Insight – Australian virtual reality a real-world success in North Asia

Australia has a long history of success in visual effects, film and post-production. Australian digital studios such as Animal Logic – who created the imagery and visual effects behind blockbuster movies such as The Matrix, Happy Feet and Captain Marvel – are regarded as global leaders in virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR).

Our expertise in VR/AR was recently highlighted to some of North Asia’s leading platform providers and investors at the Seoul VR/AR Expo, Asia’s leading VR/AR event. Ten Australian companies showcased their content at the Australia Pavilion, organised by Austrade in partnership with the state governments in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Some members of the delegation also visited Japan and Taiwan for further showcases.

The creativity and quality graphics, rendering, latency and usability that are the hallmarks of Australian VR/AR were of major interest to North Asian companies looking for original, innovative content. Australian firms should continue to prioritise these attributes when creating VR/AR content to remain globally competitive.

Simplicity and smooth user experience are viewed as a strong asset by end-users and customers. If a game is being showcased, creativity, visual quality and user-friendliness is paramount in making it stand out.

North Asian companies are global leaders in products that complement VR experiences. Examples include headsets, haptic feedback devices, VR ‘add-ons’ and rides, such as hydraulic platforms, roller-coasters and other theme park simulators.

South Korean VR arcades are a viable entry point for Australian VR content. Arcade companies are active developers of hardware and advanced theme-park ride environments that complement domestically and globally sourced VR experiences.

The advanced hardware being developed in North Asia will easily support high-quality content, creating great opportunities for Australian companies to work with or supply content to North Asian VR/AR hardware companies.

More than just games

Australian VR/AR companies considering North Asia should not confine themselves to only approaching gaming and entertainment providers. The implementation of 5G in Korea, for example, has created opportunities to supply entertainment, education and lifestyle content to larger Korean conglomerates, for home and mobile use.

At the VR/AR Expo, North Asian companies representing a range of sectors demonstrated strong interest in incorporating VR/AR into their businesses. Companies in the telecommunications, marketing, advertising, education, training and manufacturing sectors showed strong interest in Australian content.

Australian firms should also showcase what differentiates their VR/AR product from VR mini-games and experiences. While Korea has no shortage of studios creating VR contents, it was the diversity of Australian content that attracted significant attention from attendees.

The use of AR and non-gaming visualisation content for the health, marketing, automotive and training industries received a very positive reception from North Asian corporates and visitors. There was also strong interest in the originality of Australian content, including our unique humour.

Mind your manners

Australian companies should ensure content meets local regulations and is culturally appropriate for North Asia. Taiwan, Japan and South Korea have developed rules and regulations for VR/AR content.

Taiwan’s Reality Technology Service Self-Regulations restrict content showing explicit, excessively violent, gruesome or horror scenes, including drug use, to audiences under 18. While gambling is prohibited in Taiwan, there are no restrictions on purchasing points or tokens to redeem in-game (i.e. pay to play). However, the exchange of real money in games is prohibited.

In Japan, the Location-Based VR Association has stipulated children under the age of 13 require parental consent to use location-based VR. The Association also recommends a break after 20 minutes of play. As such, ‘levels’ or ‘chapters’ in games should not exceed 20 minutes if targeting the Japanese market.

South Korea has restrictions on the exchange of real or virtual money in games, including games where user financial loss can occur. Examples include gambling and chance-based transactions. South Korea also restricts adult content, such as crude gestures or language in games.

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