Sandbox VR Has Raised $68 Million for Location-Based VR Experiences
The virtual reality startup Sandbox VR has raised $68 million in a Series A funding. The Hong Kong based HR startup raised the funds from Stanford University, Alibaba, Andreesen Horowitz, Triplepoint Capital and Floodgate Ventures. The new funds will be used to fund the company’s virtual reality centers in New York, Tokyo and other cities in a drive to roll out location-based virtual reality experiences.
Currently, the virtual reality startup runs various VR centers in six cities across the world including Vancouver, San Mateo and California among others. Players in these centers can freely explore the VR stage and play each other in fighting aliens, zombies as well as undead pirates in a series of location-based virtual reality experiences.
The new Sandbox VR ecosystem provides the best from the film and the gaming worlds and the company expects to the technology to unlock a new era in storytelling as well as of an immersive and interactive entertainment once it has a critical mass in the market. Some aspects of the new technology will be more like the traditional gaming while others will draw from the film genre. Some of it will also draw from documentaries and music to create powerful storytelling in a new technology. The startup is also expecting to tap into other future VR-native technologies that will enhance its location-based virtual reality entertainment.
The startup is one of the new ones in the VR space that is working towards the creation of virtual reality experiences in both movie theaters and malls. Other competitors in the niche include The Void which has partnered with Disney and other players in the space to create high-profile franchise content. There is also Nomadic and Dreamscape which are also active in the space.
From anecdotal evidence, there is already a high demand for these kinds of experiences. However, the location-based approach is yet to gain traction. A case in point is Imax which was planning to roll out its own virtual reality centers but has since announced that it is quitting the market. The company recently closed its flagship VR center in Los Angeles.