LIV, the Prague-based team behind the eponymous mixed reality game-streaming platform, has secured $2.6 million in a Series A financing round, something the company says will be used to expand its development team, accelerate its streaming technology, and to integrate more third-party games studios.
The funding round was led by Hiro Capital, a new game streaming-focused VC fund led by Inspired Entertainment co-founder Luke Alvarez, Games Workshop co-founder Ian Livingstone CBE, and Cherry Freeman, co-founder of LoveCrafts.
LIV was previously completed a Venture Round this summer to the tune of $1 million by Seedcamp, Techstars, Credo Ventures, HTC Vive, Jaroslav Beck from Beat Games, and Oculus co-founder and inventor of the Oculus Rift, Palmer Luckey. Credo Ventures and Seedcamp are also participating in the Series A round alongside Hiro Capital.
The software essentially lets you visually inject yourself into a VR game so stream-watchers can get a better sense of what you’re doing, be it in the flesh with a dedicated video camera, or through a custom avatar. If still you’re scratching your head as to what we mean by ‘mixed reality’ (the term is flaunted around by some companies to mean different things), check out the video below to see LIV in action:
Founded in 2016 by AJ Shewki, Steffan Donal, and a team of ex-competitive gamers, Twitch streamers, and game developers, the company has since released its software for free on Steam, which boasts support for a number of popular games including Beat Saber (2018), SUPERHOT VR (2017), Pistol Whip (2019), Audica (2019), and plenty more.
“The tools used for broadcasting traditional PC games couldn’t show the intensity of what we were experiencing as players” says AJ Shewki, CEO and co-founder of LIV. “In VR, your body is the controller and that’s part of the magic. As a player, you are fully immersed in VR, but unless we can show the player’s body interacting with their VR environment, the 2D stream audience is missing out. And that’s how we got started — we wanted to level up the VR spectator experience.”
Shewki, also known by his handle ‘Dr. Doom’, says future releases of the software should include dynamic lighting, progression systems and other features as the LIV Play platform becomes a “massive scale MMO for live gaming spectator-ship.”