We've been working in the XR space for nearly three years now and we wanted to share the path in which we traveled to get to this point. Here we outline how we landed on the need for XR analytics and the twists and turns along the way.
* * *
September 2012 – All three founders, Jacob, Justin, & Lucas, met as freshmen at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
April 2014 – Lucas tried an Oculus DK1 for the first time!
September 2015 – The three of us tried the Oculus DK2. We were blown away by the sense of immersion that we felt with VR. The level of immersion we felt would later inspire us to build our own app.
November 2015 – We set out our own application with two goals in mind: to take advantage of the unlimited space VR offers, and to focus on a use-case that would get people in VR on a daily basis. The result: a virtual Esports bar where users could stream multiple 2D video clips in a social VR environment.
March 2016 – We began testing the alpha version of our Esports VR Bar in a DK2 headset, which allowed users to watch multiple Twitch & YouTube streams in a virtual environment. While the experience was rather rudimentary and lacked controller inputs, we realized that user tests alone weren't enough, we needed to incorporate analytics into the experience to better quantify user behavior. We had some previous experience in analytics from past internships so we decided to build out our own analytics platform specifically for VR to help us make design and development decisions.
October 2016 – We launched our app to Steam in early access! -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBgxQug3ESg
March 2017 – Building VR is HARD! After trying to pitch our app for five months we knew that our growth and retention metrics were not good enough to build a business around. Our engagement metrics continued to point out that our audience didn’t understand the controller schema, people were confused, and no one liked it well enough to come back every week. From the data, it was clear that the experience wasn’t intuitive, and we decided to change course.
April 2017 – 💡 Because of our backgrounds in the analytics space, we were data-driven from the beginning, but we noticed that our friends building other VR experiences were not. This was because there wasn’t an easy way to collect engagement data around VR-specific metrics. We began to rebuild our internal analytics engine as a scalable platform for other developers. Our goal was to automate the integration process, making it stupid simple for teams to get started and begin leveraging data.
June 2017 – Launched Observer Analytics in closed beta with three clients!
August 2017 – We were accepted into Boost VC’s accelerator program, one of the leading investors in the VR/AR space. This allowed us to join a group of over 100 VR/AR companies all working towards the common goal of bring VR/AR to the masses.
Since – We’ve continued to grow our beta, building out our platform based on the needs of our early customer base. We’ve recently expanded our offering to support AR development as well, including ARKit, ARCore, and Vuforia.
Look out for our launch in September! 🚀