Melbourne-based firm Zero Latency has raised $7 million in venture funding. The company specialises in out-of-home ‘warehouse scale’ local multiplayer VR experiences, and is beginning to open attractions around the world.

Consumer VR headsets are optimised for use in a small living space, and the vast majority of software is designed with these limitations in mind. But VR can benefit from much larger spaces, particularly when the experience involves multiple local participants and promotes energetic movement across a large space.

A natural fit for a larger space is a VR-enabled combat arena, much like a cutting-edge game of laser tag. Melbourne-based Zero Latency was one of the early enablers of ‘warehouse scale’ VR, utilising custom tracking systems for the headsets and gun accessory, combined with ‘backpack’ PCs to achieve a wireless solution that allows for large scale VR gameplay that goes beyond the sort of roomscale VR experiences available in the home.

Originally known as the Inversion Project back in 2013, Zero Latency has developed rapidly, thanks to a $1m investment from Sydney-based Carthona Capital in 2014, along with crowdfunding to bolster the initial 2-player co-op ‘zombie shooter’ public events. It has been fully operational as a public attraction in Melbourne for over a year, and now offers three modes (zombie survival, puzzle solving, and space shooter) and supports up to six players. The technology was recently brought to Tokyo, Madrid and Orlando, and uses Alienware backpack PCs designed in collaboration with Zero Latency.

A fully-untethered, custom VR experience, played with friends within a large arena is undoubtedly the future of the laser-tag style attraction, as the possibilities of a virtual environment are limitless. Companies like Zero Latency are expected to grow, and according to The Australian, a further $7 million in venture funding was backed by Thorney Investment Group, Contango Asset Management and Regal Funds Management, with original investors Carthona contributing $2.7 million of the latest round.

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  • Get Schwifty!

    Really wish Alienware would move to offering those backpack PC’s… going to Orlando in a few months I am really wanting to check this out now.

    • Mike

      But wireless Vive adapters are coming soon, which will make backpack PCs obsolete.

      • RJW

        Not for warehouse scale. All that interference with some many players… commercial scale will stick around and get better

        • Mike

          That might be true. Though I don’t know exactly how the wireless transmitters work – it may be possible to use different frequency channels for each headset, thereby eliminating any interference. But there’s also the question of how far you can be from the receiver – that might be an issue with warehouse scale.

        • I assume this all works in a similar manner to motion capture studios with an array of cameras around the room edge that can pick up hundreds of markers separately.

      • Get Schwifty!

        I agree with RJW… at this stage the wireless VIve adapters are probably short range and experimental at best and certainly shorter range than a larger setup could afford. I also have other things I do that a backpack PC might be an interesting option to have.

        • Mike

          I guess we’ll find out soon enough what the range limitations will be. What other things are you referring to?

    • Michael Davidson

      I’m sure you can probably rig something up to house your laptop on your back. Heck, you might even be able to market it.

  • cefizelj gnom

    I hope I get to experience this, but I live among dragons and no market presence.