‘Panic Room’ Developer Kuato Studios Secures $6.1 Million Funding Round
The UK-based educational games developer Kuato Studios has raised in a new funding round as it expands into virtual reality for the first time.
The new funding round was led by Horizon Ventures, a fund that has in the past invested in Improbable, Genvid and Razor among other companies beyond the gaming industry.
Kuato Sudios’ first ever virtual reality project was the multiplayer title Panic Room in which a person wearing the VR headset plays the “actor” who explores a 3D environment with a second player on a tablet or PC playing the “director” and observing and manipulating the actor’s VR experience on the fly.
Kuato Studios didn’t explain the educational aspect of Panic Room but the studio patented its “Actor/Director platform” and has envisioned various use-cases for the platform such as providing parents with a means to monitor their kids’ virtual reality experiences or as a professional training tool.
The new funding has come as the studio is planning to develop the actor/director platform that powers the gameplay in Panic Room.
It is also coming at a time when Kuato Studios is looking to enter the Virtual Reality gaming scene for the first time.
The studio’s bid to create a shared immersive experience where a VR ‘Actor’ explores a virtual reality environment that can be manipulated by a ‘Director’ on a tablet or a phone within an Actor/Director platform led it to create Panic Room.
In Panic Room, a player escapes a mysterious cabin that is deep in the woods. The player needs to find various keys to escape and the non-VR player (on phone or tablet) is there not to help but to hinder the ‘Actor’ in VR. The ‘Director’ does this hindrance by dropping various scary surprises into the virtual environment.
According to Kuato Studios Managing Director Mark Horneff, the studio is excited to launch the game as part of its ambition to shift into the virtual reality market. The company plans to bring newer experiences away from the current single-person experiences that currently predominate the VR market.
Panic Room is an internet-based experience and can be played either on Zoom or by two individuals who are in close physical proximity. Kuato plans to apply the same concept to “other developments to support family connectivity.”
According to Horneff, Kuato plans to test its technology with Panic Room before extending it to its library of games that align with the studio’s education-driven ethos that offer kids an experience where they can learn and play as their parents, teachers or carers oversee their gameplay.
Panic Room is already available on Oculus Store as a free download for Rift. Its accompanying app is available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
Keep reading for future updates on Kuato Studios’ latest developments.