“With this kind of immersive experience, the sky’s the limit, and we’ve just begun to scratch the surface.”
Apricot’s CTO Rusty Boyd hasn’t seen the future, but he knows this startup is entering uncharted territories in the world of augmented and mixed reality (AR/MR) gaming. Apricot began when co-founder and CEO Connor Burnett felt something missing in his gaming experience. The entrepreneurial spirit drove him to ask deeper questions, seek out solutions and — when he realized his ideas weren’t out there — create the world he desired. One year ago, Burnett and Boyd weren’t businessmen, but they had a good idea. Now, they’ve learned to maneuver not only virtual reality but also entrepreneurship reality.
Augmented and mixed realities are nearly synonymous, according to Burnett, as they both mix the real and virtual worlds. AR lays the virtual over your tangible environment, as in Pokémon Go, while MR allows you to manipulate and react with physical and virtual elements. Bring this tech into gaming, and the experience becomes much more authentic.
Where Burnett had been gaming since his youth and later served in the military, his co-founder Boyd was lured into the curious world of AR/MR gaming because of his son’s interest. An electrical engineer, Boyd worked on the famous ATLAS experiment at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. Even after this historic experience, he couldn’t ignore the unlimited potential of the MR world.
“One of the reasons I told myself I was getting into engineering many years ago was to build toys for adults,” Boyd said. “And the more immersive you can make an experience, the more adults will enjoy it.”
Mixed reality already allows gamers to manipulate virtual space. So how do you make this technology even more immersive? This pair has to be coy as not to give away their secrets in the competitive world of tech, but they believe Apricot will skyrocket remote gaming to new heights. But with improvements to technology, there’s always the possibility that a big player will beat you to the idea or worse, steal the credit. How do you overcome the cutthroat competition? You partner with them.
And that’s the first business necessity that helped Apricot ripen: networking. Burnett’s inexperience was initially the most “nerve-wracking” part of diving into developing new technology. Like most first-time entrepreneurs, he knew where he needed to go but not how to get there. And you can’t break into the scene alone. But Burnett confirmed every industry’s suspicions: It’s all about knowing someone who knows someone. Eventually, your friend’s cousin’s connection could be the key to playing in the big leagues.
But another tip in the business of “people” is that your network should always be part-free/part-paid. Boyd says that you can skimp on some budget areas but never lowball on the legal side of the business.
“I taught myself a lot of this stuff that we’ve done here for Apricot,” Burnett joked. “I’m not trying to study law, too.”
But the ultimate lesson we can glean from the 1-year-old brainchild that is Apricot? It doesn’t matter how much you know when you begin but how much you learn through the process. Passion and perseverance are the juice behind a good idea. And you don’t have a good idea without need.
“One thing I’ve noticed with trying to come up with different business ideas is it’s not ‘What does the world need?’” Burnett said. “It’s ‘What do you need?’”
To learn more about the future of AR/MR gaming, check this out.