Kochi: Virtual reality games are nothing new in India, but most of them are plagued by bad design, rendering them uninteresting in an ocean of games available in arcades today.
When Mat Hatters Studios, a game development company based in Chennai, drew up the concept for the V20 Virtual Reality cricket game under its VirtiLens banner, they too were faced with the critical question of 'How do we get this game to stand out?'
This is where Arjun Joseph and Kiran Joseph of the Chennai-based firm Joseph Design came in. Combing through their 30-year-long global design expertise and drawing inspiration from science fiction and video games, the sibling duo were able to put together a design that not only augmented the previous one but also drew "3x the number of footfalls."
"Joseph brothers were extremely talented and professional. When we began developing the virtual reality cricket game, we knew that India was not a consumer market for VR yet. Facebook's Oculus VR headsets had only just launched then. So we decided to focus on the arcade market. In that sea of games, the only way to stand out is through good design," Akhil Nath, the CEO of Mad Hatters Studio, told Onmanorama.
The Studio's V20 cricket game kiosk, designed by Joseph Design, was an instant hit in Chennai malls right from its introduction. "Through the game, cricket lovers were able to experience hands-on action. It was enthralling for them. People of all ages queued up to have a go with the bat," Rohit Roy of VirtiLens said.
A large part of this success boils down to the human-centric design, always the focus of Joseph Design. The sibling duo, who hails from Kerala, has also recently bagged India's Best Design Award instituted by the DesignIndia magazine for V20 Virtual Reality Game produced by Mad Hatter Studios.
According to the duo, good design is all about serving the needs of people in simple, elegant and meaningful ways.
Initiated by DesignIndia Magazine in 2015, India's Best Design Awards recognizes Design Studios for their professional work, business practices, and transparency. DesignIndia is an international design magazine that creates a curated platform for creative inspiration from India.
"Design is very integral. It is in our DNA – the need to filter down, simplify and clean up to arrive at the best possible solution. It is why we exist," Kiran Joseph told Onmanorama.
For the V20 game, our intention was to create a platform that melded the newness of virtual reality and the natural curiosity for anything cricket, Kiran added.
"The V20 Virtual Reality cricket game allows you to play against the best in the world and feel the electrifying atmosphere of cheering crowds and realistic celebrations. The V20 platform we developed can be found at the Fun City VR Mall in Chennai. We have plans to expand our operations to other Indian cities," Arjun said.
Founded in 2011, Joseph Design has been the force behind hundreds of noteworthy products across the world.
These include a smart bangle safeguarding the maternal health of rural women for Grameen Intel, a soda maker featuring a sleek premium industrial design for Mr Soda Butlers, the branding and packaging of new-gen coffee company Seven Beans.
Mad Hatters Studios' chief Akhil Nath is extremely proud of how this collaboration has given his firm the edge in a market littered with hundreds, if not thousands of cricket games.
"We have developed some of the most cutting-edge games with mass appeal, including one of the world's first VR cricket experiences," Akhil said.
"While VR is witnessing a meteoric growth rate, VirtiLens is poised to differentiate itself by using the latest technologies in VR that include Occulus Rift, HTC Vive, and Microsoft HoLoLens, among others," Akhil added.
Founded in 2016, VirtiLens is the arm of Mad Hatters Studio focused on creating immersive experiences with VR, AR and Mixed Reality. V20 Cricket is one of its special projects.
Virtual reality is the next level of immersive technology that lets one enjoy 3D gaming or movies. The VR gaming market is expected to be the biggest driver in revenue growth in the next couple of years.
With projections in the billions, companies like HTC, HP, Facebook and Sony are pumping in a lot of money to establish a strong base in the VR gaming division. VR also has potential in other sectors, like travel, health, education, automobiles, etc. But with gaming drawing the most attention, things look exciting for the future of the global gaming industry.