Halifax’s virtual reality scene is growing every day and thanks to some fortuitous real estate, a new spot with a focus on group games and team building events has opened up nearby.
and Edward Mowbray
have been old film industry buds for nearly 20 years, and when they found themselves looking for a new creative niche to fill, they partnered up and turned to the burgeoning 360 video market for their next endeavour.
“We have corporate clients, and we’re talking to two—one dramatic, one comedic—directors who want to do their next projects in 360 VR,” says Henrikson, a long-time local filmmaker.
“We were concentrating on the production side of things,” adds Mowbray, a former CBC executive. “This VR, Nearby Planet
thing was really a Year Two kind of plan.”
When looking for office space, however, they were shown what would become their headquarters, and instantly saw potential in the spacious rooms it boasted. “It’s been sitting empty for two years—it used to be a former rooming house,” says Henrikson. “We walked in, and immediately it was like, ‘Oh, that room’s perfect for VR,’ and ‘There’s another VR room.’”
So on top of their production company, QuirkVR
, they opened up Nearby Planet
(2093 Gottingen Street, second floor), a VR rental service, to help pay the bills and build a consumer base simultaneously. “We’re probably a little insane—we started up two companies at once without realizing it,” adds Mowbray.
It’s $50 an hour to rent a VR cubicle, which up to four people can use at a time. Henrikson and Mowbray see team-building exercises as a great way to introduce the community to the transformative experience of VR and 360 video.
“One of the great things about VR that is really starting to happen is the whole social interaction between multiple players,” says Mowbray, who says employers are always looking for fun, inventive ways to build morale among their team. “Companies, corporations, are really looking for new things to do. And this is what’s totally new.”
If you want to try out VR at a Nearby Planet near you, they’ll offer you a 15 minute trial for free.