Description

Virtual Air Guitar Company is a Finnish indie studio specializing in motion games, from full-body action to precise fingertip control. The company was founded in 2006 by computer vision and virtual reality researchers.

History

In the beginning...

... there were three university students who created an air guitar that you could actually play. This simple but awesome system used computer vision to track the player's hands, producing shredding solos and crunchy chords. The story was picked up by New Scientist and then a host of science media, and we students decided to find a way to get everyone to play air guitar by making a video game that would use this new computer vision technology. Thus was born the Virtual Air Guitar Company in 2006. Right from the beginning, our mission was to develop both cutting-edge technology and great games that would use it. The idea and subsequent business plan won the Finnish Venture Cup prize in 2006.

From guitars to kung-fu

The Virtual Air Guitar game was never released - it was cancelled by the publisher, as these things go. Our first release came in 2010 in the form of Kung-Fu Live for PS3, which used the PlayStation Eye camera to transport the player as themselves into the world of classic kung-fu comics. Featuring the player's own live video image in the game without using professional green-screening was something no-one had done before. Kung-Fu Live was followed by Kung-Fu High Impact on Xbox 360 in 2011, which used the brand-new Kinect to bring Kung-Fu to a new level.

The lean years

Following Kung-Fu High Impact's release, its publisher went belly-up. Elsewhere, Kinect became a dirty word in the media. Publishers didn't want anything to do with Kinect, and self-publishing wasn't possible on Xbox 360. Our team shrunk, and we needed to expand to other areas of motion control. We survived by doing internal demos for creators of camera hardware and software, as well as two games for the Leap Motion Controller: Boom Ball and Boom Ball Adventures. Two more Kung-Fu projects were started: Kung-Fu Live became the flagship product for a Chinese console - which sold few units and then quietly disappeared. We also collaborated with PrimeSense, the creator of the Kinect camera hardware, to bring Kung-Fu to Smart TVs. This project got cancelled when Apple suddenly bought PrimeSense.

Joining the Indiegeddon

In 2013, Indie games had become a thing. Microsoft announced the ID@Xbox program, which would allow anyone to self-publish on Xbox One. We were now able to control our own fate again. Kinect for Xbox One was a major technical improvement, there was a fan base for motion games, and Kinect was being treated positively in the media again. Boom Ball for Kinect was released in November 2014, followed by Squid Hero for Kinect in July 2015, then Beatsplosion for Kinect in December 2015.

Projects


Videos

Beatsplosion for Kinect (2015) YouTube

Squid Hero for Kinect (2015) YouTube

Boom Ball for Kinect (2014) YouTube

Kung-Fu High Impact (2011) YouTube

Kung-Fu High Live (2010) YouTube


Images

There are far more images available for Virtual Air Guitar Company, but these are the ones we felt would be most useful to you. If you have specific requests, please do contact us!


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Awards & Recognition


    Team & Repeating Collaborator

    Aki Kanerva
    Founder, Designer, Programmer

    Ilkka Kalliomäki
    Programmer


    presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks