It's nice to see Social VR booming!
VRChat, the popular social VR platform, announced its secured a Series D funding round of $80 million, which brings to the startup more than five times its overall lifetime investment.
VRChat is a free app that brings together VR and non-VR users in user-generated spaces that can range from the mundane to the truly fantastic. Having celebrated its first taste of virality back in 2018, the PC and SteamVR-compatible app went on to include support for Oculus Quest in late 2020, which propelled it yet further with record-setting concurrent user numbers. The company now boasts over 40,000 concurrent users.
The company says the investment will “expedite development of a creator economy where members can earn, an enhanced social discovery system for more meaningful experiences, and expansion to more platforms. These enhancements will contribute to VRChat’s rapid growth and allow more people to access this virtual universe.”
Last year, social VR app Rec Room also dipped its toes into the digital economy by offering its creators real financial reward for developing on the app, which includes things like premium experiences, avatar accessories, and in-game gadgets. Rec Room also posted some pretty substantial funding, as its latest round garnered it a $100 million Series D and a $1.25 billion valuation.
This means Rec Room and VRChat now rank among some of the most valuable VR companies outside of platform holders Facebook, Valve, and HTC.
Note that this "economy" will likely include In-App purchases, which is something we already see in Rec Room. It's basically a Roblox Model (which also includes Banner Ads).
In related news, Rec Room is expanding its userbase to Android users. I have always loved the idea of VR Experiences being open to non-VR users. This is just another step in the right direction.
After its massive $100 million USD funding raise a few months back, social virtual reality (VR) platform is gearing up to welcome even more users by expanding its mobile support. Today, the company has announced that Rec Room will support Android devices Fall 2021.
Even though Rec Room originally launched as a VR-only social app where users could hang out, play games and explore user created rooms, the platform has massively expanded support where its now available for iOS, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Steam, Oculus Quest, and PC VR headsets. So Android was always going to be on the list. Now, at least, Android owners wishing to step into Rec Room know there’s not too long to wait.
Mirrors! We need more mirrors! 😄
Actually mirrors done a lot to VRchat popularity. You could be immersed in first person VR and same time you see yourself in a mirror from a side. So you could correct your pose and do correct gestures for others.
Other thing is features and integration to external tools and devices.
You could do real time face capture (face/mouth expression) and transfer it to VRchat avatar. Next you could record it and stream 🙂
Or you could get ten or more body trackers and make a real life dance in VRchat with legs and elbows tracked and shown in VR! That is insane! You could dance in you home (in real) but lot's of people see you around the world! And you could choose any avatar you like with cool visual effects like fire-dancing and neon lights!
Also integration with avatar creators tools and clothes creators are great move.
ps. How is Sansar there? They have started with digital economy but... with some restrictions to how avatars should look like. And in VRchat you could have any visual model to avatar. That has had huge impact I think.
Yeah, thanks for pointing this out.
Yes, this will be fascinating - both are paid for and so we can see how the different business approaches work in the market of public opinion. Understand there will be some unhappy that VRchat will survive.
work in the market of public opinion. Understand there will be some unhappy that VRchat will survive.
Interesting. If I had to guess, I would say anyone vested in VR Arcades would be unhappy about VRChat and RecRoom getting so much funding, as this will only increase the sophisticated experiences global consumers can have at home with VR; making much harder for VR Arcades to attract repeat business.
Thanks for asking @Nekto2 - it is an interesting observation.
The VR arcade scene is split into 'independents', 'chains' and 'specialist' venues - of the chains there are services such as SpringboardVR (just acquired by Vertigo Games) that offers a package that includes "special versions" of key licensed content for deployment in these venues.
Regarding why a commercial version of VR chat or RecRoom is not available is broken down into two points - the first is resources, the developers having limited teams to spend on a niche sector, even though now it is recognized to be bigger opportunity than previous considered.
And that brings us to the other point which is recognition. The devs were fed some really bad information about the scope of the commercial entertainment sector - that said, they have redressed the situation (thanks in part to new investment), and we hope to have some news on that front in a coming column.
Hope that answered your question.
Thanks for info!
Good to know that things are changing.
I have some idea of "special versions" inside Springboard vr chains. I see why it is better (no logins, all levels unlocked from the start etc).
Have you any info why Sprigboard vr is sold? I think it is a sign of hard time for vr arcades.
Your welcome @Nekto2
Yes I have to agree that the sale of the largest of the VR arcade content and management providers looked on the surface as an indicator of that part of the market. But seeing Vertigo announce their increased investment into this business, and their leading competitor receiving new investment, maybe things are changing in that scene?