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HTC Invests $5 Million in VR Studio From Pixar and Lucasfilm Veterans

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HTC is continuing their commitment to invest heavily in the VR ecosystem and have their eye on one Oakland-based independent VR development studio.

Steel Wool Studios, a VR studio formed by creative veterans from Pixar, Lucasfilm and Telltale Games — today announced that they have raised $5 million in Series A funding coming entirely from HTC.

HTC is the company behind the Vive VR headset and have in past six months been investing heavily in initiatives to help grow the virtual reality space. Back in April, HTC announced they would dedicate $100 million to its Vive X VR accelerator program to make small early stage investments in hardware and content companies driving the virtual reality ecosystem forward.

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The latest funding round in Steel Wool Studios will support development of multiple VR projects already underway, which span game, simulation, and narrative-based concepts according to the studio. The first of these upcoming projects will be an interactive simulation titled Mars Odyssey that will launch on Steam on September 9.

“The Steel Wool Studios team carries an impressive pedigree of creative talent that has already proven its ability to build cutting-edge content for the nascent VR category,” said Cher Wang, CEO, HTC Corporation. “Taking a look at Mars Odyssey and Steel Wool’s other projects under development, it’s immediately clear that this studio will drive VR adoption with great content that balances amazing visual fidelity with strong storytelling.”

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Founded in 2011, Steel Wool Studios started off experimenting with 2D narrative-driven gameplay experiences on mobile. However, after the founders visited Valve HQ and experienced early prototypes of the Vive headset in 2014, the company quickly shifted focus and dedicated themselves to virtual reality. In April, the studio launched Quar: Battle for Gate 18, an action strategy title, on Steam for the HTC Vive.

Image Credit: Steel Wool Studios

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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