A new round of celebrity funding could help boost social virtual experiences
Words: Alexis Ong; Illustration: Jacob Stead
With virtual reality (VR) poised to dominate the world in the coming years, Hong Kong-based Sandbox VR recently received a welcome injection of US$11 million courtesy of celebrities such as Katy Perry, Will Smith, Japanese soccer pro Keisuke Honda and American basketball star Kevin Durant.
This means more star power (and money) behind one of the most exciting technologies on the market today. Sandbox VR, founded by Steve Zhao in 2016, is a truly free-roaming experience where users wear backpack computers instead of being tethered to a console. It offers cinema-style, full-body motion-capture technology to create immersive escape rooms and activities so that Sandbox users can interact, form co-op teams or compete – a remarkable step for an activity often considered a solitary entertainment experience.
The technology could also be used for more immersive marketing opportunities. “We believe VR is finally ready to take off as a mass-market phenomenon in malls, where it can be optimised for a social experience,” David Sacks, general partner at Craft Ventures, told Nikkei Asian Review. Craft, who led this round of financing, has also invested in Elon Musk’s Boring Company and Reddit.