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Sussex's Thriving VR and AR Scene: A Catalyst for Innovation and Job Creation

Brighton and the wider area of Sussex is known for its rich history and vibrant culture. However, in recent years, the region has been making waves (see what we did there?) with its thriving tech scene, particularly in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Sussex is now recognised as a hub for cutting-edge developments in these immersive technologies (which are collectively known as XR), driving growth and creating exciting job opportunities.

A National Leader in VR and AR

While London dominates the UK's immersive technology sector, boasting half of the total immersive company turnover and 55% of employees in the industry, Sussex, and more specifically Brighton, has been punching well above its weight. Brighton ranks third in the UK for the number of companies working in immersive. That’s an impressive 118 businesses, placing us only behind Manchester and London. This reflects the city's commitment to fostering innovation and growth in the digital creative industry - something we at Wired Sussex have been supporting and lobbying for from the start. 

The Growth and Impact of VR and AR in Sussex

Sussex has seen a significant surge in VR and AR technologies in recent years, with various companies working on groundbreaking projects across diverse sectors. From entertainment and gaming to education and healthcare, these technologies have revolutionised the way we interact with the digital world. Furthermore, their increasing adoption is driving demand for talented professionals in this field, generating new job roles and skill requirements.

Search for immersive tech opportunities on the Wired Sussex Jobs board [link]. 

Notable VR and AR Companies in Sussex

Let's take a closer look at the companies leading the charge. Many of these have long-standing relationships with Wired Sussex and have advertised on the Wired Sussex Jobs board over the years, so do keep an eye out for opportunities here! 

Some of the most prominent Sussex-based VR and AR firms include:

  • Make Real: An award-winning immersive tech studio which specialises in creating VR and AR experiences for industries such as automotive, construction, and defence.
  • FuturLab: A critically acclaimed game developer known for integrating AR into innovative gaming experiences.
  • Future Visual: A passionate team of professionals offering VR training, marketing, and event services, focused on delivering successful outcomes for customers.
  • VRCraftworks: A company that creates value-driven VR, AR, MR, and 360° experiences, working with global brands worldwide to enhance stakeholder experiences.
  • Inkibit: A female-led collective of artists and technologists creating immersive experiences using AR and VR to help underrepresented groups tell their stories.
  • Preloaded: A BAFTA-winning game studio based in Brighton, boasting a turnover of £3.2 million and contributing to the thriving digital creative industry in the city.

Working in Immersive

As VR and AR continue to gain traction in Sussex, a myriad of job roles and opportunities have emerged. From creative roles such as designers and developers to more technical positions like engineers and data analysts, the demand for talent is immense. Additionally, roles like project managers, sales representatives, and marketing specialists are also essential to support the growth of these innovative companies.

Skills You’ll Need to Thrive in the VR and AR Industry

A diverse skillset is your golden ticket. Some essential skills include:

  • Programming languages: Proficiency in languages like C++, C#, and Python is crucial for developing VR and AR applications. Unity, the most widely used engine for VR and AR development, primarily uses C#, while Unreal Engine, which is catching up, allows programming in C++ and the use of visual scripting through blueprints.
  • Game engines: Familiarity with popular engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine is essential for creating immersive experiences.
  • 3D modelling and animation: A strong foundation in 3D modelling and animation helps in designing realistic virtual environments.
  • UX/UI design: Understanding user experience and interface design principles is critical for creating intuitive and engaging experiences
  • Soft skills: Communication, problem-solving, and adaptability are vital as professionals must collaborate effectively and navigate the ever-changing landscape of VR and AR.

With a diverse range of roles and skill sets in demand, Sussex's VR and AR scene promises an exciting future for the Digital, Media & Tech sector. The region's success serves as an inspiration for other cities and regions to invest in and nurture their own immersive technology ecosystems, contributing to the overall growth and development of the UK's VR and AR industries.

Want some more info about VR and AR tech? Reach out to the Wired Sussex team on You can also book a tour of the FuseBox, our R&D lab, here. 

About the author

Chris Chowen

Hi, I'm Chris, Wired Sussex's Innovation and Technology Manager. I help to facilitate the Brighton Immersive Lab, offer support to the FuseBox residents and lead our programme of Brighton Immersive events.

View more posts by Chris