vrfocus | January 29, 2019
Virtual reality (VR) location-based entertainment (LBE) can be a tricky business. Companies like The VOID and Zero Latency have seen success further expanding their global presence, while others such as IMAX VR have had to shutter operations. Sandbox VR, a Hong Kong-based provider also looks to be on the up and up, recently announcing a successful investment round securing $68 million USD.The series A funding round was led by Andreessen Horowitz reports Business Insider, with Mike Maples from Floodgate, Stanford University, TriplePoint Capital, CRCM, and Alibaba also participating.Founded in 2016 by CEO Steve Zhao, Sandbox VR developed its own hardware and software solutions to create an out-of-home VR experience that can be fitted in shopping centres and other locations. “When we first opened in Hong Kong in 2017, when we opened the location, for the next 60 days we were sold out from morning until night,” Zhao said.Since then Sandbox VR has managed to expand its presence to more locations in Asia as well as North America including Bangkok, Singapore, Los Angeles and San Francisco. With the new investment, the company plans further expansion, not only adding new locations but also developing new in-house experiences you can’t get anywhere else.
variety | January 28, 2019
Hong Kong-based virtual reality (VR) startup Sandbox VR has raised a $68 million Series A round of funding from Andreesen Horowitz, Floodgate Ventures, Stanford University, Triplepoint Capital, CRCM and Alibaba. The company wants to use the new cash infusion to launch new VR centers in New York, Tokyo and elsewhere.Sandbox currently operates VR centers in 6 cities, including San Mateo, Calif., Vancouver and Hong Kong. In those locations, it offers players the opportunity to freely explore a stage, and play together to fight zombies, aliens and undead pirates in a series of location-based VR experiences.“We believe this new medium is not about better movies or a more immersive game,” the company wrote in a blog post Monday. “It’s something else entirely, and we as an industry will need to learn from the best of both mediums — movies and gaming.”“Once the ecosystem around Sandbox begins to achieve critical mass, we expect that the technology will unlock a golden era of storytelling and interactive, immersive entertainment,” said the venture capital firm’s general partner Andrew Chen in a blog post Monday. “Some of this will look like gaming, some will look like film, and yet others will resemble music, documentaries — as well as other new, VR-native genres we’ve yet to invent, in much the same way people eventually moved beyond trying to redo plays in early movies. ”
vrfocus | January 18, 2019
Location-based entertainment (LBE) attractions are starting to really push the level of variety they can offer customers, from comedy puzzle titles like The VOID’s Ralph Breaks VR to realistic simulators such as Paraflight VR. Now it’s time for a classic fairground attraction to get the virtual reality (VR) treatment, with a VR bumper cars attraction opening in Germany soon.The work of VR Coaster and Holodeck VR, the VR bumper cars attraction is called Steampunk VR Scooter and will be based at Erlebnispark Schloss Thurn in Heroldsbach near Nuremberg.The ride will take visitors into a Wild West-style Arena where they will compete against each other with retro-futuristic steam engines. Guests will not only compete with each other but also against giant robotic enemies, so to help them there are additional extras and upgrades that players can pick up.“With this world’s first VR Bumper Cars Attraction, we will once again open a new chapter in Location Based Virtual Reality.” says Prof. Thomas Wagner, Managing Partner of VR Coaster GmbH & Co. KG in a statement. “With the combined Know-How of the teams at VR Coaster and Holodeck VR, we were able to create an unprecedented, interactive VR experience, which holds some very exciting surprises!”