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Wevr, a longtime maker of virtual reality games and interactive experiences, has raised $3.5 million for spatial computing and real-time 3D production.

HTC Corp. and Epic Games, two of the original backers of Wevr a decade ago, led the round. They’re adding to their investment as Wevr expands its Virtual Studio technology and real-time 3D production capabilities.

Advances in spatial computing and new headset technology have created big opportunities and demand for brands to engage communities creatively, said Neville Spiteri, cofounder of Wevr, in an interview with GamesBeat. I met Spiteri when he was showing off TheBlu (pictured at top), a mezmerising virtual reality experience that let you swim among sea creatures at the bottom of the ocean.

As a pioneer XR studio developing state of the art immersive experiences for the last decade, Wevr is now poised to lead the evolution of spatial content creation and service brands worldwide.

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“Wevr is an incredibly creative company with a command of XR technology. They are the ones to beat in this space,” said Cher Wang, CEO of HTC, in a statement. “We share the founders’ mission and passion for creating high quality spatial content and bringing immersive experiences to the next level on premium XR systems.”

“Wevr is a long-time leader in immersive content creation,” said Kim Libreri, Epic Games CTO, in a statement. “We are excited to see how they take their Virtual Studio platform and Unreal Engine expertise forward to develop next-generation spatial experiences.”

Wevr’s background

Wevr’s founders Neville Spiteri, Marcel Samek and Anthony Batt.

Wevr cofounders are Neville Spiteri, co-creator of the seminal VR title TheBlu; Anthony Batt, who previously ran Katalyst studios in partnership with Ashton Kutcher; and Marcel Samek, formerly CTO at Electronic Arts.

They continue to lead the studio forward, combining their deep technology and creative backgrounds. Wevr has produced some of the most groundbreaking, fully immersive and location-based experiences of the past decade including Harry Potter VR with Warner Brothers, TheBlu immersive ocean franchise, brand experiences with Google, Samsung and Universal, and collaborations with Jon Favreau, Deepak Chopra and Run The Jewels.

“The value-add of engaging demanding fans and brand communities with interactive immersive experiences is more evident than ever,” said Spiteri. “We were pioneers in the space with the first generation of headsets and are excited to lead in this next wave and produce the most compelling experiences for entertainment and non-entertainment brands alike.”

Additionally, Wevr announced that veteran transmedia executive Tim Dillon has joined the leadership team as EVP Business Development. Dillon has extensive experience in interactive and immersive media, experiential and emerging technologies, including at Media Monks and Moving Picture Company (MPC).

Wevr is developing spatial products on Apple Vision Pro, HTC Vive, Meta Quest and other devices and screen formats, leveraging their Virtual Studio technology. Wevr announced Virtual Studio in 2022, and it has continued to develop the platform for game developers since then.

It has been updated to work with the latest version of Unreal Engine 5.4, and Wevr itself continues to use its own platform, or “dogfooding” the platform. Spiteri said he was pleased that the original backers of Wevr still believe in the company.

With this year’s launch of the Apple Vision Pro, Spiteri is excited about what it means to have Apple’s support for XR and spatial computing across multiple industries. The success of the Meta Quest series of VR headsets has also encouraged Wevr.

“The kind of applications that they’re talking about are really what Wevr has been working on and thinking about for for a decade now,” Spiteri said.

That means things like immersive video or expanded storytelling. Wevr worked with Warner Bros. on its Harry Potter VR experience.

“We’re leveraging a lot of the experience we developed previously,” Spiteri said. “The space is clearly mature. The metaverse hasn’t gone away. I think there is an opportunity right now. The shift to real-time 3D continues to happen and brands continue to invest there. It’s an exciting time.”

Batt added, “We’ve been pioneering fully immersive simulations at the highest levels. And we are encouraged to see that the market is enjoying these things together and out of home, and both online and in games. You can see that the demand in games is quite high. Kids are playing those things and we want to co-create with the brands and IP owners to continue creating their stories.”

Wevr is smaller than it used to be. The core team is about six executives, and then the company hires production people as needed. The company will soon ramp up projects that will require more than 50 people.

Transport’s premium VR apps.

Spiteri said the platform tools required a lot of investment over the last two years. Now the company has a suite of cloud-based DevOps automation solutions that are being used by customers. The company is providing tooling for productions and will announce more later.

“Our business this year will be based primarily on us engaging with specific content productions in the immersive space,” Spiteri said.

A long journey

Wevr was the first company to have access to dev kits from Valve for its SteamVR. And it launched TheBlu a decade ago as a 360-dgree video. It worked with Deepak Chopra, made a storytelling VR game Gnomes and Goblins with Jon Favreau, and did work with Dreamscape on location-based VR entertainment. Wevr not only survived that journey but thrived in its creativity.

“GPUs are getting more powerful, the tools are getting more powerful. The consumers want to be entertained in interactive experiences and stories,” Batt said. “They want to do things together rather than separate. And even if you’re playing a game, you’re still online streaming it and so consumer behavior has shifted as well.”

The past couple of years were among the hardest in the history of venture funding, Spiteri said. The fact that the company was able to raise the funding is a testament to what the founders built, Spiteri said. Batt said the company got term sheets from others.

Gnomes & Goblins debuted on multiple VR platforms.

“This is not the climate to go raise $25 million or $30 million,” Spiteri said. We were very thoughtful about what makes the most sense for the business at this juncture. Our current backers have stepped back in. It became clear that our content production business and signing up more brands and IP owners for us to work with, and grow our revenue was the right move while continuing to build out our platform.”

Spiteri sees Epic Games as a model for helping developers build experiences that gamers consume by the millions. In 2022, when the hype around the metaverse was strong, Wevr gravitated to Epic’s view of the metaverse. Batt thinks that the Apple Vision Pro brings back notions of stereoscopic video and 3D in a way that is quite stunning.

“We believe that the tools to be making that kind of creative experience have never been better. Ten years ago, there was head scratching going on about whether you make can immersive creations in VR. After doing this for ten years, the answer is yes. More importantly, the tools, specifically Unreal, have given us the ability to do that,” Batt said in an interview. “And so we see that the opportunities are limitless, and the devices are getting more powerful.”

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