This week Samsung Venture Investment Corp has invested $6 million in Baobab Studios, a US-based startup that produces animated virtual reality (VR) content. The deal joins Comcast, HTC and others as investors.
Also joining the funding are Silicon Valley investors such as Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, and the co-founder of Zynga, Mark Pincus. Baobab creates the animated films which can then be viewed on specialised VR devices.
The company’s first animated short movie, “Invasion!” is now available on the Samsung Milk virtual reality service, and its new content will be launched in 2016.
The investment is part of Samsung’s moves to lead the VR space in terms of content and hardware. The company has goals to dominate the entire VR ecosystem, from Gear VR hardware to VR content production kit such as 360 degree cameras. Samsung’s own VR online video service, Milk VR, is also a part of its strategy.
The virtual reality market is estimated to reach more than $1.4 trillion by 2030, and Samsung, in conjunction with Oculus VR, released the Gear VR early in a move to take the lead. The company however must ensure that high quality content is available if it wishes to solidify its position in future.
Google also unveiled its own VR content creation system called Jump at this year’s I/O developer conference, while Sony and many Chinese companies are hard at Samsung’s heels with their own (in some cases cheaper) VR devices.