Location-based VR, such as arcades and theme parks, is set to experience explosive growth in the near term. Havson Group, a Malaysia-based game technology company, is moving ahead of the pack, opening Southeast Asia’s first VR outpost under its fully-owned subsidiary, EXA; and this is just the beginning of what Havson Group has set out to accomplish.
EXA Outpost at SetiaWalk — located in Puchong, a suburban city 45-minute drive away from Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur — is one of the world’s first few of such VR endeavours.
At the EXA Outpost at SetiaWalk, also called a VR family entertainment centre (FEC), it features an exclusive four-player space exploration mission, called Dimension 12. In here, with the use of advanced VR technologies, such as untethered backpack setup and multi-user motion capture system, players get to experience a fully-immersive, wireless, and free-roaming VR gaming experience.
“Engagement is core to the project designed by our team. The focus is to get players involved in the technology and to become part of the story,” said EXA’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Lee, who has accumulated 20 years of expertise in events and theme park as a producer and project director. His previous stints includes Malaysia’s motorsport race track, Sepang International Circuit and the adventure theme park, District 21.
“Getting the right module, enhancing the formula, experience and content are key components when creating and building an immersive advanced technology to have people sharing their hyper-reality experience with others,” said Richard.
Empowered by the Group’s in-house tech expertise
Prior to the launch of EXA Outpost at SetiaWalk, Havson Group have spent two and a half year doing research and development (R&D) into augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies via its another subsidiary company, DJM, helmed by its Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Lee Yuet Ping, who brings with him 13 years in electronic product R&D. Yuet Ping was previously the lead engineer of patented touch-screen & variable technology in Taiwan.
The scope of R&D work in DJM encompasses software and hardware development. Among its products is the ANGKAS system used in the EXA Outpost at SetiaWalk for a total immersive and real-time interactive experience.
ANGKAS comes with a complete set of technologies, including head mounted display (HMD), backpack computer, workstation server, controller, positioning system and software system. Apart from gaming, ANGKAS can also be adapted for education, manufacturing, training and sports.
Another key competitive advantage for the Havson Group to emerge strong in the realm of VR is its ability to develop content, pulling resources and talents from EXA, DJM, as well as its two other subsidiaries, Mediasoft and Tomotech, which have been focusing on developing games for mobile and PlayStation 4.
Havson Group was put together by a strong founding team one year ago, among its members are Havene Liew, who has spent 14 years in creative industry as an award-winning film director, a game producer, as well as a tech and tourism investor; Rayson Wong, who comes with 14 years of expertise in backend system structure design and planning, and has created multiple types of platform for international B2B, B2C and social media solutions; and Kee Saik Meng, who spent 20 years in animation & telco as Head of animation at POV and Head of mobile gaming at Maxis.
Leading the VR revolution in Southeast Asia and beyond
Among the four categories of AR/VR market mapped out by CB Insights, namely hardware, development, applications and distribution, Havson Group seems to have their hand on every single category.
This incredible capability gives the Group an edge to steer their own growth trajectory with low dependency on third-party developers. Capitalising on its agility, they are planning to expand its VR outpost to six other locations in Malaysia within 2017, and other markets in neighbouring countries and beyond.
Like the rest of the players on the VR industry, Havson Group is continuously improving its AR and VR technologies and product offerings. Among the notable developments are a full body suit with haptic feedback that is mapped according to traditional Chinese acupuncture points to improve the surrealism of the game, and other wearables like VR gloves and augmented reality (AR) wristband.
They are also making plans to open bigger VR parks with sizes ranging from 10,000 square feet to football size venue to house a bigger crowd.
While waiting for the next big announcement, you may head over to its EXA Outpost at SetiaWalk to experience first-hand what VR is all about.