September 6, 2019 – VRChat has announced that it has successfully closed a USD $10 million Series C investment round of funding. This latest financing includes new investor Makers Fund, alongside existing investors HTC, Brightstone VC and GFR Fund.
Graham Gaylor, CEO of VRChat, said: “Our goal is to connect people and enable them to interact as if they were in the same room. Any kind of social experience you could want should exist, and if it doesn’t, somebody should be able to create it. Makers Fund has deep experience with these types of platforms and will help VRChat move towards its goal.”
The company has stated that the Series C investment will allow it to expand the VRChat team and continue growing its platform and community, adding that partners like Makers Fund and HTC open unique opportunities to help VRChat further its goal as a virtual universe.
Rikard Steiber, President at Viveport and SVP VR at HTC, commented: “VRChat has cracked the code of creating engaging social experiences in VR. We are excited to continue working closely with VRChat as they help people connect with each other and the communities they love the most in VR.”
Jay Chi, Founding Partner of Makers Fund, added: “Graham, Jesse and Ron have a bold vision to enable and empower diverse communities through limitless virtual identities and experiences. We see great potential here and are very excited to partner with the VRChat team on this journey”
Built using the Unity game engine, VRChat is an ever-expanding virtual universe powered by a passionate community, which enables users to connect with friends and make new ones from around the globe. Using Unity, Blender, Maya, or any other 3D authoring software, creators can build avatars or worlds and upload them to share with others via the VRChat SDK. This open-ended creativity and the dynamics of sharing in an active social environment is what powers VRChat.
Unity also offers the Unity Asset Store, and VRChat has worked with Unity to curate a list of assets that creators might find useful while building content for the platform. The list contains tools, 3D assets, and supported components that many ‘VRChatters’ are utilizing for building new and creative content. This makes it simple for even a new creator to piece together a world or an avatar in very little time.
Although VRChat supports all leading PC VR headsets and many VR accessories, a VR headset is not required to participate. All that’s needed is a PC that meets the minimum requirements for the platform. However, according to Jesse Joudrey, VRChat’s CTO: “It is a very common story for people to join VRChat without a VR headset, have a memorable adventure, and immediately seek out virtual reality hardware to upgrade their experience.”
The company has stated that for years it has wanted to help further the ability of VRChat creators to build complex, interactive content for their worlds, and has always believed that it is one of the key components to a fully-functional VRChat Universe.
VRChat ‘Udon’ – an in-development programming language designed specifically for VRChat – exists to help facilitate this. It utilizes a ‘node graph’ graphical interface to permit both new and experienced users to create complex, interactive content for their VRChat worlds. As a result, the company anticipates that Udon will “be a big deal”, and will have a massive impact on the types of content the community can enjoy in VRChat once it is released. Udon is expected to help to unlock a whole new class of creativity in VRChat by allowing content creators to build far more interactive worlds, games, and experiences. Udon is currently in internal testing, and planned for release in Q4 2019.
Overall, VRChat is still in the early stages of development, however, this latest round of investment, as well as help from the company’s partners, will allow VRChat to continue expanding its platform. The company has stated that it is currently working on adding more tools to enable its community to create, play and share in more exciting ways.
VRChat also published a short preview of its roadmap for the future:
Image and video credit: VRChat/HTC Vive/YouTube