For him, increasing the use of VR now is the same kind of no-brainer that automating the Western Water plant was back then.
“I knew there was something new that nobody knew how to take advantage of,” he says. “We’re at the same point now where we’re thirty years in advance, we’re in a greater position from a technological point of view.”
Scoleri and his business partner have invested one million dollars into the business, in part because they want to encourage a cultural change back to the manufacturing thinking of the 1950s (though not some of the other views from back then).
“Over the years, with the relatively cheaper cost of labour in some industries overseas, Australia’s outsourced a lot of its major manufacturing off-shore,” he says. “In our own little way, we’re determined to bring back the entrepreneurship, creative spirit and drive of a generations back to grow a new Australian company that makes and creates here for local and international audiences.”
As well as building up Paperville Panic, and working on extra content for the game, Ultimerse, 7-YM and the other businesses in the studio are working on making apps and VR training programs for businesses like telcos and banks. In comparison to the games side of the business, Scolari claims the business stuff is easy.
“Business is quite simple; because the dynamics, the complexity, the physics, the science, and the emotion that’s required in gaming is incomparable to business,” he says. “Business is very linear.”
Although the current equipment and space requirements put VR out of reach for most gamers, business is where the short-term future of VR lies. It’s much cheaper and easier to build a VR training simulation for workplace safety, or of explaining how to plug extremely expensive drives in and out of slots, than it is to build and maintain an entire training facility.
“We’re honing our skills in that gaming space, even though we have all the business skills, specifically because then we can easily adapt them to the business environment,” Scolari says. “You can [read all about OH&S rules] online but I think there’s something in your brain that connects a lot greater when you are immersed in something.”
With the news of so many manufacturing and creative jobs migrating overseas, Scolari sees a hole in the market that he plans to fill, helping fulfil his plans for world domination.
“We want to become a hub of creators, whether it’s software developers, whether it’s engineers,” he says. “And, in terms of the longer-term vision, we want to be one of Australia’s biggest exporters.”
That’s a lofty goal to have in an industry that, at least today, is still yet to find its place in either the gaming or business worlds.
Paperville Panic is available now on Steam.
Alice is a freelance journalist, producer and presenter.