SK Telecom (SKT) will join hands with domestic and overseas information and communication technology (ICT) companies such as Facebook, Kakao and Nexon to expand a 5G-based virtual reality (VR) ecosystem.
SKT launched the “Virtual Social World,” a 5G VR service that allows users to connect with many other people in a virtual world irrespective of space and time, on Nov. 19.
In the Virtual Social World, a user can decorate his avatar and play VR movies in his personal space, “My Room.” He can raise pets and grow plants. He can leave the room and wander around seven themed virtual spaces and meet other users. In a club, he can enjoy popping a bottle of champagne with friends and select songs as a DJ. He can have a blind date in front of a virtual cup of coffee in a cafe room or a fan meeting in a performance hall. He can enter a League of Legends game scene, enjoy highlight battles, and take selfies to share with other people. Anyone who has VR devices, such as Oculus or Gear VR, can enjoy this service through “Jump VR” App in the Oculus Store.
SKT plans to increase the number of its VR service users, which now stands at about 100,000 a month, to more than 10 million next year based on the new VR service. In the first half of next year, the company plans to lay the foundation for Korean and foreign users to meet in one world by expanding the number of cloud computing servers with multi-language support and enter the global market by starting the service for users in the U.S. first,.
SKT has joined forces with many companies to expand the virtual world infinitely. First, in cooperation with Facebook, it has officially launched Oculus Go, a stand-alone head mount display (HMD) VR device that does not need a smartphone or PC. Until now, Korean users could only buy the device from overseas but SKT is in charge of sales of the device and after-sales services for it.
SKT has partnered with Kakao to set up a theme space in which Kakao Friends characters appear in the Virtual Social World and sell “the Friends VR World,” a VR game which Kakao VX is developing at home and abroad. Earlier, SKT had formed an alliance with Kakao through an exchange of shares. This is the first achievement since SKT and Kakao signed a strategic partnership at the end of last month.
SK Telecom is also developing VR games based on Nexon's popular games, Kart Rider, Crazy Arcade and Bubble Fighter.