With hundreds of millions of virtual reality headsets (smartphone-powered and stand-alone devices) expected to ship over the next 4-5 years, it was only a matter of time before major television networks would take notice and jump on board in a big way. That’s just what seems to be happening today as both HBO and Discovery have announced an investment in OTOY, a cloud-based graphics software company working closely with the VR and AR industries. OTOY also happens to have a partnership with Jon Stewart, and a vision of producing original holographic content for its users, thanks in part to technology they are working on to speed up the rendering process.
In exchange for the funding provided to OTOY, both HBO and Discovery will take equity positions within the company, and work closely on producing content targeted towards VR and AR devices and much more.
“OTOY technology is a massive breakthrough and we look forward to seeing it take VR and AR experiences, including Discovery VR, to a whole new level,” said Paul Guyardo, Chief Commercial Officer at Discovery Communications.
While the funding is incredibly important to the company, who’s valuation was last estimated at just north of $300 million, it’s the close ties with networks such as HBO and Discovery which could take OTOY’s technology to the next level. There is little doubt that the future of media consumption lies both in virtual and augmented reality and that demand for such content will steadily be on the rise over the coming years. As networks begin exploring ways to create and deliver such content, HBO and Discovery are now in an enviable position of having OTOY as a partner. Already Discovery has plans to use this new partnership as a means to create new VR experiences for Discovery VR, their platform application for delivering VR content via mobile devices and the internet.
“The future of media and entertainment is not going to be constrained by a screen, nor consumed through monolithic apps or platforms,” said Jules Urbach, Founder and CEO, OTOY. “OTOY’s mission is to make holographic and immersive content a mass market proposition for consumers, artists and publishers alike. A key part of this endeavor is unifying production and delivery of content across all possible endpoints, from HTML5, to TV and social, to wearables. With HBO and Discovery as strategic investors and content publishing partners, we couldn’t be more excited to work together to map out the future of entertainment.”
While we are sure other networks will soon enter the space for VR content creation, HBO and Discover seem to have gotten out to a nice head start. Let’s hear your thoughts on this investment in the HBO / Discovery OTOY Investment forum on VRTalk.com.