We’ve been keeping our eyes on holoride for a while now. The company promises VR-enabled in-vehicle entertainment and productivity applications – and they’ve delivered. However, those experiences have been demos and attractions at events, not something that an individual could actually use in their personal vehicle.
holoride recently announced their first commercial installment with Porsche, featuring Cosmic Chase, holoride’s first original title, developed by Schell Games. While this is still a location-based experience currently only available at LA’s Porsche Experience Center, it does give us an exciting look at one of the experiences coming to consumer vehicles as early as this year.
What Is the Experience?
Schell Games is the studio behind well-known VR titles including Until You Fall, Among Us VR, and the I Expect You to Die series. If some of this is ringing a bell, Schell Games was one of the leaders in a $12M funding round for holoride last year. Investing in the only in-vehicle VR entertainment company and then making games for them is a foot into a wide-open market.
The holoride-exclusive title Cosmic Chase puts the passenger of a physical car in the seat of an Earth Alliance spaceship to battle a race of mechanical insects called the Cymex. Chances are, a VR game inside of a spaceship sounds fun, but it also might sound nauseating. That’s what makes holoride special.
The company has found that matching what a person sees in VR to the motion of their body reduces motion sickness – whether that motion sickness is from what they’re experiencing in VR or because of what they’re experiencing as a passenger in a vehicle. In this way, the dynamics of these experiences don’t only make them more fun but more physically pleasant.
All of this comes at a trade-off. The headset facilitating the experience and the experience itself need to be able to understand and respond to the user’s position and velocity. The good news is that that information exists. The bad news is that that information exists within the car. So, for the experience to work, these three things (headset, car, experience) need to communicate.
This is a lot of the reason that we haven’t seen these experiences in cars so far. Even after the tech was figured out, it took partnerships between tech manufacturers and auto manufacturers to make compatible cars and experiences.
Holoride and Porsche
“We are collaborating with Porsche Cars North America to give riders the thrill of a high-speed ride, combined with a highly-immersive VR experience,” holoride co-founder and CEO Nils Wollny said in a release.
To be clear, this partnership isn’t some new thing. These are some of the first ripe fruits of a tree that was planted some three years ago when the two companies first started working together. Why? It’s in keeping with Porsche’s mission and, like we saw with Schell, it’s a unique opportunity.
“Porsche stands for emotional and dynamic customer experiences,” Porsche Cars North America Strategy and Digital Business Director, Zabih Aria, said in the release. “The joint pilot with holoride is a great teaser on how these experiences can be translated to a digital future.”
Right now, you might be thinking “that’s all well and good, but I won’t be driving a Porsche by the end of this year.” You’re in good company. While it’s probably safe to expect Porsche to be one of the first consumer cars compatible with this kind of experience, they won’t be alone. We also know that holoride is working with Audi and Hyundai.
The company has expressed dedication to interoperability in the past. For example, they also work with Qualcomm, a computing company that works with most XR hardware manufacturers.
“VR, if you think about it, is not just [Meta]. It’s HTC, it’s Pico, etc., and they all build their headsets with Qualcomm,” holoride co-founder and CXO Marcus Kühne told ARPost in 2020. “The main architecture of headsets should be in-car ready and Qualcomm is a good anchor point to collaborate with to make that happen.”
Coming to a Vehicle Near You?
holoride is coming to a vehicle near you sooner than you might expect. When it is coming to your vehicle? That’s a harder question. Hopefully, in the coming months, we’ll see more automotive partnership announcements from this fast-moving company.