June 16, 2024

Mikayla Macfarlane

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Thirdverse raises $8M for VR gaming expansion

4 min read
Thirdverse raises $8M for VR gaming expansion

Thirdverse has raised $8 million in its latest funding round to continue its investment free-to-play and premium virtual reality games.

This boost brings the company’s total funding to $38 million, reinforcing Thirdverse‘s commitment to pushing the boundaries of VR entertainment.

The funding, acquired through a third-party allocation of new shares, marks a big moment for the San Francisco-based virtual reality game development, distribution, and management company. Having initially raised capital prior to its corporate spin-off in 2021, Thirdverse is now well-positioned to intensify its focus on the development and global marketing of two groundbreaking VR titles X8 and Soul Covenant, said Hironao Kunimitsu, CEO of Thirdverse, in an interview with GamesBeat.

The investors in the round include B Dash Ventures, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital., Ltd., Now Inc. and Shinsei Corporate Investment Limited.


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Thirdverse's leaders. Hironao Kunimitsu is in blue.
Thirdverse’s leaders. Hironao Kunimitsu is in blue.

“This is very exciting for us, as we also just launched X8 on the Meta Quest and Steam stores,” Kunimitsu said. “We believe this game will enable esports on VR as it will be available as a free-to-play game.

X8 is a multiplayer hero shooter that recently made its debut on the Meta Quest and Steam stores on November 9.

Kunimitsu said the fundraising environment was tougher than it has been in the past. But the company is entrepreneurial and continues to pursue its vision.

Developed by Thirdverse U.S. Studios, the VR title had previously entered early access on the Meta Quest App Lab and Steam in May 2023, amassing 100,000 downloads within five months. The game has not only laid the groundwork for VR esports in Japan and abroad but has also hosted three successful esports events.

Meanwhile, Soul Covenant is a thrilling VR dramatic action game, unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show 2023, with an official release scheduled for early 2024. This latest addition to Thirdverse’s portfolio further solidifies the company’s commitment to delivering cutting-edge and immersive experiences.

X8 is a VR game from Thirdverse.
X8 is a VR game from Thirdverse.

Kunimitsu said, “We are thrilled to have raised $8 million USD in funding to continue our mission of pushing the boundaries of VR gaming. The success of X8 and our upcoming Soul Coventnt release demonstrate the incredible potential of VR, and we are excited to bring these experiences to an ever-growing global audience.”

The funding round attracted a diverse group of investors who share Thirdverse’s vision for the future of VR gaming. The company’s innovative approach to the industry and its commitment to delivering immersive experiences have garnered recognition from investors who see the tremendous potential in Thirdverse’s endeavors.

Since the beta launch, “We have a lot of downloads and strong user feedback,” Kunimitsu said. “We are excited for the official launch of X8. And we are preparing our Japan team to create Soul Covenant. This is a dramatic action game. We believe this Japanese intellectual property will have strong action and a strong story.”

“Some say the VR market is in a winter and is a disappointment,” he said. “I think the numbers are good for regular game developers and we will see new competitors come into the market next year with new headsets for VR.”

On top of that, Kunimitsu believes that GenZ players will drive the VR market forward as they embrace it and play it for longer times than other consumer groups.

Hiroyuki Watanabe, CEO of B Dash Ventures, said in a statement, “The virtual reality market is rapidly growing. With Apple and Meta striving to bring VR into the mainstream, we anticipate the global enthusiasm for VR will continue to grow. Thirdverse’s VR games have the potential to be enjoyed worldwide as evidenced by X8, which has been played globally since its launch. Additionally, we expect that the upcoming game title Soul Covenant will provide an immersive experience for everyone with its unique worldview and narrative. B Dash Ventures will continue to support Thirdverse, a leading VR company representing Japan.”

And Junichi Taguchi, general manager of Mitsubishi UFJ Capital., Ltd. Investment Department No.2,
said in a statement, “We’ve been involved in the gaming industry for many years, and it’s incredible to see that Thirdverse is at the forefront of VR gaming and esports. VR gaming is on the cusp of a transformative era and Thirdverse’s vision aligns with this exciting future, and I’m thrilled to join them on this journey.”

As for the metaverse, Kunimitsu said his company is still working on it aggressively along with other companies, despite pushback on the word “metaverse” as overhyped.

“I think that mass adoption is coming,” he said. “Teenagers are going to lead the core market.”

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