Enthusiastic game-streaming platform, Vreal – which had the goal of allowing virtual reality (VR) users to wander around the digital worlds that live-steamers were playing in – recently announced on their website that the company is closing down and dismissing its staff. Since it was founded in 2015, the Seattle-based startup raised around $15 million in venture capital from the likes of Upfront Ventures, Intel Capital, and Axioma Ventures.
A blog post from the company reads, “Unfortunately, the VR market never developed as quickly as we all had hoped, and we were definitely ahead of our time. As a result, Vreal is shutting down operations and our wonderful team members are moving on to other opportunities”.
What did the company actually offer?
The Vreal platform enabled game streamers to share the virtual 3D worlds that they were gaming in. It allowed users to walk about as avatars, or they could venture around by themselves as neutral observers whilst listening to live-streamers slaying hoards of zombies or trekking through some mystical environment.
The company was pioneering a very niche market by developing their live-streaming technology during the early popular years of virtual reality. When their Series A round came to an end near the start of 2018, their platform hadn’t even reached the alpha testing stage. By June last year, the platform was introduced in Early Access on Steam.
Vreal’s platform was designed around a very limited sector; it only applied to streamers with virtual reality hardware who were broadcasting for viewers who also had virtual reality hardware. Those who didn’t have virtual reality gear possessed no means of creating or experiencing the content. A couple of months ago, Vreal said they were working on introducing an experimental web browser view to the platform to extend their range of customers, however, it seems this act came a bit too late to be of any use.