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Gumi invests in VR games startup Playsnak ahead of its first release

Gaming startup Playsnak closed its seed funding from Gumi Inc. just in time, as it plans on announcing its first VR game soon.

Gumi’s $1.2 million investment combined with last year’s $1.3 million from K Cube Ventures closes out Playsnak’s seed round at $2.5 million. At the moment, Playsnak publishes mobile games and develops VR games for PC, though according to CEO Paha Schulz, they will consider mobile VR in the future. If it decides to go in that direction, its experience with mobile places it in a good position to capitalize on the popularity of mobile VR versus its high-end PC cousins. According to market researcher SuperData, Samsung’s Gear VR outsold PlayStation VR headsets by nearly double in the first quarter of 2017.

Founded in 2015 and based in Berlin, Playsnak draws on the game industry know-how of its experienced team. Schulz was previously the director of business development at Crytek’s games-as-service division. Creative director Martin L’Heureux also hails from Crytek, previously as their creative and animation director for VR titles such as Robinson and The Climb.

Though VR market adoption is somewhat slow — revenue forecasts from 2016 had to be scaled back — it’s still estimated that it will grow to $14 billion by 2020. Meanwhile, the Brabant Development Agency (BOM), a consultancy funded by the Dutch government, conducted a survey that showed that VR/AR developers are still struggling to acquire the funds they need to stay afloat.

Gumi, most known as a Japanese mobile games publishing giant, has previously signaled its interest in VR by investing in the investment group The VR Fund, as well as incubators in Tokyo, Seoul, and Finland. Playsnak also isn’t Gumi’s first investment in a VR games studio, though it’s the first that isn’t based in Japan.

“VR has played a big part in gumi’s investment strategy since the beginning of last year,” says CEO Hironao Kunimitsu. “Gumi, as a globally minded company, sees VR/AR as the next generation of entertainment, replacing PC/console games and mobile games.”

Greg Feingold