While tech giants pour billions of dollars into virtual reality technology, one startup company is seeking to create content that can close the gap between tech giants and startups. Wevr, a company based out of Venice, CA, is seeking to create what they call the “YouTube of virtual reality” and has received $25 million in funding from investors. The product, called Transport, is an online virtual reality content network where content creators can submit their virtual reality environments for people to experience. The project is currently in private beta, and there will be both free and paid content. Anyone using a virtual reality headset such as Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vibe, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, can access the network.
“Transport is purpose-built to extend and embrace VR creative’s aspirations with software solutions, enabling them to create, produce, distribute and grow audiences on all headsets worldwide,” said Neville Spiteri, co-founder and CEO of Wevr. Wevr is also reaching out to filmmakers through a $1 million virtual reality fund. Several Wevr Transport projects were selected for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier exhibit: Waves, Irrational Exuberance, Hard World for Small Things and theBlue: Encounter (developed in partnership with Valve for the HTC Vive). This year, Sundance had 30 virtual reality experiences, more than double what they had in 2015, when they had only 12.
Wevr Transport also intends to bring virtual reality experiences to other film festivals. “Through our collaboration with startup KaleidoscopeVR we discovered Tyler Hurd (known for his viral VR hit Butts) and partnered with him on a new interactive experience that will be showcased at Tribeca Film Festival,” Spiteri also said. Spiteri also discussed bringing other artists to the platform. “Other artists coming to Transport include Phil Tippett (Academy Award winner best known for stop-motion animation work) and hip-hop band Run The Jewels’ (rappers Killer Mike and El-P) debut VR work, VRTJ,” Spiteri told Fortune.
The film industry could seek to carve their own place in the market by the end of the decade. A study from research firm Tractica said that 200 million consumer VR headsets will be sold by 2020, and that the consumer VR hardware market and revenue generated from content could grow at a staggering 142 percent, from $108.8 million in 2014 to $21.8 billion in 2020. “The VR market has gained a niche following in hardcore gamers, according to the study. We expect adoption to be limited to a relatively small group of hardcore gamers—essentially the same segment that has traditionally purchased gaming PCs,” said Clint Wheelock, founder and managing director of Tractica.
Wheelock said that consumer purchases would take off by 2017, citing more choices for consumers as the reason. “Most consumers will wait until 2017 and beyond before making a purchase, by which time they will have more competing options to consider.” He also noted that VR headsets, or head-mounted displays (HMDs), will also be projected to drop in price, which could lead to the 142% surge. Wevr is also working with Hollywood studios like Lionsgate, Adult Swim and Skybound Entertainment on developing their own VR projects. Bringing the big screen to VR headsets may become reality sooner than you think.