Cupertino-based VR startup SLIVER.tv raised $6.2 million in seed funding to build out its 360-degree VR eSports spectating platform which launches officially today as an open beta on Android and iOS. While they are targeting a wide range of games, early examples shown with the system include Counter-Strike Global Offensive, League of Legends and Dota 2.
Watching eSports in VR is a potentially huge use case for the technology, and Valve Software itself, the makers of Dota 2, recently launched a way to watch professional matches played in the HTC Vive, powered by a high-end PC. The idea with SLIVER.tv, however, is to create a spherical 360-degree video out of a match that works on any headset, including Google Cardboard.
“We want to reach not only the hard-core users, but also the fast growing casual/occasional eSports audience as well,” said CEO Mitch Liu in an email. “We’re building a video platform in that we want to support as many games as possible (League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike, Minecraft, and many more), support as many form factors as possible…and across all device ranges (low to high-end headsets including mobile). Our platform doesn’t require any software to be installed on PC, nor require a specific headset, and our video can be experienced from any device.”
The platform is said to include features that automatically identify key moments in a match to create highlight reels and replays. The startup claims it can generate and publish these 360-degree game highlights within 12 to 24 hours after a match ends.
SLIVER.tv has 15 employees and the funding, Liu said, “enables us to further expand our technology R&D, platform user acquisition, and more specifically, to work with strategic partners.”
The company put together its relatively large seed round with backing from DCM Ventures, Sierra Ventures, The VR Fund, GREE, Colopl, CAA Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Greycroft Partners, Advancit Capital, Sparkland Capital and Green Pine Capital Partners.