Virtual reality should become an attractive ecosystem for funders and developers

Building an ecosystem that can sustain a production chain and generate return on investment will be key to the future of virtual reality content development in Taiwan, says HTC, a technology giant based on the self-governing island.

Liu Szu-Ming, president of HTC Vive Originals, said reaching a global network of VR content co-producers, investors and distributors will be the next important step in improving production and further expanding Taiwan’s international VR content market. .

“HTC has strived to drive hardware development while building a virtual reality ecosystem in Taiwan. Once we have a healthy ecosystem, we will be able to attract more developers and players to complete the VR production chain, ”Liu said. Variety.

With seven works presented at this week’s Venice Film Festival, Taiwan is demonstrating its potential for VR content development.

Five Taiwanese productions backed by the Taiwan Creative Content Agency have been shortlisted to compete in the VR Expansion section of Venice, a record success for the agency established under the Yuan Executive and the Ministry of Culture. Two more works from Kaohsiung VR Film Lab have also been selected for the Best of VR section of the Out of Competition section and the Special Project of the Out of Competition category of the official section.

“The Sick Rose,” a stop-motion animated short film with traditional pasta figurines produced by HTC Vive Originals, plays out in one of the competition’s slots. Liu said the company has been trying to drive its development in both hardware and software. Its latest offering, shot in 8K S3D macro photography, is a declarative piece on what the tech giant is striving to achieve.

While HTC Vive Originals produces virtual reality content that has gained international recognition since 2019, when five of its productions were selected for Venice VR Expanded, Liu says it will require a greater effort to build a virtual reality ecosystem. on the island.

“The current virtual reality market is not as mature, as there is still a limited return on investment. As a result, the availability of funding is also limited, both in Taiwan and in the rest of the world, ”said Liu.

Government grants and public funding are currently the main sources of funding for RV productions, Liu says. Only those companies that have a specific demand for RV content are willing to make strategic investments in the field, while others see it on the sidelines.

“So we want to develop a complete virtual reality ecosystem to prepare developers,” he said. “With more content available in the market and growth in the intellectual property market, we expect angel investors to enter the virtual reality industry. As the industry grows more and production increases, commercial investors will follow suit. “

HTC has also been creating a global network to export Taiwan’s virtual reality content to the world, Liu said. The company has teamed up with Astrea, a distribution company that manages international sales covering Europe and North America, to expand global licensing of its VR content, while HTC itself manages Asian territories. “Whether it’s co-production, co-investment and distribution, collaboration with other people is necessary to turn virtual reality content production into a real industry,” he said.

Taiwan VR Films at the Venice Festival 2021: Competition

“The Low Rose” (HTC Vive Originals, Taiwan)
Directions: Tang Chi-Chung, Huang Yun-Sian.
Synopsis: With a magic rose, a girl will travel through a city full of viruses and indifference to dedicate the rose to her mother on the front line of the hospital.

Samsara (Taiwan Association of Virtual and Physical Media Integration)
Dir: Huang Hsin-Chien
Synopsis: A protagonist escapes to a new planet after the nuclear destruction of the earth, but finds that he is learning the deep lessons of life again.

“The Last Worker” (Oiffy LLP, Pumpkin Studio, Taiwan-UK)
You: Year Tittle
Synopsis: The player, in the body of Kurt, the last human worker in the JFC-1 production center, experiences a fantasy of brutal power, dives into Kurt’s past and encounters Kurt’s broken co-bot, Skew, as it deals with your old work routine. that it is disturbed forever.

“The Starry Sand Beach” (Lucid Realities, Oready, Taiwan, France)
Direction: Nina Barbier, Huang Hsin-Chien
Synopsis: A scientific fairy tale about the big sand stars found on various beaches in the East China Sea and a mythical sea snake.

“Bedlam” (El-Gabal, Taiwan, United Kingdom, France)
Dir: Mat Collishaw
Neither a game nor an educational tool, “Bedlam” is a work of art, which attempts to reflect on the human condition, relationships with technology, perceptions of reality, and the appetite for spectacle.

The best of virtual reality out of competition
“Speak to Awaken Ep.2 Kusunda” (NowHere Media, Taiwan, Germany)
Direction: Gayatri Parameswaran, Felix Gaedtke
Synopsis: A voice-based virtual reality experience about the sleeping Kusunda language in western Nepal is also an intergenerational story.

Special project in the official section
“In the Mist” (Very Theater and Very Mainstream Studio, Taiwan)
Dir: Cabbage Tung-Yen
Synopsis: An indescribable life experience of gay community culture, exploring a male sauna through poetic lenses.

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