April 21, 2023 – Vinci Games, a virtual reality (VR) game studio, has recently announced that it has raised USD $5.1 million in a seed funding round led by Makers Fund, with participation from Y Combinator, Soma Capital, Pioneer Fund, Anorak Ventures, BonAngels, and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin.
Vinci Games was founded by CEO Nathaniel Ventura, formerly at Oculus, and CTO Maciej Szcześnik, former lead game designer of The Witcher series at CD Projekt Red. The funds raised will be used to support the development of the studio’s first game, the competitive, socially driven VR basketball experience ‘Blacktop Hoops.’
Blacktop Hoops is an arcade VR basketball game that brings authentic and fast-paced competitive streetball into the virtual world. According to the company, it features the intuitive dribbling, dunking, and shooting basketball mechanics specifically designed for VR, allowing players to experience the excitement of streetball with full-body avatars and immersive environments.
“We’re excited to build the next generation of competitive sports in virtual reality,” said Nathaniel Ventura, CEO, Vinci Games. “This round of funding helps us grow our team and build new groundbreaking features and content pushing the boundaries of VR. Blacktop Hoops has been designed from the ground up to be easily accessible for casual players with a high skill cap for competitive players; it’s extremely easy to pick up but difficult to master.”
In addition to the funding announcement, Vinci Games has also launched an open beta that introduces the first downloadable content for Blacktop Hoops with the ‘Rising Legends’ pack. It brings five bosses for players to face off against, inspired by real-world streetball legends.
“We’ve built the most cutting-edge AI systems for a VR sports title with hundreds of motion-captured animations and adaptive AI that respond to how you play,” said Maciej Szcześnik, CTO, Vinci Games. “You feel just like a pro baller going toe-to-toe against world-class basketball players.” The company added that the download bundle also gives players new customization features such as emotes, custom courts and dunk explosions.
For multiplayer, the beta also offers fast-paced competitive and casual 1vs1, 2vs2, 3vs3, and 4vs4 matches. Since its Alpha launch, Blacktop Hoops has risen up the charts to become the second most popular app on App Lab with a 4.9 rating and over 9,000 reviews, and a 90% positive rating on Steam, according to Vinci Games.
“Blacktop Hoops is unique in its approach to competitive, arcade-style basketball to VR platforms, and our investment was driven by the Vinci Games team’s commitment to crafting a unique basketball gameplay experience and vision to develop the most immersive, social and, above all else, fun virtual experience possible,” said Gregory Gunadi, Makers Fund. “Vinci Games has assembled a world-class team with deep experience in VR and games, and we look forward to supporting them as they continue to grow the player community seeking new competitive sports-based challenges in VR.”
Blacktop Hoops is now available for free beta access on Quest App Lab and Steam. For more information, check out blacktophoopsvr.com.
Image / video credit: Vinci Games
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.