Connecting with your favourite band, artist, team or sports star perform live, while providing artists, rights holders, and metaverse platforms the opportunity to create completely new revenue streams has become a tad bit simple with Video 3.0. Now, audiences can attend gigs or sporting events with friends, with the freedom to move among the virtual crowds and get up close to the action. Because performances are live, fans can interact with the artist - a digital step forward from holding a banner at a gig - and artists can respond in real-time, giving shout-outs, answering questions or performing a requested track.
Betting big on the new trend, UK-based platform Condense has raised $4.5 million to stream real-world events live and in 3D into the metaverse. The seed round was led by LocalGlobe, 7percent Ventures and Deeptech Labs. The round also saw the participation of high-profile angel investors, including a platinum-selling grime artist, former England footballer and sports presenter, Tom Blomfield (Monzo), renowned music manager Grace Ladoja MBE and Ian Hogarth (Song Kick).
Founded in 2019, Condense offers end-to-end capture and technology to live stream real-world events like music and sports events into 3D applications. The company uses cutting-edge computer vision, machine learning and proprietary streaming infrastructure to capture and embed live 3D video (Video 3.0) into any metaverse game, mobile app or platform created with Unity or Unreal Engine. This means true-to-life live performances can be streamed directly into the virtual worlds and games platforms used by billions of people worldwide - without the need for VR headsets.
The funding has been utilised by the company to open a metaverse studio in partnership with Watershed – Bristol’s cultural cinema and creative technology venue. This will give established artists and emerging talent access to the technology. The studio is a ‘metaverse-first’ event space and can also accommodate a live audience. Going forward, the startup will roll out a London studio and expand globally as well. The investment will also be used to accelerate commercial relationships with artists, labels, content creators and metaverse platforms.
Talking about putting Bristol on the map for metaverse and tech development, Condense CEO and co-founder Nick Fellingham said: “The Bristol scene has long been a world-renowned melting pot of different cultures and music and, in the last few years, it’s become a hub for games development, too. Now we’re going to put Bristol on the map once again with the world’s first metaverse live streaming studio to bring together the energy of live events with the massive scale of the metaverse. The Video 3.0 infrastructure we’ve built takes out the technical complexity of streaming live into the metaverse.”
Ziv Reichert, partner at LocalGlobe said: “Hundreds of millions of people are hanging out in immersive 3D platforms like Roblox, Rec Room, Fortnite, Sandbox, Decentraland and VRChat and attending virtual events, socialising and being creative. At the same time, player demand for live entertainment inside these virtual worlds has never been greater. Condense has built the infrastructure to connect the two – now music artists, sports stars and creatives can perform and play live in the metaverse, to the largest stadium audience imaginable.”
Andrew Gault, founding partner of 7percent ventures added: "When I invested in Oculus nearly 10 years ago, the dream was to deliver experiences that seamlessly merge the digital and the physical. Condense has now made that possible inside all video games and platforms, without the need for VR headsets. What they have built is already a reality and will change how the whole world engages online.”
Miles Kirby, CEO of Deeptech Labs concluded: “The metaverse requires new infrastructure, much of it breaking new ground and requiring next-generation machine learning and machine vision. Condense has the deeptech experience and vision to make the metaverse the number one destination for live events.”