Futur et Médias Podcast E04 – Ubisoft and the Location-Based VR Revolution

A new use case for virtual reality is gaining momentum: location-based virtual reality experiences. Could VR bring arcade rooms back? In this episode, Ubisoft’s Senior Vice President, Business Development, Technology and Strategic Alliances, Deborah Papiernik, discusses VR’s bright location-based future.

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Ubisoft on location-based virtual reality experiences

Much in the way that few—if any—owned arcade gaming hits like of Atari’s Pong or Sega’s Moto-Cross in the 1970s, a meager 3.1 per cent of all Canadians had a virtual reality (VR) headset at home as of the fourth quarter of 2018. But don’t let that figure fool you: VR is thriving.

Like video games in the 1970s and 1980s, virtual reality experiences are coming into their own outside the home. In Canada, dedicated venues like the Rec Room and MontVR offer a host of experiences. Even movie theatres and shopping centres are jumping into the fray. According to market intelligence firm Greenlight Insights, which focuses on VR and AR, VR venues are about to pop up from coast to coast to coast. We’ll go from 68 such centres in 2018 to almost 400 in 2022, with the national revenue generated by location-based VR increasing more than five-fold to reach $162.4 million by the end of the same period.

What opportunities are there to be seized as this trend gains momentum? Ubisoft’s Senior Vice President, Business Development, Technology and Strategic Alliances, Deborah Papiernik, joins host Catherine Mathys to share the gaming giant’s perspectives on location-based virtual reality and discuss:

  • The trend towards location-based VR experiences (5:40)
  • Ubisoft's Atelier XR, a Montreal-based innovation hub (14:56)
  • How VR can be a catalyst towards new markets for the gaming industry (19:09)
  • Ubisoft's VR ambitions (22:04)

Access an English-language transcript of the episode here

Dig deeper

  • In her introduction, Catherine Mathys mentions that “a little more than 3 per cent” of Canadians own a VR headset. This figure comes from GlobalWebIndex and applies to the fourth quarter of 2018. GlobalWebIndex measures device ownership using a panel of Canadians aged 16 to 64 who have access to the internet.
  • Data on location-based VR venues and revenues in Canada and throughout the world can be found in the Canada Media Fund’s 2019 Annual Trends Report.
  • Dive into CMF Trends’ coverage of virtual reality.
  • Listen to the Canada Media Fund’s English-language podcast, Now & Next, and its own episode on location-based virtual reality: VR and AR: Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You.


About Futur et médias

Futur et médias is a podcast featuring in-depth interviews with experts who take a closer look at emerging trends and the digital transformation of the media and entertainment industries. Futur et médias is produced by the Canada Media Fund and hosted by the organization’s Director of Industry and Market Trends, Catherine Mathys.

Now & Next, the Canada Media Fund’s English-language podcast series, is available online and wherever you listen to podcasts.