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.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • 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.