VRLA: How Can Virtual Reality Content Creators Make Money? by Carolyn Giardina

This weekend’s Virtual Reality LA (VRLA) confab is expected to draw thousands to the Los Angeles Convention Center, but for many stakeholders, the big unresolved issue continues to be how content creators can make money with virtual reality.

That was a key topic of discussion among many attendees, which included those who are interested in creating VR content, as well as technology developers, studio execs exploring VR’s potential and startups looking for investors.

Roy Taylor, vp of VR content alliances for tech developer AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group, estimated that roughly 500 VR entertainment experiences are in development, at a cost anywhere from $100,000 to $2 million per project. “But what everyone wants to know is, when can we sell tickets?” he said.

Taylor believes the answer to this question can come from companies looking to offer paid content in public venues. In particular, he cited Awesome Rocketship, a startup that made its debut at VRLA with a plan to distribute VR content via viewing “pods” that the company aims to install at movie theaters, shopping malls and other public venues.

Awesome Rocketship’s CEO Jim Stewartson said that to do this, it aims to license VR programs from studios — he said these discussions have started — as well as independent developers, or possibly come on board as a partner or co-producer. In some cases, the VR offered at a cinema might be an extension of the feature presentation itself.

Stewartson added that Awesome Rocketship (which has a technology partnership with AMD) is planning launches in the U.S. Europe and Asia, beginning this fall.

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