Spain: MED GAIMS supports launching of CREA & PLAY, a new gamification and virtual reality center in Vilanova i la Geltrú


CREA & PLAY is the title of the new gamification center within Neàpolis, the innovation agency of the city council of Vilanova i la Geltrú, which works on the benefits of gamification combined with new technologies in virtual reality. Neàpolis runs the gamification center, while the i2CAT foundation leads a virtual reality lab. The center aims at exploring the use of gaming methodologies applied in different sectors of society, as it happens in the European project MED GAIMS. This project is being developed at this moment while 10 gamified experiences in tourists’ destinations in the city are under implementation. The first ten proposals will be available following summer 2021. At today's presentation, a first tasting was possible, with a virtual walk through the halls of the Víctor Balaguer Museum.

The project is a pioneer in local government. In the short term, CREA & PLAY plans to support municipal initiatives by applying gamified components, conducting technical training for external professionals, advising companies, and becoming a space for attracting talents. CREA & PLAY aims at generating specific links that explore the use of state-of-the-art technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and holoconferencing combined with gamification methodologies, thus generating a unique space that will develop disruptive actions that are beneficial to all citizens. Accommodation in Neàpolis enhances the possibilities of CREA & PLAY by providing audiovisual infrastructures, such as a filming set, an audio recording studio, prototyping spaces (CREA & LAB). Moreover, the accommodation of a film school, Catalonia Film School, the agreement with the Municipal School of Art and Design (EMAID) and the collaboration with the Higher Polytechnic School of Engineering (EPSEVG) are ingredients that jointly will provide technical and human resources to develop quality initiatives. Eventually, the center will become a hub for innovative companies and local talents

In addition to culture and heritage, gamification can make contributions in other sectors, such as education or health. In this sense, CREA & PLAY was born as an environment open to the participation of other institutions and companies. Mayor Olga Arnau emphasized the desire to "continue to promote work on new technologies and explore new areas of application to put the city at the forefront of this sector". "Vilanova is the beginning and we will expand it with an outstretched hand in the territory because we are sure that what will emerge from here will help us move forward in different areas"; she added.  

Sergi Figuerola, CTIO (Chief Technology and Innovation Officer) at the i2CAT foundation, thanked this "very brave commitment of the City of Vilanova i la Geltrú, which will have an impact on the territory." The i2CAT research center is a virtual reality laboratory that develops a new generation of volumetric video-based communication systems. These systems will allow the interaction between people in immersive environments, generating a natural feeling of being present and together sharing the same environment, which can be virtual (virtual reality) or hybrid (augmented reality).“We are happy to have left Barcelona and to install a node here. We are confident that the strategic agreement with the City Council will allow us to grow in digital activities that will have a transformative effect on society”; says Figuerola.

For her part, the Councilor for Business and Innovation, Conxi Martínez, has insisted that “the future expectations that these technologies can bring is enormous, because we are moving towards the creation of new sectors of talent and new jobs, therefore, we have to face a great challenge for the future and CREA & PLAY is a first step”.