Great things often start at taverns. Revolutions, for some reason, seem to start at taverns called the Green Dragon. And though we weren’t planning to chuck tea into a harbor, virtual and augmented reality professionals from around the northwest braved the snow and ice to discuss a quieter, friendlier tech revolution over drinks and demos.
An idea is crackling in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. It’s called Cascadia – a new regional hub for a new virtual era. It is the idea that these three cities will become the nexus of VR and AR development, shifting the center of gravity from California’s bays and valleys north to Cascadia’s trees, drizzle and coffee shops.
The shift is an obvious move. Many of the hardware developers are here. The creative workforce needed to create VR and AR are here. The culture of the cities fits the work that needs to be done and the development dollar, which evaporates quickly in Silicon Valley, will last longer here.
The Cascadia VR meetup on December 9th at Portland’s Green Dragon was a collaboration between the Oregon Games Organization, TechFestNW, Vancouver VRARA, and the Canadian Consulate. Over the next few years we can expect to see more. Oregon has a particular advantage in this three region market. We’re cheaper, so the startup runway is longer here, and the creative culture and workforce here will foster that growth. As these companies continue to sprout in our wonderful state, OGO will be here to help.
Many thanks to all who attended and to the people and organizations that made this happen, in particular Shauna Noah at TFNW and Peter Luong with Vancouver VRARA.