While Oculus, Valve, and more focus on developing the hardware for virtual reality, one company is already well on its way to cornering the VR app market.
Wear VR (it uses the stylized “WEARVR” logo) is an app store specifically for virtual-reality games, and it has just raised $1.5 million to help expand and improve its offerings. A group of Atlanta-based investors raised the cash, and Wear VR plans to use the influx of capital to add new features to the story. The company is specifically planning to launch an app that will enable people to discover VR software on their mobile devices. Earlier this week, research firm Digi-Capital predicted virtual-reality and augmented-reality markets could reach $150 billion by 2020.
“Despite minimal marketing, we’ve witnessed phenomenal interest in Wear VR since we launched in July,” Wear VR cofounder Nic Mitham said. “This funding will allow us to reach the growing number of people excited by the possibilities of virtual reality, as well as expanding the store’s functionality, as requested by our vocal and passionate community of VR fans.”
Coming up on a year on the market, Wear VR now has 900 unique virtual reality apps. Collectively, consumers have downloaded that software more than 200,000 times. And all of this comes even though no major VR company is selling their devices to consumers yet.
Wear VR is trying to establish itself now so that content-hungry early adopters have a place to go when they’re looking for something new. That might include 360-degree videos, which is something that Wear VR is investing in.
“Our priorities include growing and harnessing the power of our community, and increasing the number and range of experiences offered through the store,” said Mitham. “We’re also looking to add a recommendation engine and implement user-curated game lists.”
The company also says that it will continue to operate agnostic of the various VR platforms. Even as Oculus and the other companies release their consumer hardware and official stores, Wear VR will operate independently.
“It’s important for us, and our users, that Wear VR offers the broadest range of VR software,” said Mitham. “With new devices being announced on an almost-weekly basis, virtual reality is about more than Oculus Rift: we want fans to know that they can download and access games from Wear VR for whatever device they’re using.”