Metaverse Basketball Game Raises $8 Million
IRL Studios has raised $8 million that will go into the development of its virtual reality basketball app Gym Class VR. In this VR game, you put on a VR headset and hold a joystick controller to channel the inner basketball player in you.
Gym Class VR is currently available on Meta’s AppLab. The game brings players together into a virtual basketball game where you can play against other players located in various venues across the world. The virtual game gives you the same type of community and even the physical exertion element.
IRL Studios co-founder and chief product officer Paul Katsen said the studio aims to create a digital sport and “digital basketball superstars.”
Gym Class VR already notches more than 64 million views from players sharing their content on the social media platform.
The $8 million fundraising will go into further content development for the metaverse.
Participating in this round of fundraising were the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz along with angel investors. The VC firm believes Gym Class VR will usher in the dawn of digital sports. According to Andreessen Horowitz’s Andrew Chen, Gym Class VR has both the potential and the right team to make it a social VR success.
The VR game was developed in late 2020 as a side gig by founders who are basketball enthusiasts. The founders wanted to replicate the communal feeling they normally get in the basketball courts. The first prototype of the game came out in 2021.
Gym Class VR offers players several modes including the shootout mode, passing drills as well as plays inside an open court.
The game allows players to play on a public court and even invite their friends on one-on-one games as well as three versus three games. It also allows players to create and customize avatars.
The immersive virtual reality basketball games are different from traditional basketball video games where the player sits on a couch and use a handheld controller to operate their virtual counterparts. In a VR basketball game, the moves mimic that of a real-life basketball move. The current state of hardware development does not provide a convincing rendition yet but the physics is improving in VR games.
In Gym Class VR, a player crouches down and straightens their legs up to jump. However, shooting in the VR title mimics a real basketball shot.
The developers say the game provides a good workout that helps players burns hundreds of calories.
The free version of the game is available on Meta’s AppLab and has already been downloaded a million times.
The new infusion of cash will enable IRL Studios to grow the game’s community and incorporate additional features like fitness content and creating leagues.
The game is scheduled for launch in the Oculus Store this fall.
However, as impressive as it is, Gym Class VR still doesn’t give you the real-life experience. If you need to get the real feel of a basketball game, you will still need to head out to the court. However, if you are an avid fan of basketball games, this titles levels up the experience and gives you an immersive rendition.