Sandbox VR Receives $11M Investment From Film, Music, And Sports Celebs

Immersive entertainment: Hollywood goes holodeck.

For decades, the film and entertainment industry has helped us visualize and imagine worlds unknown. Now, with the evolution of location-based entertainment, “LBE” providers such as The VOID, Zero Latency, ILMxLAB, Dreamscape Immersive, and Spaces are shaping the future of immersive entertainment. 

Sandbox VR, another location-based virtual reality entertainment startup – recently secured a whopping $68 million in a Series A investment round led by Andreessen Horowitz earlier this year. During the latest “strategic” round, led by David Sacks of Craft Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz Cultural Leadership Fund, garnered another $11 million in funding by forward-looking film, music and sports celebs including Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Will Smith, Kevin Durant, Honda Keisuke, and more.

“We’re incredibly honored to be able to work with some of the most talented and influential artists, athletes, and actors in the world,” said Steve Zhao, Founder and CEO of Sandbox VR. “Their support is a vote of confidence that our platform will one day become the new medium for the future of sports, music, and storytelling.”

Progressive Technology and Experiences 

It’s been predicted that by 2023 LBE (Location-Based Entertainment) will make up about 11% of the VR industry. This is one of the primary reasons why the “hyper-reality” format has proven successful so far. Despite the fact that modern VR technology has been out in the wild for roughly three years now, headsets are still expensive and quality content is scarce. As a result, the at-home VR market has remained relatively small (Licensing Source).

With Sandbox VR’s full-body motion capture technology, users are offered enhanced VR experiences nearly impossible to recreate at home. Not only can users physically walk around their environments, but they can actually feel the world around them thanks to a combination of haptic feedback technology and other immersion-enhancing elements.

The Sandbox VR content lineup currently includes: UFL, Amber Sky 2088, Star Trek: Discovery, Deadwood Mansion, and Curse Of Davy Jones.

When Hollywood Meets Immersive Experiences 

We spoke with Zai Ortiz, Hollywood Creative Director turned game-maker, and mastermind behind the J.A.R.V.I.S. system holograms which — along with Iron Man’s futuristic UI — has become a visual hallmark of Marvel movies. For nearly 20 years, Zai has created VFX showcasing what the future could eventually look like. Now, he’s using those same talents to make that same future a reality.

“With the rise of location-based entertainment and blistering pace of tech advancements in AR, VR, AI, machine learning and robotics, our collective is creating immersive experiences that merge stories, emerging technologies, blurring the lines between gaming, film and play in the physical and digital world.” Said Ortiz, “The more accessible immersive experiences are to the masses the more rich experiences that can be created to advance the future of gaming and entertainment.”

What Does the Near Future Hold? 

Sandbox VR is going beyond Hollywood by bringing the Holodeck to neighborhoods around the world. Sandbox VR establishments can currently be found in 9 cities across the US and Asia – with Austin, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and San Diego locations coming soon.

With an entrance price of $35-$45 per person, it’s more expensive than going to the cinema. Then again, you are receiving a hyper-realistic 4D that puts you inside the story, rather than just spectating it. Hopefully, this significant celebrity contribution is just a taste of Hollywood’s involvement in location-based entertainment.

Feature Image Credit: Sandbox VR

About the Scout

Valerie Vacante

Val Vacante is the Director of Strategy for global customer experience agency, Merkle, a dentsu company, where she uncovers cultural trends, designs strategies, and next-generation innovations. Val is also the Founder of strategy and innovation firm Collabsco. Val has pioneered digital products and integrated marketing experiences across digital platforms, connected communities, IoT, and extended reality experiences for Fortune 100 brands and up-and-coming startups. Named Top 25 Women in Tech, 40/ Forty, and Top 10 Pioneering CEOs to Follow, she serves on the SXSW Innovation Advisory Board, MassChallenge Expert, an international speaker, and writer. You can likely find her at arcades, museums, tech incubators, and almost anywhere creators are designing the future.

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