Gaming has been one of the most popular entertainment categories in the past two years of pandemic. Now, a gaming startup building a new kind of platform that it thinks will be a — wait for it — game changer in the category is announcing some funding to capture that wave of attention.

PortalOne, which builds an immersive gaming platform that describes itself as a hybrid in more ways than one — it combines games with a game show/talk show format, and it’s designed to work across devices from mobile to consoles and VR headsets — has Raised $60 million. The startup — based in Oslo but with a significant presence also in Los Angeles — plans to use the funding to further build its platform and operations en route to its first commercial launch: PortalOne Arcade, a journey into a retro “arcade.” ” with multiple games.

PortalOne Arcade has been running in closed beta since last year and the company has an opt-in list for those interested to try it out, but what the team has built and its plans for the future are enough to attract some very interested people. big names.

Tiger Global leads this round, a Series A, which also includes Scooter Braun’s TQ Ventures, Temasek, Avenir Growth, Founders Fund, Talis Capital, Connect Ventures, Animoca Brands, Access Industries and Coatue Management, along with “a number of high-profile angel investors This round comes about eight months after PortalOne raised a $15 million seed round, also notable for its size and backers. It featured game icon Atari, who is partnering with PortalOne to develop some of his brands and IP in that Arcade launch.

Bård Anders Kasin, the CEO of PortalOne who co-founded the startup with his brother Stig Olav, said in an interview that the company plans to release PortalOne Arcade sometime later this year, but in closed beta, the startup now has so’ produced n 200 shows. He said this proves his belief that the technology it assembled — which combines advanced game design, live broadcast, interactivity, and a low-cost approach to capturing and processing video all in the cloud — is scalable.

“It’s a very high number of shows, given the complexity involved,” he said.

Stig has spent time in LA building out the company’s studio there and plans to set up more of these studios in other cities around the world.

PortalOne builds its business in the middle of a perfect storm.

First of all, gaming, like other streamed entertainment, has been a lifesaver for many consumers who had to stay at home during the pandemic. That has led to record levels of interest and engagement in games, which in turn has resulted in a slew of newcomers to the space (including some from other entertainment industries, such as Netflix).

This has also resulted in the category becoming one of the hottest tech startups right now, with investors rushing to put money into what they believe are the most promising players in the field. In the past few weeks, Yahaha and Spyke have announced that they’ve raised $50 million and $55 million respectively — and neither of them have launched anything yet. (Both are conducting closed betas and other pilot projects, which in themselves are costly efforts in this area.) Meanwhile, a more established, but still very young (launched last year), startup called Dream Games, now has a $2 paper valuation. reached .75. billion after its round, which was also announced earlier this month.

Secondly, PortalOne fits perfectly into the zeitgeist. “Metaverse” has become one of the buzzy catchphrases of the moment, and while it’s leaning dangerously close to overuse and becoming meaningless (or has it already happened?), it’s currently sparking a lot of interest among companies larger and smaller considering how and if they fit into that new realm.

PortalOne seems almost tailor-made to fill a gap in the metaverse: one of the big problems with VR and AR (two of the precursor concepts of metaverse and industrial endeavors) was a decided lack of engaging content, along with other hurdles with related to hardware and more. With its “hybrid” mantra, PortalOne positions itself as extremely flexible, to be used on whatever platform a user might have at hand.

And the focus on creating both relaxed (broadcast) entertainment mixed with engaging gameplay, utilizing many well-known game brands alongside completely new titles, is a mix that will, again, potentially be ready to appeal to different demographics, different users and the different moods that consumers can have when looking at their screen.

Bard tells me the startup has spoken to a pretty wide range of companies in the gaming and social ecosystems — from those operating platforms to console giants and those that publish content, and companies that build technology to make all of this possible. But just to be clear, for now, at least the company is very focused on building its own kind of walled garden, the Arcade, where people will play. That is, even if and when PortalOne creates an experience to use in someone else’s metaverse (or more prosaically a third party console), it will put people in its own “metaverse” world.

This is partly due to the way PortalOne has built its platform.

“One of the big things we solved in the beginning was how we could scale this,” Bard said, “being able to produce the amount of content we can in a modular and efficient platform. It’s a cost-efficient breakthrough: the production of our hybrid games is well below industry standards.” The modular approach has to do with how video and game are captured, as well as how PortalOne reuses components across games (with all those components in the cloud) “This is part of our secret sauce.”

That sauce is something investors believe will be mass-market flavor.

“We believe PortalOne is building an innovative experience at the intersection of gaming and entertainment. We are excited to support the Kasin brothers and their talented team as they continue to build and grow the business!” said Evan Feinberg, partner, Tiger Global, in a statement.

“PortalOne is building a platform that brings together the most popular forms of entertainment into one seamless experience that will appeal to every category of artists,” added Scooter Braun. “This is the next place in the world of immersive gaming, with unlimited content possibilities.”

This post PortalOne raises $60 million as it tiers to launch its hybrid immersive gaming platform later this year – TechCrunch

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