M+E Daily

HITS Spring: VR Execs Explore What the Metaverse Means IRL

The increasing traction that the metaverse is getting stands to have major implications for the real world — in real life (IRL) — also, according to executives from virtual reality (VR) firms who spoke May 19 at the Hollywood Innovation and Transformation Summit (HITS), during the Metaverse keynote session “What the Metaverse Means IRL.”

The fireside chat took attendees to the front lines of development and experience for the metaverse.

What strategies are companies adopting across the various engagement models for metaverse, augmented reality (AR) or VR projects and how quickly should we be looking to see success?

Elliot Ordower, co-CEO and founder of AR/VR company Well Played Studios, recalled that, in 2015-2016, “there was this huge hype around” AR and VR, and “companies were raising a lot of money.” He was searching for a job in the AR/VR space and couldn’t find one but reconnected with a childhood friend who was working in the sector and they started their own company, he noted.

They created a proof of concept and sought funding but “we got a lot of no’s,” Ordower recalled. Pushing ahead, they released a free-to-play game that was played globally, he said.

Ordower disclosed that he and Sinan AlRubaye, chief experience officer at Los Angeles, California-based software development studio ICVR, are “working closely together on something for someone” in the metaverse space but said it was too soon to provide additional details. “Stay tuned. It’s really big,” AlRubaye told attendees.

Traditional game companies have been challenged when seeking licensing deals with Hollywood studios, according to AlRubaye, adding: “Good luck” on trying to successfully sign such a deal.

“When it comes to IPs, even if you go ask for an IP that’s been sitting on a shelf dead for like 30 years, the moment you go ask for it and you want to make a game of that IP, somehow it becomes like, ‘OK, gives us $2 million cash and then we can talk about it,’” lRubaye said.

He went on to ask Ordower if there will be a time in the future when we will be living inside a virtual world and have a headset on all the time.

“I think you will have an opportunity to,” Ordower replied, predicting: “I do believe that it will be a thing where if you would like that to be your reality, there will be a place where you can do the majority of your learning, your interactions with people, your gaming, your purchases – all that can be in some immersive experience.”

“Technically, it exists today” to some degree, according to lRubaye, who pointed to in-app game purchases and virtual college campuses.

To view the entire presentation, click here.

The Hollywood Innovation and Transformation Summit event was produced by MESA in association with the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), Media & Entertainment Data Center Alliance (MEDCA), presented by ICVR and sponsored by Genpact, MicroStrategy, Whip Media, Convergent Risks, Perforce, Richey May Technology Solutions, Signiant, Softtek, Bluescape, Databricks, KeyCode Media, Metal Toad, Shift, Zendesk, EIDR, Fortinet, Arch Platform Technologies and Amazon Studios.