Virtual Reality is technology that simulates physical presence via a head-mounted display. What makes VR unique compared to other media formats is the potential for complete immersion.
Market analysts estimate the VR market opportunity to grow from single digit millions in 2016 to billions of dollars in 2020. But the question is what will consumers do when they’re in their Oculus, Vive, Sony, Samsung or Google Cardboard – also known in the industry as Head Mounted Displays? Our view is that they will consume different kinds of media: games, animation, cinematic storytelling, live action sports - and they will want to do it with their friends.
VR + Social = Social VR
AltspaceVR is the leader in "social VR". Their product allows users to communicate and share experiences in a 3D virtual online environment, where they can co-view media, play a cooperative game, discuss a 3D model, tour a real-world drone-captured volcano or have a private conversation in the corner of a virtual living room. One of the most compelling features is the ability to watch streaming video from services like YouTube, Netflix and Twitch in VR. Imagine Game of Thrones streamed in a 2D web player in the shape of a TV screen hanging on the wall of a 3D space you are sharing with a friend on the other side of the world.
Most VR content in the market today takes the form of 2 – 3 minute "shorts", which makes sense given the early stage of the content and hardware ecosystem. Altspace has average users session times of 25 minutes, which is an industry leading time for engagement. The reason users stay engaged, some up to several hours at a time, is because AltspaceVR is inherently about social communication.
"One of the things people love to do in AltspaceVR is watch things together. They watch Netflix, Twitch and YouTube. We’re excited that Comcast knows a ton about content. They can help us understand that content landscape," says Eric Romo, CEO and Founder of AltspaceVR.
Comcast Ventures joins existing investors Tencent, Dolby Family Ventures, Raine Ventures Lux Capital, Western Technology Investments, Maven Ventures, Promus Ventures, Streamlined Ventures and Rothenberg Ventures.