Quest’s Most Popular Basketball Game on App Lab ‘Gym Class’ Secures $8M – Road to VR
IRL Studios announced it Sportsits popular VR basketball game at Meta Quest App Lab, has raised $8 million in a seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) with participation from Y Combinator.
Other participants include Founders Inc., Todd and Rahul’s Angel Fund, Balaji Srinivasan, Zaza Pachulia and a number of other angel investors.
Called in The road to VRs top 20 free games on Quest, Sports lets you shoot hoops and dunks at friends that you probably can’t on a physical court.
The free early access version is highly rated on App Lab for good reasons, thanks in part to its physics-based gameplay and full-body kinematics, but mostly because it offers one of the most realistic basketball experiences that allows you to walk on toe-toe with up to eight other online players. Sports has also claimed second place on the Meta Quest App Lab and earned a [4.9/5] user rating from more than 14,000 reviews.
The studio didn’t specify exactly what it plans to do with the funding, though the team’s mission includes building a digital sports ecosystem “indistinguishable from what you see IRL. One that addresses deep needs for friendship, identity, entertainment, creation , fitness, fashion and even competing to become a superstar,” reads its Y Combinator profile.
“Sports is more than a game, it is a digital sport.” said Paul Katsen, studio co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Gym Class. “It lets you dunk like a pro, become a basketball star, watch, compete, cheer and get involved in the whole sports experience. As with real sports, we believe digital sports will see thriving global communities, leagues, entertainment and events, fashion , shopping, fitness and more.”
“We are convinced that games, virtual worlds and digital sports will be the new social networks,” said Andrew Chen, partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). “Sports signaling the beginning of digital sports. It has the traction and has the right team behind it to realize the true potential of social VR. We strongly believe in the vision and the team that has already proven that Gym Class has a massive audience and opportunities.”
Sports is slated for the official Quest Store sometime in Fall 2022.