Video Game Company Crytek Announces Virtual Reality Labs

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(Photo: Eric E Castro, Creative Commons)

Independent video game company Crytek, responsible for the creation of Cryengine software, has introduced VR First, an initiative that will supply universities across the globe with virtual reality labs in an effort to promote research and development in virtual reality.

The VR First program encourages universities to create virtual reality labs on their campuses through a partnership with Crytek and leading VR hardware innovators.  Schools who opt to participate in the program will receive free access to the complete source code for Crytek’s Cryengine development software.  In addition, hardware partners will give the labs VR headsets and other equipment.  The goal of the program is to offer support for those interested in VR development as well as the creation of a global community equipped to handle the new technology.

“VR First locations will become key centers for nurturing new talent in VR development and creating a global community equipped to embrace this exciting field of technology,” according to information on Crytek’s site.

Crytek has said they will partner with seven universities in the US and Canada to create the new VR First Labs.  In addition, the company has announced the addition of four high-profile partners, including AMD as exclusive partner for GPUs, Leap Motion, OSVR, and Razer.

Carleton University, California State University Monterey Bay, Purdue University, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Florida, University of Southern California – School of Cinematic Arts, and Vancouver Film School will all participate in VR First.  The new additions come after the successful launch of the first virtual reality lab associated with the initiative earlier in the year at at Istanbul’s Bahçesehir University.

The virtual reality/augmented reality lab located at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is currently available to partners across campus, and includes equipment from Oculus/Facebook, HTC/Valve, Microsoft, and Samsung, among others.  VR First Lab is located within RIT’s Magic Spell Studios, which is working with partners in an effort to create “homebrew” kits, reports Leila Meyer for Campus Technology.

“Virtual reality is a major focus of the entire industry right now and sits at the intersection of multiple entertainment media including games, film, mobile and interactive experiences,” said Andrew Phelps, founder and CEO of RIT’s MAGIC Spell Studios. “It is a new medium and we are excited to work with our friends and partners as we explore the impact that this technology can have on storytelling and engagement.”

Based in Germany, Crytek is an independent video game developer, publisher, and technology provider with six other studios around the world.  Launched in 1999, the company is responsible for a number of video game titles, including the original Far Cry, the Crysis series, Ryse: Son of Rome and Warface.  All of the games are developed using CRYENGINE, the company’s own three-dimensional game technology, which is also used for the creation of games for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation4, and Android.