Finland’s capital, Helsinki, has the goal of becoming the “virtual capital of the world”. An international team headed by Helsinki-based VR studio Zoan are designing virtual reality themes such as ‘urban Helsinki’, ‘the sea’, and ‘design’. The team plans to have virtual Helsinki available next year in different parts of the world, in specific public spaces and arcades as well as in VR stores for VR headsets.
“Our goal is to come up with the world’s most realistic VR experience. The soundscape and the visual quality are important factors in reaching a realistic mood, when the reference point consists of existing environments. The latter is emphasized, as Varjo’s VR headset offers an exceptionally high-resolution. Only a skilled 3D artist is able to make, for example, realistic water or a wooden surface,” said Miikka Rosendahl, founder and CEO, Zoan. “By means of virtual tourism, the globe can cope with the gigantic growth of tourism. It also offers a traveling opportunity for billions of people who cannot do it due to financial or physical reasons.”
“Helsinki wants to be the city in the world that best capitalizes on digitization and the city is already a significant center for start-up culture and [augmented reality] AR/VR development,” said Jan Vapaavuori, mayor of Helsinki. “At its best, digitization is [offering] increasingly successful services for the citizens and a better Helsinki experience for tourists. A virtual experience representing top quality is a good example of how Helsinki can be sensed in a new way.”