Winners of ‘VR & Beyond’ competition announced by Dubai Future Accelerators, Burj Khalifa and HTC Vive

Thursday 27 June 2019
Dubai - MENA Herald:

With the UAE becoming a hotbed for global tech design and innovation, developers from around the world have flocked to Dubai to show off the latest Virtual Reality (VR) experiences built as part of the recent VR & Beyond competition, established by Burj Khalifa together with HTC Vive and Dubai Future Accelerators—an initiative of Dubai Future Foundation. The competition was initially launched in November 2018 to further business opportunities within the VR ecosystem across the Middle East and Africa. Hundreds of developers across the region and internationally have since gotten involved in the competition to build world-class VR content that provides an experience themed around the Burj Khalifa, the global icon.

The first-place prize was awarded to the team at Game Cooks based in the United States for their experience titled “Dubai – A Rising Falcon” and took home a cash prize of AED500,000 while also getting the VR experience uploaded onto VIVEPORT - the leading app store for Virtual Reality content powered by HTC Vive. In the experience—which will be open to visitors to At The Top—participants start off on a helicopter ride from the to-be-built Dubai Creek Tower going to the Burj Khalifa. They then get transformed into a virtual falcon diving off the top of the Burj Khalifa and can “fly” around the tower, with a special 4D element of the game in which wind blows on the participant in tandem with the speed of their flight.

The second-place prize went to the team at EStudioFuture from Spain for their title “Dubai's Jewels”. It is also going to be retailed on VIVEPORT as well as featured in VR Park Dubai—the city’s premier VR theme park.

Saeed Al Falasi, Executive Director at the Dubai Future Foundation said: “In line with our ongoing efforts at the Dubai Future Foundation to support, encourage and welcome innovators and creative thinkers, we are pleased to have hosted such global challenge, in collaboration with HTC Vive and Burj Khalifa, that have intrigued the creative minds of developers and pushed them to showcase their best in producing cutting-edge VR experiences. We cannot be more pleased with the results we have seen, as they confirm once again that Dubai has and will always be a global hub for innovation and a destination that attracts innovators to co-create the future.”

Graham Wheeler, General Manager of Europe, Middle East & Africa at HTC Vive, commented: “This collaboration with Burj Khalifa and Dubai Future Accelerators furthers our commitment to expanding the VR market for both businesses and consumers in the Middle East. Essential to that mission is giving developers the tools and incentives to push their ideas forward. We are extremely pleased with the results of this competition and look forward to bringing those experiences to consumers worldwide.” 

Ahmad Al Falasi, Executive Director - Group Operations, Emaar Properties, added: “We congratulate the winners and thank HTC Vive and Dubai Future Accelerators for helping build a strong Virtual Reality ecosystem in the region – with Dubai as a hub. As an early adopter of VR technologies to boost our tourism and leisure sector, we see strong opportunities for innovating in VR technologies to further strengthen our nation’s leisure sector. We are confident that the new content generated through the competition will add further value by offering innovative experiences for the community.”

All participants in the competition gained access to Burj Khalifa premises and stunning high-definition footage of the building itself. Dubai Future Accelerators also offered access to an incubator center and fully set-up VR hub situated at Area 2071, as well as office workspaces, throughout the project. HTC Vive was the VR partner for the program, and its latest premium VR system—the Vive Pro—was the official VR device for the competition.

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