It’s the second time in a year that the company has raised money, and that tells you that generative AI is hot in gaming despite the general economic slowdown.
The London-based studio is developing a dynamic catalog of interactive phone-first shows and creative applications of generative AI in entertainment. Bitkraft Ventures led the second round of investment, with participation from Tower 26 and the Amazon Alexa Fund, as well as additional and returning investors.
The funding brings the company’s total seed round to $8.2 million, following an initial investment of $2.5 million from Vgames, Moonfire, and angel investors including Unity founder David Helgason and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin.
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The investment will be used to develop and significantly expand Scriptic’s content pipeline, and onboard a community of external writers to the company’s AI-led creator service to build, share, and monetize their own stories. The company previously created a horror game, Dark Mode, where the narratives for new horror scenarios were created by generative AI and human players.
Scriptic was founded by Nihal Tharoor (CEO) and Benedict Tatham (Chief Creative Officer), who saw a latent opportunity in the entertainment space: immersive, phone-first interactive shows that sit at the intersection of film and games, and put audiences in control of the action. The company’s phone-first approach makes content efficient to produce, easily scalable, and highly accessible to consumers.
This blend of traditional gaming and visual storytelling has proven successful with mainstream audiences as well as gamers. For the company’s BAFTA-nominated Dead Man’s Phone, 80% of players identify as true crime fans rather than gamers.
In the show, which was recently re-released as the highly popular Scriptic: Crime Stories on Netflix as part of the streaming service’s games offering, players become the lead detective in a gritty crime drama, solving murders through victims’ smartphones.
The company has also launched a number of episodic and short-form titles across a range of genres through its proprietary Scriptic app, which has reached 1.5 million organic installs across Apple and Android to date.
Scriptic is one of the first entertainment companies to leverage generative AI tools in a production capacity, having first used ChatGPT and DALL-E in 2021 to help with content production. The content produced by the studio is a powerful use case for generative AI in story media – blending text, images, video, and audio – into one seamless interactive experience.
The studio’s Dark Mode horror anthology, launched in January, not only leveraged AI for content production but also used it as a creative tool; human creatives worked with the likes of DALL-E, ChatGPT, and Murf.ai to create the series’ visual art, voice acting, text and more. March’s comedy courtroom drama You Be The Judge! and recently-released zombie series Viral both prominently used generative AI tools such as ElevenLabs, ChatGPT and Midjourney in their development, with the latter also employing Runway Gen-2, a multi-modal text-to-video AI tool.
Over the next year, Scriptic will activate its user-generated content (UGC) strategy, first by putting AI-enabled creator tools in the hands of dozens of curated external builders. A cloud-based creator suite will give these writers one node-based service which wires together generative language models, diffusion models, and audio synthesis models, allowing them to create quality and seamless interactive experiences in a short space of time.
This is the foundation of the company’s long-term vision of giving anyone the ability to easily build compelling phone-first dramas. The company is also expanding its team over the next year and is looking to fill new roles in tech, production, marketing, creative and design.
“We created Scriptic with the aim of entertaining the world with stories that reflect our ever-changing digital lives,” said Tharoor, CEO of Scriptic, in a statement. By bringing together a hugely talented creative team, our proprietary tech offering and generative AI technologies, we’ve been able to create immersive stories that really resonate with audiences, purpose-built for the most interactive medium there is – our phones.”
Tharoor added, “Today’s funding, from an incredible cast of new and returning investors, will empower us to pursue our vision of becoming the ‘Roblox of narrative’. We’re excited about building out our pipeline of interactive shows across new and existing IPs, opening up our community for user-generated content, and taking the next step in our ambitious company journey.”
Malte Barth, Founding General Partner at Bitkraft Ventures, will join Scriptic’s board as part of the investment.
In a statement, Barth said, “At Bitkraft Ventures, we firmly believe in Scriptic’s vision of bringing live-action interactive entertainment to GenZ and Millennial audiences through smartphones. By providing users with a true sense of agency by shaping their own interactive narratives, Scriptic redefines the boundaries of immersive experiences and interactive storytelling leveraging a unique AI-based production pipeline.”
Barth added, “We are excited to back the team at Scriptic as they usher in a new category of entertainment by blending game mechanics, AI, virtual influencers, storytelling, and compelling user-generated content on smartphones and multiple social media services.”
Scriptic was founded in 2018 with a focus on collaborations between human writers and generative AI. The company is developing a catalog of interactive phone-first shows that sit at the intersection of film and games, putting audiences in control of the action.
The studio’s growing catalog of shows includes titles in the crime, comedy, horror, and courtroom genres with plans to explore others. Its flagship show, Dead Man’s Phone, was nominated for a BAFTA in 2020 and re-launched on Netflix as the highly popular Scriptic: Crime Stories in 2022.
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