The world's leading independent driving and racing game developer, Eutechnyx, has launched a new division that could revolutionise the car buying process.
The Gateshead-based company, which has won numerous awards for its million-plus selling titles like Auto Club Revolution, has created proprietary software that replicates vehicles from engineering data, allowing customers to explore a huge range of configurations while interacting with life-sized 3D models on super-smooth displays.
ZeroLight, as the new business is known, is already working on six pilots worldwide with a major car manufacturer. As word spreads, others are now making enquiries about the new ZL Virtual Showrooms.
“Intelligent car manufacturers have worked out they really need to make buying a car more like an Apple Store experience,” said new chief executive of Eutechnyx, Darren Jobling.
“We use game technology to create a new style of customer experience when it comes to the whole buying process.
“Already, turnover from ZeroLight is around £3m and we are expecting it to be worth at least as much as Eutechnyx, forecast for £8m turnover, within the next 12 months.”
The new technology – which could be rolled out into other industries – comes into play when customers approach the screen, their presence being sensed by a camera placed above it.
A virtual car then ‘drives’ into view and responds to the customer’s movements, so every aspect of the vehicle can be explored. For more information on particular components, the customer simply has to point.
Configurations can be pre-set and replicated using a code or changed in real time with a touchscreen device, meaning the buyer can customise the vehicle quickly and easily. In the next version of the software, it will even be possible to showcase the car in motion.
Creating a 3D vehicle can take around three months, but, once completed, the model is highly flexible and could even be made accessible to customers through the likes of a pop-up stand in a shopping centre.
“There are a couple of companies doing this, but our solution is considered to be the best in the world,” Jobling said.
“People look at it and cannot believe what they are seeing.”
The new division, which is working with IBM as a technology partner, comes at an exciting time for Eutechnyx.
The company, which employs 110 people at its Dunston headquarters, along with 60 at studios in China, Hong Kong and the US, has expanded into a range of new areas, producing a number of successful titles for mobile and tablet devices, including the critically acclaimed Ninja Cats vs Samurai Dogs and the soon-to-be-launched NASCAR Redline. As Darren Jobling took over the chief executive role, meanwhile, his brother, and founder of the company, Brian, became executive chairman.
“Eutechnyx is now investing across a diverse portfolio, including console, mobile, tablet, free-to-play and non-games applications for the technology industry,” said Darren.
“I believe that these initiatives will enable Eutechnyx to maintain our position at the forefront of an industry undergoing a seismic change.”
Brian Jobling said: “I’m incredibly proud to see the company I founded as Zeppelin Games 25 years ago continue to go from strength to strength.
“My new role, working closely with the board of Eutechnyx and its investment partners, will see my eye turned to emergent technology opportunities inside and outside the games sector.
“I am looking forward to my new challenge.”