Liverpool city region virtual reality games developer Fallen Planet secures £500,000 investment that will help accelerate the use of AI in the development of new games. Tony McDonough reports
Virtual reality (VR) games developer Fallen Planet Studios will accelerate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for the development of new games after securing a £500,000 investment.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Southport-based Fallen Planet was founded by Alex Moretti and Mark Paul. At that time the VR games market was still in its infancy. User experience was too often one of clunkiness, dizziness and nausea.
From the early days, Fallen Planet worked closely with Oculus, the world’s leading developer of VR headsets and technology.
When Oculus was acquired for $3bn by Facebook (now Meta) in 2014, Alex and Mark saw a huge opportunity to take an early lead in the sector and quickly established itself as a pioneer of VR games. Its titles have appeared in the all-time top 10 downloads.
“Producing games for VR is completely different to producing them for traditional games consoles,” Alex told LBN in 2021. “The traditional games are like watching a film. You can only go where the director allows you to go.
“In a VR game the user’s expectations are much higher. They want to be able to walk smoothly around the environment and be able to reach out and grab stuff.”
Now the business has secured new investment from fund:AI which is run by Liverpool business investor River Capital. It will be used to support the development of new titles where AI is key to their evolving workflow.
Alex Moretti, Fallen Planet’s chief executive, said: “Founded in 2013 with a sole focus on developing for the nascent VR industry, the exploration and adoption of new technologies is an integral part of Fallen Planet Studios’ DNA.
“This strategic investment from River Capital will support our commitment to innovation, accelerating the implementation of AI technologies across our game development pipeline.
“It will enable us to elevate our gaming experiences by deriving and responding to valuable player insights. We are excited about the possibilities this partnership unlocks.”
Launched in November 2022, fund:AI is the north’s first dedicated AI fund. It is designed to support the North’s most promising AI and data companies.
Investment director David Walters added: “The gaming sector has been an early adopter of AI which has made a huge impact on graphical and functionality development.
“The ability for AI to support game designers and programmers is increasing exponentially, with new tools and applications assisting developers with their workflow… we look forward to the release in early 2024 of the new VR game titles.”
This deal was supported by Daniel Hayhurst of Brabners and by Will Carlyle of Sheridans who provided legal advice.