A long-time gaming entrepreneur, Unger started Cloudhead in late 2012 with three employees to develop VR for the gaming industry. A successful campaign in the spring of 2013 gave the company the mandate to create the first built for VR game, The Gallery: Six Elements, which has now expanded to an episodic franchise with the first title called The Gallery: Call of the Starseed.
“We have partnered with industry leaders to produce the best built-for-VR experiences,” explains Unger. “Our experience and proprietary technology gave us a giant leap forward in making Cloudhead one of the best interactive VR studios in the world.”
Virtual reality stimulates sensory experiences, allowing users to see a wide field of view, head-tracked virtual world on 3D, physically interacting with it and even walking around within it. This isn’t the technically immature VR of the 90s, rather it’s a technology now capable of delivering on the promise of what VR can be.”
“It’s tantamount to the Holodeck from Star Trek. You feel like you’ve been teleported to and stepped into another reality,” explains Unger, who says commercial VR headsets from Oculus/Facebook, HTC/Valve and Sony will be available in retail stores in 2016. “It’s an exciting, powerful technology that crosses age barriers. VR will have a deep impact on entertainment, education and training.”
Cloudhead has grown to 15 employees with plans to double in size in 2016. The company has opportunities for 3D artists and designers with game development experience. As a result, they recently moved into a 743 square-metre (8,000 square-foot) disused fire hall to accommodate their growth.
With its scenic Vancouver Island location, Cloudhead has attracted mid-career tech professionals seeking a balanced lifestyle to raise a family close to nature. “It’s an opportunity to work in an exciting new medium and live in a beautiful place.”
Fundraising was key to getting started. Unger successfully used Kickstarter.com, the world’s largest online funding platform for creative projects. Advice to anyone considering a tech startup? “Be okay with fundraising as part of your job.”
Unger is also grateful for the support of Innovation Island, a BCIC venture acceleration program. “They’ve been invaluable by giving us structure and support throughout the fundraising and networking process.”
What’s in store for Cloudhead’s future? They have partnered with HTC, and Valve one of the biggest gaming companies in the world, to be a launch title on the HTC Vive – a virtual reality platform you can expect to see this spring.