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Matt Wells is a badass. A former British army paratrooper, mountain climber, expedition leader, and entrepreneur with a passion for helping people experience adventure. After his career jumping out of perfectly good airplanes for the military, he founded a youth expedition company leading over 40,000 people on more than 3000 adventures.
So what does a badass like Matt do for an encore? How about starting the first paragliding simulator company using virtual reality, so millions of people can experience what only a handful can do in real life? What it feels like to fly on the wind.
Frontgrid is Matt’s vehicle to deliver these experiences. His first version of ParadropVR was a modest success. It was big, a spectacle, and expensive, finding its way into mostly high-profile tourist venues like the Dubai Mall, Resorts World Genting, and iFly Indoor Skydiving in England. Matt knew if the masses were to experience what it’s like to paraglide, he needed a more accessible solution suitable for a wider range of venues.
Matt and his team went back to the drawing board to create something smaller, less expensive, and easier to operate. The result is the ParadropVR Pod.
You might not know that paragliding is both a recreation and a competitive sport. Every year, pilots gather for the Paragliding World Cup (PWC), a global competition that visits five or six different locations worldwide. Flyers navigate a course with specific turn points and a finish line. Whoever finishes the fastest, or flies the farthest if nobody finishes, is the winner.
Now anyone can swipe their card and take to the skies thanks to the magic of virtual reality and a unique simulator system. Players choose their course from a growing selection, sit in the hardness, grab the control lines, and take to the skies.
To foster this spirit of competition, ParadropVR created the Parasphere League, an online leaderboard showing the top 10 scores from around the world. The mobile-optimised website provides persistent profiles so players can build points and skills over time. Matt envisions ParadropVR as part of the nascent but growing location-based VR esports movement. To that end, there are a series of avatars that players can adopt, which show up in-game, and online.
The Valley Drop puts flyers in a lush river valley, Cave Drop makes them explore different caverns, and Alpine Drop elevates them to the top of the world around snowy mountains. There’s also a Fly Snowdon series where flyers can explore Snowdonia National Park in Wales. And the newly released Neon Nights series offers three night-flights with bright colors that will captivate anyone’s imagination. ParadropVR is an extreme VR simulator in a compact package, that is accessible to almost any family entertainment center. It’s sure to thrill people of all ages and become a real centerpiece in an arcade.