If you’ve ever strapped on a Virtual Reality (VR) set, you might know the feeling of discomfort or nausea as you’re “moving around”.
It can get bad enough to impede your experience and enjoyment of VR, so Malaysian company Havson Group set about to solve it.
They were already working on their VR game center EXA Outpost in Setiawalk and motion sickness would be a downer for players.
EXA Outpost utilises a technology called Angkas, a VR system that can enable four to eight players to roam freely in a 10 by 5 meter room space.
Havson Group developed an advanced VR technology that solves problems of motion sickness and latency to work alongside Angkas.
At EXA Outpost, the VR headsets are not tethered to any desktop PC.
“Each VR headset comes with its own gun controller that’s connected to a custom-made backpack PC, and tracked by high-end motion capture system,” said Richard Lee, CEO at EXA Global.
Utilising its parent company’s VR tech, EXA Outpost showcases an immersive, hyper-reality experience that combines wireless VR headsets, free-roaming, and a sci-fi shooting concept.
It’s been branded as a disruptive Family Entertainment Center for Malaysians who’ve dreamed of living Call Of Duty in real life, and it’s the first of its kind in Southeast Asia.
Their technology is bringing them places, and not just in the virtual world.
According to founder Havene Liew, “Having always had a global reach for our historical successes, we are proud to have direct investment from a truly global partner like 500 Startups.”
“This investment comes at an opportune moment for the Havson when VR /AR is making its introduction here in the region.”
The technology also won the company a few competitions.
Havson emerged as champion in the Alibaba CACSC competition last year, competing against 12 other startups.
“Through the Alibaba CACSC competition, we managed to prove to the world that we are an emerging global tech company solving real gaming problems,” said Kee Saik Meng, founding partner of Havson Group.
It was also the Merit winner of the global final in Hangzhou, China, for tech that allows players to move freely in a large space without motion sickness.
And in the Silicon Valley VR Expo in San Jose, Havson Group was also the first Malaysian startup to showcase their VR content.
Of course, 500 Startups wouldn’t bank on them just for that.
While the founders definitely had a vested interest in adding to the VR gaming infrastructure, they realised that there was so much they could do with the same technology.
As Havene has said, “Our VR Parks provides a solution for mall operators wanting to attract footfall, especially from millennials.”
And it’s not just malls. Havson Group is now in discussions with parks and resorts across the region. This is on top of partnerships with Pakistan and Shenzhen, China.
Now that VR is just seeing more innovation, Havson Group hopes to build a strong foothold in the region before any of its competition can.
Khailee Ng of 500 Startups believes that Havson Group is one of the corporations that has the potential of fast paced growth with the help of technology.
“Having invested in 1,700 Startups in over 60 countries, we’ve built an international platform for startups like Havson to rapidly enter multiple markets at speed.”
“Their business model involves malls paying upfront for rollouts, and generates ongoing profit share. It’s a very capital-efficient way to build a global business. Just the kind of business we like!”
The eternal post-funding question remains—what will they do next?
Despite their direction moving forward, the company formerly known as Mediasoft Entertainment won’t forget its roots.
It was this very passion that drove founder Havene to start the company with Rayson Wong.
As a lecturer, Havene was disheartened to see so many young talent take their talents to other countries, or just quit the gaming industry altogether due to a lack of opportunities.
So they sought out to create those very opportunities.
Between their development of EXA Outpost and their previous non-VR games like Jump Smash and Roll Spike (the world’s first sepak takraw game), we’re glad to see that this interest in gaming doesn’t hinder, but invigorates other industries as well.
“We have a pipeline of projects to roll out,” said Havene. “Once we own the distribution of VR to the masses via malls and theme parks, consumer VR will naturally pick up later.”
Havene compares this to how smartphones have, over the years, taken over our lives. He hopes to see everyone own a VR-compatible device one day.
“We are investing in that future to ensure our games and tech will connect the real-time immersive experience with the home experience.”
Certainly big dreams for this local team of game enthusiasts.
But if they keep up with this momentum and prove that VR can be more than just a tool for gamers and malls alike to attract clientele, then Havson’s dream future is not impossible.
Feature Image Credit: Havson Group