Market Reality: Augmented Reality Demonstrates Value for Business & Recreation
We continue to field stories underscoring the strong trends of Investment in augmented reality in various sectors. This week, one company strengthens their offerings to the enterprise sector, while two other companies capitalize on the promise presented by augmented reality to consumers – specifically, in gaming.
Augmented reality solutions provider Atheer, Inc. has acquired SpaceView to expand their augmented capabilities.
SpaceView's technologies focus on merging digital and physical work spaces for mobile industrial workforces, which complements Atheer's Augmented interactive Reality (AiR) suite of software and smart glasses for industrial enterprises.
"We're constantly looking for ways to enhance our offerings and SpaceView has an amazing product and solid team for us to build on," said Soulaiman Itani, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Atheer, in a news release. "By bringing this new technology to our AiR products, we'll be able to give our customers the ability to build better mixed reality experiences across the broadest range of smart glass and other AR platforms."
After successfully funding their augmented reality board game, Beasts of Balance, and fulfilling shipment to backers as promised, Sensible Object have returned to Kickstarter with an expansion pack, reaching their goal within six hours of launching the campaign.
Gameplay in Beasts of Balance takes place with both on a game board and a mobile device, using NFC-equipped game pieces to impact play in the digital world. The game mixes the gameplay of Jenga with the character interplay of Pokémon, with players stacking the beast figurines, which interact in the digital environment in various ways. The game is available for iOS and Android devices.
The expansion brings more beasts as well as a competitive battle mode, with NFC-enabled battle cards that augmented play.
"We had an incredible experience with Kickstarter last year. 18 months ago, we were a start-up team with nothing but a prototype. Thanks in large part to the support of the Kickstarter platform and its community, we were able to bring this ambitious, groundbreaking game to life. Having shipped the game on time to an amazing response, we're ready to take things to the next level. Our players and backers have been hungry for new ways to play and new pieces to collect, and we can't wait to share our work with them," said Alex Fleetwood, founder and CEO of Sensible Object, in a news release.
Game developer Velan Studios closed a Series A round of financing, bringing in $7 million to fund its mission of "building new entertainment experiences around emergent technologies."
The investment round was led by Velan Ventures. In addition, Charles Huang, CEO of entertainment investment firm Indigo 7, will join the board of directors for Velan Studios. Huang gained notoriety as co-founder of gaming studio Red Octane and co-creator of the uber-successful Guitar Hero franchise.
Velan Studios is the second game studio founded by brothers Karthik and Guha Bala. In 1991, the brothers started Vicarious Visions, which was eventually acquired by Activision in 2005. Vicarious worked on numerous hit titles, including Skylanders, Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk, Crash Bandicoot, Spider-Man, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
In their latest venture founded last year, the brothers will explore augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics, but will also continue developing games on existing platforms.
"AR, robotics and other emergent technologies are going to have a profound impact on gaming. We see an opportunity to create new and engaging entertainment experiences enabled by them," said Karthik Bala, who serves as CEO of Velan Studios, in a news release. "We are excited to partner with some of the leaders in these new spaces to find the magic and the fun."
Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.