AltspaceVR, a virtual reality chat room and communication platform, just raised $10.3 million, which it will use to work towards a business plan that could include paid virtual gatherings with celebrities. Founded in 2013, Altspace launched its VR chat room in June. Its global user base spends time on the site chatting, browsing, playing games or watching videos; the software runs on Oculus, Mac and PC desktops and 3D TVs. Users can add a Leap Motion or Kinect motion sensor to add gestures to their robot avatars.
The new infusion of cash brings AltspaceVR investments to $15.7 million, reports TechCrunch. One of the selling points of AltspaceVR, says chief executive Eric Romo, is that users stay on the site for an average of 25 minutes, whereas most VR experiences just last three to five minutes.
Live events have proven to be very popular among AltspaceVR users. In one, a scientist visited a volcano crater and, with the help of drones, led a VR tour for AltspaceVR users. The site now has a list of events, including film screenings, e-sports and gamer meetings. The company has also created V20, a VR space for role-playing games including Dungeons & Dragons, where some users have stayed as long as three-and-a-half hours.
All events are currently free, but TechCrunch notes that the site could create a market for pay-per-view VR. Romo enthused about one of the new investors, Comcast Ventures, for its expertise in content. “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… can help us understand that content landscape.”