Business Irish

Sunday 15 September 2019

O'Rourke's €1m backing set to bring zombie-hunting VR game to corporates

Former Setanta chief executive Michael O’Rourke. Photo: Sportsfile
Former Setanta chief executive Michael O’Rourke. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Cogley

An Irish company has received an investment of more than €1m from former Setanta chief executive Michael O'Rourke to bring virtual reality free-roam game Zero Latency to Dublin.

Virtual Reality Gaming (VRG) also secured the franchising rights for the Australian-based game for both Ireland and London, which is primarily targeted as a leisure activity to corporate clients.

O'Rourke's TDL Media is the main investor in the business.

The eight-player game allows users to roam around a 200 sq m warehouse fending off swarms of zombies through virtual-reality headsets.

The company, which is headed up by Ronan Cunningham, who brought Foot Golf to Ireland back in 2013, has already secured a premises in Sandyford in south Dublin.

The game is set to launch here in March with VRG aiming to have 25,000 players in its first year of operation.

Cunningham said that he came up with the business venture while on his honeymoon with his wife in Tokyo.

"We were literally just looking for something fun to do and we tried out Zero Latency and it was one of those moments where you ask yourself 'What have I just done? That was absolutely amazing'," he said. "The next step of our honeymoon was Australia for Christmas 2017 and we diverted to Melbourne, having found out the company behind it was based down there. It took around six months to tie down the franchise."

The company is planning to open a further two venues in London, but has had difficulty finding a suitable location. VRG also plans to add at least one new game to its stable each year.

Cunningham said that VR will become a major part of the leisure business for corporate customers in the years to come and insisted that there is "only so much paintball you can do".

"The uniqueness of it is that it's untethered, there's no wires. The game itself works on motion technology and a grid of 244 cameras on the roof tracking player positions at any point in the game. This is why we need a massive space," he said.

"This is where I think VR is going to really take off as a leisure pursuit. It's limited in what you can do in your own room or your own sitting room."

Pricing per person has yet to be settled by Cunningham.

In Australia it costs around AUS$80 for a one-hour session. In Madrid and Lisbon, the game's only two European locations so far, an hour costs €35 and €30 respectively.

Sunday Indo Business

Also in Business