Climbing Planet was the Spanish company in charge of exporting the VR adventure project from Zero Latency.
It was the year 2013 and a simple crowdfunding campaign in Pozible opened the way for a promising future. Few are the calls to overcome the requests of funds in campaigns of this type, but the subject was sufficiently showy like attracting the public. Almost 30,000 dollars, on the 25,000 initial orders, to create a universe of VR games capable of convincing an audience that had been let down repeatedly by this technology; Months later financing rounds would arrive attracted by the team proposal. But even in those years, there was not much hope for a game system that had all the signs of not being massive.
Tim Ruse, Scott Vandonkelaar, Hunter Mayne, James De Colling, Kyel Smith and Danny Armstrong were the initial team of Zero Latency, a small but ambitious bet on VR games on the distant shores of Australia.
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Trip to Australia
There has been talk of exclusive in Europe, but the reality is that they have a contract of preference when facing new markets
The story of Zero Latency would have been stuck in Melbourne if not for a group of Spanish entrepreneurs. Climbing Planet, an Asturian company of alternative leisure, was looking for something that was different and that included an important technological part. Nothing proposed in Europe convinced the entrepreneurs, until the story of Zero Latency came to their hands. Problem: there was only one centre on the other side of the world and, to start any business, we would have to try it. A path that began in 2016 and has now earned more than 35,000 visitors to the centre of Madrid, making it the fifth in the world ranking of brand gaming centres.
However, Alberto Marcos of Climbing Planet explains, “the moment to speak with the founders was a leap into the void in every rule”. Remember that, at that time, there was only one game centre, a situation very different from the current one in which 2 or 3 a month are opened in various parts of the world. You had to convince the Australian team.
“I had to convince each other, I was surprised to see how reticent they were about Spain, it hurts a little, there is a very big ignorance beyond Australia and the United States that stays in the media information. very surprised of the result “.
And, although it seems easy, the reality is that the process lasted for months, but finally, Climbing Planet managed to bring the VR game to Madrid under a very advantageous agreement for the company: “It has been talked about exclusively, but it is not faithful to the What the company does have is preference when it comes to implementing the service “, Alberto explains, meaning that if there is an interesting market in Europe, the Asturian company would have preference. What explains the new centre in Lisbon and those that are to come in France, the United Kingdom or Switzerland.
The million euros for a very expensive business
With own resources and an investment close to one million euros. That was the result of bringing the project to the capital. The migration to Lisbon has exceeded two million euros, also from own resources. Now, the company plans to bring some strategic partner that provides funding to continue growing.
The control of the technical part of Zero Latency will always be in the hands of the Australian team, very jealous of any interference in their team
With the Oculus system at first, Zero Latency had to reinvent itself using OSVR. The VR goggle company, the most popular at that time, did not have the professional market in its plans. If Zero Latency ordered 50 units, Oculus could only serve 2 or 3 as much. It was then bet on a less known version, but that it did comply with the orders. The team completes a backpack with a computer and Dell servers. Through cameras installed in the game centre the image is sent to the servers, it is for the backpacks via Wi-Fi and, from this point, to the glasses. All with the lowest possible latency and aimed at players between 25 and 45 years. A profile very different from the initial, which was designed for millennials. With fewer barriers of learning and a barrier to entry that is the price of the game, the reality is that, now, the universe of habitual players has not yet been conquered. According to Alberto, perhaps “they look for more complex contents and are not willing to leave their comfort zone”.
What if there are changes in the system? Any possible modification would have an expensive price. In this case, Alberto confirms, “the change is assumed by some or by others depending on the circumstances, sometimes they go to 50% and others are spoken who must pay the modification”. Because if something has been made clear is that the control of the system is and will always be in the hands of the Australian team. Not so much at the operations level, that they leave power in the delegations of each country, but in the technical part.
It is not something that will change either in the short term or in the long term. Explains Alberto that, understanding that it is his creation, it is understandable that they are jealous with the ownership of it. Now, the games or experiences leave the Melbourne team; they are not clear that, at some advanced stage of the business, they allow experiences created by teams from each country to be introduced. For Zero Latency, control is essential. With zombie games in its different manifestations or shooters in which the player vs player will soon be included, the only advance that has been able to see is the entrance of content developers like Sega to allow to create much more faster material.
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