Pioneering VR tech in Amsterdam
Amsterdam-based company Force Field VR is already a major player in the world of virtual reality, now employing about 50 graphic designers, game developers and more. The company works for global clients such as Microsoft and EA Games, though their main customer is currently Oculus, the American VR company that was acquired by Facebook in 2014. In February, Force Field launched their first game, Landfall, a shooting game that fully takes place in VR. The company have also developed a VR simulation of space travel, VR apps for museums and a virtual experience for Audi that lets customers view their new cars in VR.
Proud of Amsterdam’s innovations
“I definitely think we can be proud of what is being accomplished in Amsterdam in the field of gaming,” said the company’s creative director, Martin De Ronde. These successes ensure that more and more technology and creative companies will come to Amsterdam, or even launch here. “It can only get better,” he said.
Earlier this month, Amsterdam-based studio Guerrilla Games had a worldwide hit with Horizon: Zero Dawn, an action role-playing game. Hundreds of people worked on the project for almost seven years, making it the largest media production ever made in the Netherlands. In addition, the game is currently Sony’s biggest PlayStation 4 franchise debut ever, selling an impressive 2.6 million units during its first two weeks of release.
As well as selling high numbers, Horizon has been faring well with reviewers and critics across the globe, and it's been fully embraced by the gaming community in general. These factors suggest that the Horizon franchise is likely to grow into one of gaming's flagship franchises of this generation – an invaluable addition to Amsterdam's thriving creative and tech industries.
An ideal creative and ICT home base
Guerrilla’s team operates from a building on the iconic Herengracht, located in the centre of Amsterdam. "The city is very attractive, and the people here are well-educated,” said Guerrilla’s managing director, Hermen Hulst. “Half of our staff is Dutch, and the rest comes from 35 different countries.”
Both companies are a boon to Amsterdam's vibrant tech scene and will benefit from the VR talent located here. Last year, Jaunt Inc. – a leading producer and publisher of virtual-reality experiences – opened an engineering and development office in Amsterdam, and the city is now also home to VRbase, an incubator that specialises in virtual and augmented reality.