Chi­nese startup scratches in to VR gam­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By CHINA DAILY in New York

Vir­tual re­al­ity play­ers were look­ing for some “sushi” in one game on dis­play at New York Comic Con over the week­end.

In this case, though, Sushi is the name of a VR cat.

The game, Kitty in the Box, was de­signed and de­vel­oped by Mokuni Games, a New York­based startup where a group of young Chi­nese video game en­thu­si­asts strike to cre­ate ex­pe­ri­ences that fit the new­est tech­nol­ogy and plat­forms.

Their game fea­tures seven dif­fer­ent set­tings rang­ing from grass­land and desert to uni­verse and dun­geon. Play­ers try to lo­cate a cat named Sushi and toss it into pa­per boxes hid­den some­where nearby.

“We’ve al­ways been try­ing to do a VR pro­ject,” said Kurt Young, the com­pany’s founder and creative di­rec­tor. “We’ve been keen to learn what can we do in terms of in­ter­ac­tive sto­ry­telling ever since we started in the gam­ing busi­ness.”

Young and his busi­ness part­ners quickly saw the po­ten­tial in the nascent medium.

Ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg News, the vir­tual re­al­ity mar­ket in China is ex­pected to reach $8.5 billion by 2020, fu­eled by the famous BAT: Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd and Ten­cent Hold­ings Ltd.

In­stead of in­vest­ing in head­set hard­ware like Facebook’s Ocu­lus or HTC’s Vive, the three web gi­ants in China are seed­ing dozens of star­tups to de­velop orig­i­nal con­tent.

“There isn’t a clear leader for VR con­tent in China,” Ja­son Low, a Shang­hai-based an­a­lyst with Canalys, told Bloomberg. “Lo­cal con­tent providers, game pub­lish­ers and ser­vice providers are rac­ing to ex­er­cise their in­flu­ence on the de­vel­op­ment of VR be­yond hard­ware.”

For Mokuni, the chal­lenges are quite sim­i­lar in the US.

“I would say the first and fore­most (chal­lenge) for us would be the orig­i­nal­ity,” said Young. “It’s easy to make some­thing that’s al­ready suc­cess­ful — just take a look at what Bliz­zard is do­ing and copy it. But from our per­spec­tive as a startup, we want to be more creative.”

Born and raised in China, Young said he has a “Shang­hai mind­set”. He said that the en­trepreneur­ship spirit in him re­fused to be qui­eted, but that start­ing a creative com­pany in the US is “not an easy task”.

“The qual­ity of the art­work pro­duced by Chi­nese com­pa­nies is def­i­nitely among the top in the in­dus­try,” said Young, “but there cer­tainly are some is­sues for us to deal with.”

Xiao­tian Zhang in New York contributed to this story.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.