×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MGM-Backed Survios Names Seth Gerson CEO, Founding CEO Nathan Burba Becomes President (EXCLUSIVE)

MGM-backed virtual reality (VR) startup Survios has elevated its chief business officer Seth Gerson to the CEO role, with founding CEO Nathan Burba staying on as President. The changes were announced internally Friday, and are part of the company’s strategy to double down on VR arcades.

“As we are looking to expand into location-based entertainment, Seth is uniquely positioned for that,” Burba said in an interview with Variety Thursday.

Survios is best known for its VR shooter “Raw Data,” and recently began shipping the VR racing game “Sprint Vector.” The company has also announced a VR music creation app called “Electronauts” as well as the VR boxing game “Creed: Rise to Glory,” which it has produced in cooperation with MGM. Both titles are scheduled to ship this year.

However, unlike other VR startups, Survios hasn’t just been focused on selling titles to early adopters who already have a VR headset at home. Instead, the company early on embraced arcades as a way to reach a potentially much bigger audience. “Our first check came from a VR arcade,” said Gerson.

Survios has partnered with VR arcade operators in 36 countries all around the world, distributing its own titles as well as those from partners like Sony Pictures. And earlier this year, the company opened up its own arcade in Torrance, Calif. as a testing ground for its location-based ambitions.

That arcade has been really well received, said Burba. “We have lines out of the door.” Part of Survios’ secret sauce for its arcade is the company’s own VR pod, called the Tesseract, built to encourage bystanders to watch. “VR should be as much fun to watch as it is to play,” said Gerson.

Going forward, Survios has plans to open additional owned-and-operated arcades, but also wants to work with other arcade operators to improve their experience — an effort that Gerson compared to Google producing its own phones as a way to steer other Android handset makers in the right direction. “We are creating inspirational flagships,” he said.

Gerson didn’t want to give any estimates on how many of its own Arcades Survios plans to open, but sad that he’d ultimately like to see venues like these become as popular as Yoga studios.

As for Survios, the company will continue to make its own games and experiences both for home-based VR as well as arcades, Gerson said. “You have to have both to have sustainable success,” he said. In addition to “Electronauts” and “Creed: Rise to Glory,” Survios plans to release two additional, still-unannounced titles over the next 12 months.

The company has raised more than $54 million from funders including Shasta Ventures, Lux Capital and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and struck partnership deals with AT&T, Intel, IMAX, Sony and Nvidia among others.

More Digital

  • Colin Kroll Dead Vine Obit

    HQ Trivia and Vine Co-Founder Colin Kroll Dies at 35

    Colin Kroll, co-founder of the Vine video app and the HQ Trivia game, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment early Sunday of an apparent drug overdose, Variety has confirmed. He was 35. New York Police Department officers responded at 12:18 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, to a call by Kroll’s girlfriend who was concerned about [...]

  • Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA Signs Gaming Influencers Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA has signed two popular live-streaming battle royale gamers — Nicholas Amyoony, better known as Nick Eh 30, and David Steinberg, aka StoneMountain64 — for representation. CAA said it will work to create opportunities for Nick Eh 30 (above left) and StoneMountain64 (above right) in all areas, including TV, motion pictures, touring, digital distribution and [...]

  • Amazon Adds NBA League Pass to

    Amazon Adds NBA League Pass Live-Streaming Games to Prime Video Channels

    Amazon is bringing pro hoops action to Prime Video Channels: The ecommerce giant now offers NBA League Pass as part of its lineup of 150-plus subscription options for Prime members in the U.S. It’s the first U.S. live-sports subscription service on Prime Video Channels. Prime members can subscribe to NBA League Pass via Prime Video [...]

  • Fifty Shades of Grey

    International Piracy Ring Stole Over 25,000 Movie and TV Digital Files, U.S. Feds Say

    A five-member international hacking crime ring stole more than 25,000 files for Hollywood movies and TV shows and illegally offered hundreds of them for sale online, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. A federal grand jury in L.A. on Wednesday (Dec. 12) indicted five men, identified as residing in the U.K., India, Dubai and Malaysia, [...]

  • Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president

    Apple to Update iPhones in China to Avoid Sales Ban

    Apple is pushing out a software update to iPhones in China to address a recent court order obtained by Qualcomm that banned the sale of certain iPhone models in the country. The update will allow the company to continue selling its phones in China, company representatives told Reuters Friday morning. The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court [...]

  • Kevin Reilly Variety Cover

    Kevin Reilly Named Content Chief for WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Kevin Reilly — a veteran television exec who has led programming at NBC, FX, Fox, and most recently Turner Broadcasting — has been tapped to head content strategy for the still-nascent streaming service that WarnerMedia plans to launch next year. Reilly, who has led programming at Turner brands TNT and TBS since 2015, will serve [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content