A Startup’s Vision of Combining Free Games and Paid Ads
Despite the fact that virtual reality is slowly becoming more prevalent in the gaming industry and in mainstream culture, it still remains an expensive option for most. In fact, free games for the virtual reality crowd is still not a common sight. At present, virtual reality games go for around $10 to $20. There is one company, however, that is looking to change the landscape.
Lucid Sight Inc. is planning to take the virtual reality gaming industry off the ground by introducing free games into the mix and finding an avenue by which they can profit off them. And now, they are encouraging other companies to join them in the endeavor.
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Virtual Reality Ad Campaign by Lucid Sight Inc.
The said startup company, which is based in Los Angeles, recently launched an innovative software that will enable VR developers to introduce ads into their apps. For a lot of free games, ads and the sales of optional features are two main channels by which they get revenue.
This move by Lucid Sight is said to be significant because the company’s founders Randy Saaf and Octavio Herrera saw the potential of this strategy around five years ago. It was at this time when their iPhone games startup started conceptualizing and developing ad software because there were no reliable ad options available at the time. They moved on from the gaming industry later on because the ad technology business experienced a great boom. They later on became Ad Colony and was sold to the tech company Opera Software for a massive $350 million in 2014.
But now, Saaf and Herrera are aiming to lead ad technology. While there are others like them who think that introducing ads into VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive has potential, Saaf and Herrera are software makers who have the advantage of having their own apps. In other words, if we were to use a bit of startup lingo, they’d be engaging in “dogfooding.” This is a practice that entails utilizing one’s own technology.
In a statement, Herrera said that there is the intention to make their offering appealing especially to their rivals. He also addressed VR’s common issues, especially that of causing people to get motion sickness. “A bad VR ad can get someone sick. But you don’t really see the problem until you live it. By eating our own cooking, we’re figuring things out before messing up someone else’s game.”
Profits and Investments
If this turns into reality, Lucid Sight would not only benefit financially from the ads featured on its apps but they would also be entitled to a minimal share from the profit earned by ads on possibly thousands of other apps.
“We’re big believers advertising will be key in virtual reality,” Saaf said additionally.
This particular strategy has managed to attract investors, such as Salem Partners and Rana Capital Partners, who together invested $3.5 million into the project. Saaf, Herrera, and their friends put in an initial investment of $500,000 to get the project off the ground.
At present Lucid Sight Inc. has launched a total of three games, including the infinite spaceship flying game, PolyRunner VR. In addition to these games, they are also planning to release appoximately 20 other games that are simpler in features this year. The games will run for less than 10 minutes, which is generally shorter than most VR games out in the market. They can be accessed across all VR services.
According to the company’s estimate, approximately 30 percent of users watched the first ad, which turned out to be a trailer for the movie Allegiant, even though they were offered the option to skip it after 15 seconds. The video is typically displayed on a flat screen in 3D, but Lucid also allows for a more immersive platform that fully harnesses the 360-degree capabilities the medium offers to its users.