Kuato Studios is bringing shared online experiences to virtual reality to boost connections and enhance monitoring after securing £4.5 million in funding with the help of Horizons Ventures
➨ Existing Kuato investor Horizons Ventures led the funding round
➨ Founded in 2011, Kuato traditionally creates apps and educational games
➨ Its recent pivot into virtual reality, Panic Room, utilises its new Actor/Director platform, which allows gamers to interact and engage in a shared online space
Kuato Studios, the UK-based developer of educational games, is pressing ahead with its shift to virtual reality based on a shared experience concept, after raising £4.5 million in funding.
Existing Kuato investor Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, led the funding round, with its venture capital lead, Teddy Chatjaval, paying tribute to the developer’s “longevity and adaptability to the ever-changing interactive entertainment landscape”.
Founded in 2011, Kuato traditionally creates apps and educational games, including in partnership with brands such as Disney and Marvel.
Its recent pivot into virtual reality, an escape room-style experience called Panic Room available on Oculus Rift, utilises Kuato’s new Actor/Director platform, which allows gamers to interact and engage in a shared online space.
Kuato says a typical Actor-Director scenario involves a virtual reality headset-wearing ‘actor’ interacting with a virtual 3D world, which can be viewed and controlled by a ‘director’ through a secondary device such as a tablet, mobile phone, or PC.
According to Kuato, this approach elevates virtual reality from a solo activity to a more interactive and shared experience. It also offers the opportunity for third parties such as parents, teachers or carers to have visibility of a child during virtual reality gameplay.
‘The chance to escape but stay connected’
Mark Horneff, managing director of Kuato Studios, explains: “Virtual reality has progressed significantly over the last decade, but a primary issue stems from the fact it’s a single-person experience. We are incredibly excited to be launching this game as part of our ambition to shift into the VR market.”
“In the current circumstances where interactions are at arm’s length and done remotely, we wanted to offer gamers the chance to escape but stay connected with friends and family, and also open the platform up to third party developers to use as well.”
“Panic Room is an internet-based experience which can be played over Zoom or with two individuals in close proximity—a concept we will apply to other developments to support family connectivity.”
He adds: “Our aim is to create compelling and memorable virtual reality experiences where gamers of all ages can share moments with their friends online. Our model offers a simple, social and cost-effective solution.”
“Our vision is to test out the technology with Panic Room and then extend it to our library of games, which align with Kuato’s education-driven ethos where children can learn and play, whilst parents, carers or teachers can oversee gameplay.”
Chatjaval of Horizons Ventures says: “We are thrilled to continue our close relationship with Kuato Studios at this exciting time when they are developing the Actor/Director platform for VR. This is a testament to Kuato’s longevity and adaptability to the ever-changing interactive entertainment landscape.”
Images: Kuato Studios