VREAL Makes Livestreaming Games A (Virtual) Reality
Playing games should not be confined in one’s own space. With VREAL, a VR startup specializing in video game livestreaming, games could be a means to connect and socialize with others in a virtual setting. Developed exclusively for virtual reality hardware platforms such as the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, and the HTC Vive, the livestreaming service will allow users to create avatars, connect with friends socially, and stream video games.
According to Todd Hooper, founder and CEO of VREAL, gaming and entertainment has gone into a trend that there are more people watching games on livestreaming sites such as YouTube and Twitch than people who are actually playing them. He adds that this trend will go on into the future of virtual reality, as VR is rising to become a mainstream avenue for general entertainment.
Hooper says his startup has spent the past year investing in the technology that will allow developers using Unity or Unreal Engine technology to seamlessly render their VR-optimized game titles across all platforms. The difference is that viewers will be right next to their favorite streamers inside the game worlds, which Hooper says opens up a more personal social interaction.
Hooper met with over 50 game studios at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last March to integrate this technology into upcoming releases. He says the first games to feature VREAL integration will be announced next month at the E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles.
Hooper believes eSports will be huge for virtual reality, opening up more audience engagement and allowing fans to actually be at big tournaments and events—or inside of the video game worlds.
VREAL is currently committed to both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive; however, the company is tied with Sony and will be adding PlayStation VR to its offerings in the future. Users will also be able to watch virtual reality streams across mobile VR devices through cloud rendering technology, and even traditional 2D PC screens. But they will not be able to enter these streams with an avatar for the full experience that PC and PlayStation 4 devices offer.
VREAL has now raised over $3.3 million from various investment firms, fueling their development and marketing efforts.