2018 was a big year for AiSolve. We launched new games, kicked off new programs, redesigned immersive hardware and established new partnerships with top names in entertainment and tech. Our talented team of developers, artists and staff all helped to create magic month after month and we’re closing out the year with a final blog looking back at what a thrilling 2018 it has been.
The first half of the year found AiSolve deploying WePlayVR arenas around the world and the second half developing a new look for our popular location based VR attraction. The new WePlayVR design would not launch until November but a great deal of energy was focused on this while sites went live. In addition, we spent several months developing our first multiplayer title for WePlayVR which we launched at various events in the second half of 2018. Called Star Defence, our two-person multiplayer is a sci-fi adventure where players become heroes battling corrupt drones in space.
Let’s pick up the rest of the news in the July and August.
In the summer we partnered with a world class team of creators at Cartoon Network, for a first-of-its-kind experience for WePlayVR. Together we launched a new location based virtual reality multiplayer experience, called Food Truck Rush based on the popular animated series We Bare Bears. The LBVR attraction was done in collaboration with the Philadelphia-based game studio PHL Collective. This was super fun and rewarding for our team as it was the first IP we got to work on for WePlayVR. Read more about Food Truck Rush from our previous blog here.
Summer continued to be an exciting time for AiSolve with the official launch of our partnership with Centre Parcs to bring WePlayVR to their largest holiday park in the UK, Sherwood Forest. WePlayVR is the perfect complement to the Centre Parcs brand of adventure holidaying. We look forward to further installations in the leisure market in 2019 and you can read about our partnership with Centre Parcs here.
In September we were honoured to be included in the announcement by Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Oculus by Facebook that the medical VR sim training program we helped develop and deploy in 2017 was expanding to eleven international locations including Stanford, Johns Hopkins and the University of Zurich. We’ll be supporting this expansion and couldn’t be happier to see our VRSims immersive training platform being utilized for this project. You can read coverage of the expansion announcement here.
Back on the entertainment side, we kicked off autumn with several retail activations of WePlayVR in the shopping sector. One WePlayVR went into France’s largest mall, Belle Epine, just outside Paris. We used this location to launch the very first augmented reality companion app for LBVR.
The WePlayVR AR app allows users to bring WePlayVR game characters to life, pose with them and capture images on their phones. WePlayVR AR provides a new level of interaction with our LBVR arena and the response was tres bien! We were excited to partner with European specialist in shopping centre properties, Kleppierre, to attract a new and diverse generation of mall guests looking for a unique yet authentic retail experience.
Watching players at Centro Colombo and Arrabida Shopping mall in Portugal was a highlight of 2018 and marked the first time WePlayVR was featured within the Portuguese market. Launched in partnership with Sonae Sierra, a leading property developer in Portugal, the WePlayVR activations brought families out to explore VR and have fun within a retail destination.
November pushed and we took WePlayVR to the Family Attraction Expo in Birmingham. The AiSolve team was on hand to showcase Star Defence to one of the UK’s largest leisure, hospitality and tourism events. It’s a favourite for us here at AiSolve because we love to show how WePlayVR has a home in any venue where families gather to have fun.
From November 13th, operators and owners from the theme park, FEC and arcade markets descended on IAAPA in Orlando to learn more about the future of amusement parks, gaming and attractions at the largest themed entertainment expo in the world.
Half of our AiSolve team was on hand to work with our distribution partners Bandai Namco at their IAAPA booth, which featured our brand new WePlayVR arena, which evolves WePlayVR’s modular look with a redesign focused on an advanced leaderboard system and more open space to watch players inside the arena. Still featuring our famous haptic vibrating floor and single attendant touch-and-go operator interface, at IAAPA WePlayVR also showed off multiplayer Star Defence.
WePlayVR, the new arena design and Star Defence were all hits at IAAPA and we look forward to announcing shortly new owners and operators going into 2019.
During the same week, the other half of our AiSolve team was in France for MAPIC, Europe’s biggest retail property event. Taking place in the heart of Cannes, MAPIC provided an excellent platform for AiSolve to showcase WePlayVR to the retail industry.
Devi Kolli had the honour of speaking at ‘The Art of European Retailtainment’ workshop where she presented an interesting case for how WePlayVR can take traditional shopping malls and turn them into multi-use, multi-purpose retail destinations where visitors can go not only for shopping but for the experience itself.
Rounding off the end of the year, we we’re super thrilled to launch WePlayVR in the heart of Luton’s shopping mall in partnership with UK-focussed property specialist, Capital and Regional. At AiSolve we understand there hasn’t been a real contender to capture retailtainment. But VR is becoming a solution and WePlayVR is making its mark as the preferred VR arena in shopping malls.
For any blogs you might have missed throughout 2018, you can read more about our recent installations in Portugal, Belle Epine and The Mall Luton and how WePlayVR is becoming the new frontier for leisure destinations, FECs and retailtainment worldwide.