According to Karen Bhatia, vice president of tech at NYCEDC, the city had studied why VR and AR growth hadn't yet taken off in New York, and through interviews with various stakeholders, all the "main parts" of the industry were in the city—the technologies, researchers, creators, academics, financiers—but it was fragmented.
"We saw an opportunity here if we created a physical space, a lab, where they could all come together and be housed under the same roof but simultaneously have a space where they could experiment," she said. "It could catalyze further development of VR and AR technologies here in New York City."
Along with the city's investment, Bhatia said officials are also seeking private investments for RLab. And between public-private partnerships and various revenue sources, she said the center could be self-sufficient within three years. Another initiative within RLab will be to build a relationship with a similar lab in London, which could include collaborations and visits between the two.