Investors are looking ahead, and they like what they see from one of the first companies highly focused on producing original virtual-reality games.
Playful Corp., the studio responsible for the 3D VR platformer Lucky’s Tale for the Oculus Rift, has raised $25 million in its latest funding round, it announced today. The studio would only say that the money is coming from a “group of private investors.” Playful says it will use this influx of capital to redouble its development efforts. The company wants to create more games like Lucky’s Tale, which is an original property designed specifically for a cutting-edge platform like VR. With HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR all launching within the next 12 months, early standout software has a good chance of helping to define what VR gaming will mean — and Playful now has the backing to potentially build those experiences.
Lucky’s Tale will officially launch alongside the consumer version of Oculus Rift, which is due out in the first quarter of 2016. The game is unique when it comes to VR in that it doesn’t put players in a first-person view. Instead, you have a god-like perspective on the world that Lucky must jump around in.
“Interactive entertainment is the 21st century art form,” Playful founder and CEO Paul Bettner said in a statement. “Now, thanks to breakthrough technologies, our players will literally inhabit our stories, reach out and embrace our characters. It is indistinguishable from magic. That’s why we raised this money. Because the most important growth opportunity our industry has ever experienced is starting now.”
Industry analysts have said that VR and then augmented reality — a technology that will combine VR illusions with the real world — both stand to make $150 billion by 2020. That’s an enormous number, and Playful could establish itself as the “Nintendo” and Lucky as the “Mario” of this new medium.