The COVID-19 pandemic has not been a great time for most of us, but for some startups there has been a silver lining. Certain products have begun to look more attractive to investors when faced with countless days sitting at home and looking for ways to pass the time. Roto VR, a startup that markets an interactive, 360-degree chair, is on the receiving end of this pandemic good fortune.
Roto VR recently raised about $1.8 million in a funding round led by Pembroke VCT. The chair is designed to address some of the problems with VR and make it more accessible to everyday users. The company was founded in 2015 by a pair of video game industry veterans, Elliott Myers and Gavin Waxkirsh.
VR games have not been the smash hit that some in the gaming industry were expecting. There are many challenges to the product from the consumer point of view. For one, many people experience minor to extreme motion sickness while playing. The amount of room required to essentially move around your home blindfolded is also a major pain point. People often find themselves tripping over cables and other house hold items, which ruins the immersive experience and leads to injuries.
The Roto VR is a motorized chair that allows people to play VR games while seated. The product developers argue that finding a way for people to experience VR gaming while seated will make the medium more accessible to people.
“Most people sit down to watch movies, work, play games and browse the internet whilst seated and we see no reason why the exciting new medium of VR will be any different,” said Myers.
The chair also provides haptic/vibration feedback as a way to enhance the virtual gaming experience. It can be connected to various input devices such as keyboards, joysticks, racing wheels, and other gaming accessories.
Roto VR is compatible with most VR head mounted displays and can be used for both movies and games. In addition to marketing to consumers and offices, Roto VR is setting their sights on the B2B market by reaching out to movie theaters and arcades. This product could be just the push that the VR industry needs.