Draw & Code, one of the world’s most experienced immersive content studios, have announced an R&D and product development studio based in Malta. The new arm for the UK company will focus on innovation; this includes developing original IP in the AR and VR space while seeking to build on Draw & Code’s existing patent portfolio.
With 130 projects completed over the last decade, Draw & Code is known as a prolific and respected virtual and augmented reality content studio. Acting as an agile development team that enables global brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Sony Music, Warner Bros and Nokia to embrace the latest emerging technology, Draw & Code’s client work is growing and now the next step for them is a dedicated facility to develop their own IP.
This investment in a new studio has been enabled by support from Malta Enterprise, the agency tasked with economic development and strategy on the island. One of their areas of focus is developing Malta’s already growing technology and games ecosystem, something that appealed to Draw & Code as they sought an EU presence to guard against the effects of Brexit and to extend their reach beyond the UK.
Draw & Code co-founder and technology director John Keefe explains how the UK studio came to open an operation in the Mediterranean; “We discovered Malta’s interactive and spatial technology scene while working with exciting new tech developed on the island and we felt an affinity with the people and the place immediately.”
With 20 years in the industry, John is a regular visitor to technology hot-spots around the world; “Like our Liverpool home and with some similarities to our extended visits to the US West Coast, Malta is a place where natural and human history meets technology; the environment feels like it is teeming with stories and we’re at home in a place like that.”
It soon became clear to the immersive technology veterans that this was a place that valued and supported investment in the ecosystem from innovation-focused companies. Malta Enterprise worked with Draw & Code to ensure they are well connected to people and find the right place for their operations.
Silvio Schembri, Minister for Economy and Industry underlined his satisfaction with this announcement: “Building sustainable ecosystems in the digital economy has always been a priority in our economic vision. I met John and his team three years ago and soon after, as part of our strategy to create new economic niches, we launched a strategy spearheaded by Gaming Malta to grow the video game, esports, and immersive technologies sectors. Today, we are starting to reap the fruits of these efforts. Draw & Code embraced this vision and choosing Malta to expand their R&D immersive technology hub is a testament to these strategic efforts we are focusing on. We remain steadfast in our vision on the importance of Malta being at the forefront of addressing emerging technology. Our continued investment in creating a business landscape which nurtures gamification high potential ventures spearheaded by Gaming Malta will augur a successful integration of Draw & Code in our ecosystem and culture.”
Malta’s Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli welcomed the announcement: “In parallel to its efforts in supporting established industries, over the last months Malta Enterprise has also been working hard to foster the right environment in establishing new economic niches. This is the case with the AR/VR industry as well as with other new economic niches including drones, digital games, cybersecurity, AI and more. We are very proud today to welcome Drawn and Code to our business ecosystem. The Maltese Government believes that the presence of this industry leader and their experience with internationally renowned brands will not only be a crucial pillar in developing this niche but will also be an important enabler in supporting established tech and non-tech companies as they develop their products and services. The studio will also be underpinned with the creation of new RDI quality jobs. We thank John and Andy and the rest of the team for their trust in Malta and commend both Malta Enterprise and Gaming Malta on their efforts to attract quality companies to the country.”
The R&D studio is created from a former hotel and as such offers residential space for employees and collaborators to stay on-site during projects when appropriate. Beppe Scavo, Draw & Code’s senior development lead will be heading up the local team; “We see this studio as a chance to separate our original IP development from the core client projects, allowing us to focus on new ideas, products and patents while still acting as a base for any EU-based client work too.”
With Malta offering talent, access to EU markets and a burgeoning games and technology ecosystem, Draw & Code will be joining ESL, King and other top tier companies on the island when their studio opens in Q4 2021.