The UK’s eight immersive studios to watchPosted 17 Aug 2022
The UK’s eight immersive studios to watch
Digital Catapult has selected eight immersive studios to develop and pitch game-changing immersive experiences that will help demonstrate Niantic’s vision for what is possible in the real-world metaverse.
The selected immersive studios will take part in pitching days later this summer to secure a place in the Augmented Reality Accelerator programme powered by Niantic Lightship. Three immersive studios will be selected as finalists to create groundbreaking AR experiences for global children’s brand Cartoon Network, internationally renowned choreographer Wayne McGregor, and augmented reality (AR) trailblazer Niantic Labs.
The finalists will create a demonstrator of a socially engaging AR experience using Niantic’s Lightship Augmented Reality Developer Kit (ARDK) and be awarded up to £100,000 for development. Lightship ARDK lowers the barrier to entry for developers to create AR experiences that inspire movement, exploration, and shared experiences.
The selected immersive studios are:
No Ghost is a creative animation studio that specialises in immersive media. They work with the latest game engine technology to create custom apps through the medium of AR & VR – delivering narratives and interactive experiences to a digital audience. Their VR adventure Madrid Noir, which features a meticulously detailed re-imagining of Spain’s capital, was part of the Official Selection for the Tribeca Film Festival in 2021 and was featured in the Cannes XR Marché du Film. Madrid Noir was also part of Digital Catapult and Arts Council England’s CreativeXR 2019 cohort.
Megaverse is an interactive studio that draws upon theatre, film, gaming and the visual arts, pushing the creative potential of the latest XR technologies (augmented, virtual and mixed realities). They find new ways to combine XR technologies with movement, interactivity and, crucially, storytelling to blend the boundaries of reality in novel ways.
Megaverse’s game ‘Arctic Escape’, one of the first to use AR in a clinical setting, and won the ‘Best App Design’ at The Design Week Awards 2020. Arctic Escape is an augmented reality game designed for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital transforming the hospital into a virtual environment of the Arctic world, distracting patients to reduce stress and anxiety around treatments.
BetaJester is an immersive experiences studio specialising in building games for console, mobile, virtual reality, and augmented reality. Working with visionaries from all sectors, their team of accomplished creatives are experts in realising otherworldly experiences. From prototyping to game design, they strive to develop content that is always bigger and better than previously imagined possible.
Their recent work includes creating content for the wildly successful console game ‘Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield’, exploring Britain’s past with their own VR comedy-horror title ‘The Burning Room’, and combining modern technology with archaeological evidence to explore Hull in the 1600s with ‘By the Rising Tide of the Humber’.
Neurotech is a startup that brings solutions from engineering and high-tech industries to the fields of education and medicine. They develop augmented and mixed reality games for children aged 7-10 years old.
Neurotech has two flagship products: TalkbackVR, a VR educational tool for the classroom and home aimed at improving literacy and SeeForMyself, a multi-platform app encompassing mobile devices and VR headsets, to help neurodiverse students access careers information, find a career they enjoy and experience a taste of that career in VR. Both of these products were designed for and in collaboration with neurodiverse students and are now in use in schools in the UK
Mobile Pie is an award-winning games studio, focusing on games and entertainment for younger audiences. They work with entertainment clients and broadcasters such as Aardman Animations, P2 Games, CBeebies, CBBC and Cartoon Network, creating titles that have entertained and educated millions of children around the world. Recent projects have included titles for BBC Bitesize, including the TIGA award-winning History Detectives, Ben 10: Super Hero Time on Roblox for Cartoon Network, as well as Horrid Henry’s Krazy Karts on the Nintendo Switch with P2 Games and Novel Entertainment.
Echobubbles, was founded in 2021 in response to Covid’s shock to the physical experiences and events industry. They build online, bespoke worlds which don’t cost the earth. Echobubbles’ vision is to create interactive and immersive experiences for individuals and companies who want to explore, play, socialise and learn. The company is currently supported by Cambridge Judge Business School, as a registered social venture committed to lowering carbon emissions through its productions.
Arcade is a leading immersive experience agency that uses augmented reality to create more meaningful connections between people and the world around us.
They have produced award-winning, three-dimensional storytelling for some of the world’s leading brands, and arts & culture institutions, including The National Gallery, Sky, Disney, ECB, and UK Parliament. Arcade uses technologies and platforms including computer vision, deep neural net machine learning, image and object recognition, Niantic Lightship, ARKit, ARCore, WebAR, Lens Studio, Unity, Unreal and to deliver their world-class immersive experiences. Arcade previously worked with Digital Catapult and the MUNCH museum in Oslo to create a prototype AR crowd-sourced immersive experience inspired by Norway’s greatest artist, Edvard Munch, and his approach to art, to inspire children to get creative.
Peel Interactive is an award-winning XR studio. They bring the real and the virtual worlds together to seamlessly deliver unforgettable immersive experiences across tourism, retail, education, culture and the arts.
Over the past decade, Peel Interactive has grown into a visionary team at the forefront of digital storytelling. Their diverse portfolio of work has achieved such accolades as Visit England’s ‘Best Told Story’ Award, and includes groundbreaking projects like Uist Unearthed- the first AR trail app to deliver archaeological storytelling- which was recently featured in the British Museum.
Niantic and Digital Catapult will provide the immersive studios with technical support to develop new cutting-edge AR applications that encourage greater human connection throughout the AR accelerator program. The three selected immersive studios will be demonstrating their final concepts at a showcase in early 2023.
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