Gamifying Virtual Vehicle Showrooms

Eccentric Engine focuses on the taking the customer experience to a virtual world

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Established by Varun Shah and Gaurav Rane, Eccentric Engine is transforming the automotive industry by providing a showroom-like experience virtually. The duo started Eccentric Engine as a brand service company that intended to create an omnichannel experience by leveraging gaming and interactive technology. However, they felt that the automotive sector had the opportunity to bring about a virtual revolution in the space that changed the customer experience.

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"Racing games have a feature where you can customize the car, you can spin and zoom it. Imagine being able to do that to every car and that was the same question we asked ourselves what stops us from doing that. We wanted to make it look good and we used gaming techniques for visualization on the Internet," said Shah, co-founder, Eccentric Engine.

Shah highlighted that the process of visualization on the Internet required a massive amount of compression to happen for it to be functional on the website. The company used a lot of techniques used in games which enhanced the quality of the product and it was not heavy for the website to run.

"We partner, we're factory integrated with automotive companies which means the blueprint of the vehicle is the input I get from them in turn to develop our 3D representation from scratch. The blueprint is what helps us understand the geometry, the structure and the materials and everything else the vehicle comes in with. Our engine essentially takes that as a reference point and recreates it," added Shah.

The company has also coined interverse which is essentially a property to unlock new ways of interactions. The co-founders share a belief that there are no limits to interactions since there are infinite ways to go about and explore something in the 3D space. According to Shah, there have been multiple aspects of research before establishing Eccentric Engine. Graphics have been one of those multiple aspects of research and the other aspect was consumer insight.

"Graphics are improving every single day. Hardware is becoming way more efficient. Every year phones adapt to playing high-quality content and as that evolves the sheets, the kind of standards that we use to give that given content and to make that also evolve. I think we worked closely with our partners to get insights in place for them which help them plan their product enhancements various facelifts any other modification that they want to make to their existing products," said Shah.

Eccentric Engine also researches the customer's journey from research to buying the car. The company researches the motivation for the buyer to actually buy the car, the friction points that prevent the buyer from continuing that exploration, etc.

Exploration of vehicles shifted online during the pandemic which meant that the company had the opportunity to reduce the number of showroom visits which was one of the biggest deterrents for customers while buying a vehicle. Fewer visits to the showroom would in turn cut down on the distance covered and pollution.

"The industry is going towards EVs, why is it that the whole process of buying is still just so primitive? Our research shows that just by eliminating the visits to a given showroom from five to two, we can actually cut down India's carbon footprint by 0.01 per cent."

The bootstrapped has plans to raise funds in the future. Shah believes vehicles will be seen very differently with a lot of subscription models that would start coming in the future and the whole showroom visit would probably be very different from what it is today.