Are we ever going to see that killer app for VR? Is the world Mark Zuckerberg envisioned when he decided to purchase Oculus for over $2BN ever going to come to life? Many are wanting that experience that naturally brings humans together in a virtual space that transcends reality and allows for deep connections never before possible. Taking it even further, seeing visions similar to that of what was painted for us in the book and upcoming Spielberg film Ready Player One where geographic distance is bridged, enhanced audio/visual stimuli are pervasive and superhuman powers are a reality. I personally invested in Oculus a few years ago as I was excited to see this all come to life. Virtual Reality is far more than gaming and rather a medium that brings people together in environments not possible on earth.
Today, I am excited to announce our latest investment in TheWaveVR which is a step towards bringing this vision to life.
What is the Wave? It is an experience that allows audience members to connect around a natural social glue — music. Step into a fully computer generated environment where you can meet new people and hang out with friends all while a major DJ puts on a full set comprised of a fully integrated audio/visual experience. Everything around you is fully audio reactive allowing a never before possible deep connection with the DJ while also with those audience members around you. An additional social layer of bite-sized VR experiences, that can be earned or purchased, are added into the mix, where to consume you are required to do them with someone else. I am a music enthusiast and still enjoy the occasional club night out. Hopping into the Wave for the first time partially simulated this experience but in a unique elevated way. All I can tell you is seeing is believing and I encourage you to try the open beta now available on Steam.
Some of the current issues with VR include lack of content, poor retention and short session time. To move past being a novelty, the company has laid the groundwork to be a true platform built off of an ecosystem of content from creators and users. Partnering with talented 3d artists and designers, many of the bite-sized experiences and mini-games will be created by the community. Additionally, participants soon will be able to DJ their own sets and invite people to private parties. The platform will also connect physical events to the virtual space partnering with major festivals and venues allowing people at home the ability to feel like they are experiencing a party in Ibiza where proprietary capture tools will real-time pipe the experience into the virtual venue. This is not a simple recreation of a real world event in a flat 360 video; it’s taking real life and turning it into something new and special.
At Upfront, we are constantly searching for world changing experiences built by passionate and capable entrepreneurs. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Adam Arrigo, Aaron Lemke and the rest of the Wave team over the past year and have been impressed by their ability to execute and pioneer what I truly believe will be a new way to experience music and connect with one another.
The road to VR becoming mainstream will be a long one. However, it is my fundamental belief that we will need creators delivering groundbreaking experiences that take an entirely new angle on some existing human behavior making it better and unique. I hope to see you in the Wave!