includes people who have raised or invested tens of millions or who have launched successful products. With an even more structured approach, teams will be able to attack with much more focus and preparation their next fundraising round and get the most out of Slush at the end of November.
So if your company is working on exciting products in VR/AR/MR, spatial computing, whatever you want to call it, or even augmented audio, and your company is in the Nordics (including to some extent neighbouring areas), send us your application or just drop us a line to start a dialogue!
– Petri Rajahalme, Managing Director
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Nordic XR Startups is an investor and accelerator program for VR, AR and MR startups companies based in Northern Europe. NXS’s mission is to contribute to and improve the competitiveness of the Nordic XR ecosystem and accelerate the growth of their investment portfolio companies. For investment and support, the application period is currently open, so apply today.
About NXS owners, gumi Inc.
Founded in 2007, gumi Inc. (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 3903) is a leading global mobile game publisher and developer headquartered in Japan, with overseas operations in France, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States. The company has proven success in launching titles worldwide, such as the widely popular role-playing games Brave Frontier and Phantom of the Kill. With ongoing publishing and development projects on various platforms, including iOS, Android, and more, gumi aims to change the world through innovative entertainment products and services, including both original content and collaborations with popular IP. For more information, please visit gu3.co.jp/en.
About NXS owners, Nordisk Film
Founded in 1906, Nordisk Film is the leading producer and distributor of films in the Nordic countries and operates the largest cinema chains in Denmark and Norway. Nordisk Film has digital businesses within gift cards, ticketing services, computer games development and eSports and is the distributor of PlayStation in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Nordisk Film is part of Egmont – Denmark’s largest media group with 6,200 employees and activities in 30 countries. These include Egmont Publishing, which publishes more than 700 magazines, TV 2 in Norway and several book publishers. Egmont is a commercial foundation that generates revenue amounting to EUR 1.6 billion and donate more than EUR 13 million a year to help improve the lives of children and young people. For more information, please visit nordiskfilm.com.