As virtual and augmented reality capture the world, it appears Atlanta in particular is catching up to the trend.
In a survey by job search site Indeed, Atlanta was ranked No. 5 of the Top 5 Cities for Augmented Reality and VR Gaming Jobs this week. Atlanta was one of two cities out of the five ranked that does not have a major gaming company and the only city mentioned in the South.
According to Indeed, the number of gaming job postings for roles requiring skill sets for VR and AR has increased by 93 percent since 2015, with about 17 percent of that growth happening in 2017.
Atlanta has at least nine companies dedicated to augmented reality and VR headquartered in Atlanta, according to Crunchbase and our own research.
To give that rank some perspective, the video game industry in the United States generated $36 billion in revenue in 2017, an 18 percent increase from the year before, according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and The NPD Group.
Last year, Atlanta hosted the world’s largest gaming festival, DreamHack, a three-day event of eSports tournaments, gaming exhibitions and competition, including segments dedicated to VR.
As eGames and VR captivate more audiences around the city, one arcade in Duluth is getting a taste of new VR experiences inspired by the film “Ready Player One,” limited to only 35 arcades in the country.
Hitting silver screens across the country this week, Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” set in a not too distant future, is bringing virtual reality content inspired by the film from HTC VIVE to select arcades, including iSimU VR Arcade.
Arcade manager Elijah Claude said he was hoping for a turnout of about 50 people for an exclusive event Wednesday night, with 12 stations dedicated to three different VR experiences from “Ready Player One.” The arcade will offer these games to guests for several months and HTC VIVE expects to add more arcades to list.
Atlanta-based Virtual Reality Evangelist Cathy Hackl with HTC Vive said the company produced eight VR experiences total associated with the Oasis and served as the VR partner for the Spielberg flick. These experiences were first debuted at SXSW a few weeks ago.
“By working with these arcades, we are able to showcase the content in even more places and to those that might not have a VR headset at home,” she said. “We’re excited to partner with iSimu VR locally to bring this content to the Atlanta market. We recognize Atlanta as a major tech hub in the southeast and look forward to engaging the local tech community by showcasing the power of VR.”
Though trends in Atlanta suggest digital engagements like these are growing fast, VR arcades are popping up all over the country, Hackl said.
“The arcades we are working with are already showing content on Vive and they are a part of our affiliate program, meaning they have the ability to sell Vive in these locations as well,” she said. “It’s a new program we just started and it’s something we’re really looking forward to in order to show even more people how great VR can be.”
Vive stepped in as partner for “Ready Player One” to show viewers how accessible VR already is, Hackl said.
“VR isn’t some distant technology of 2045 – like in the film,” she said. “The best way to showcase the power of VR is to get someone into Vive. For us, we wanted to have a way for people to interact with the film’s universe before and after they go to the theatre.”