Virtual reality gaming
Fuller is also designing games for XIST, an offshoot company of Immersive Studios that focuses on multiplayer free-roam games in VR, alongside other Immersive staffers. Players can move around a large-scale space – for example, 13x6 metres for the action adventure game Primal Reign – and see each other represented by digital avatars, with the technology tracking their positions and even hand movements. XIST VR has also collaborated with Barclays, participating in the Game Technology Frenzy event held in Canary Wharf, London in January.
XIST plans to launch with a gaming focus, targeting locations like VR arcades, leisure centres and shopping centres, with support from the same private investor that gave Immersive Studios start-up capital. However, Martin also has ambitions for collaborative VR training simulations that would be developed for sectors like the oil and gas industry, firefighters and the military.
Martin and Fuller are particularly excited about XIST, the latest iteration of which Martin aims to launch in about a month. It represents a chance to work on their own IP and products, rather than solely relying on contracted work. Martin even has esports ambitions for one of their in-development games. Fuller described it as a team-based game with a futuristic setting, where players pass a ball around to score goals whilst shooting each other to fight for possession.
Looking forward, Martin is keen to maintain the quality of work being done by Immersive Studios.
“We’ve had challenging times,” he says. “It hasn’t always been upward growth the whole time. Financially, there’s been some difficult periods.”
He points to their first quarter of last year, October to December, as one such period for the company. The studio has also had to adapt to working from home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, they’ve been “busier over the last few months than we’ve ever been historically at this time of year.”
“So many organisations have had to look at ways to adapt. How can they change what they’re doing or what they would normally do physically?” Martin says, pointing to the events industry in particular. “We’re delivering tools to them that are enabling them to continue – it’s not like we’re benefiting from the situation as such, it’s more we’re helping other companies to grow and survive.”
Although we’re all hoping for an end to the pandemic, Martin already has his eye on a bright future, particularly with XIST.
“If we could spend all day every day building video games as a company then sure, that’s definitely what we would do. That’s where XIST comes in... If we can sell enough systems, that will create enough recurring revenue to support the team just making the content for the systems and that’s where I’d love to get to with it. You’re building stuff for fun then.”