Polyarc, the game studio behind the hit VR title Moss (2018), announced today that is has raised $9 million to grow the studio’s expertise in augmented reality development in addition to virtual reality.

As an indie studio, Moss is so far Polyarc’s first and only VR title, but things must be going well for the studio as it has announced a $9 million Series B investment, which is atypical for indie game studios.

The investment round was led by Hiro Capital with participation from Vulcan Capital (an existing investor), and Galaxy Interactive via its Galaxy EOS VC Fund. The studio says it plans to use the capital to “add augmented reality to the studio’s core business competencies.”

“The thing we want people to remember about Polyarc in 40 years is our characters. Our means to make our characters the most memorable is to build a company oriented around introducing them directly to our players in person. VR, AR, and the spectrum in between, offer an opportunity to connect our players with our characters through physical interaction and emotional feedback in a way that no other medium can match,” said Tam Armstrong, CEO of Polyarc. “This round of funding was essential for us to expand our development focus to further embrace VR and AR games.”

Polyarc was founded in 2016 and launched Moss in 2018, first on PSVR, later on PC VR platforms, and most recently on Oculus Quest. The game has enjoyed consistently high reviews across all available platforms. In our most recent analysis of apps on the Quest storeMoss was the second best rated and the ninth most rated title overall.

'Skatrix' Uses Vision Pro to Turn Your Room Into a Virtual Skate Park

Despite the game’s success, more than two years after its launch Polyarc still hasn’t announced plans for a sequel or continuation of the title. However they did expand the game with a free update in 2019.

Indie game studios with successful titles usually channel their revenue toward future projects and sometimes engage with publishers to secure funding for larger projects, but they don’t usually sell shares of their studio like you’d see from a startup.

That makes Polyarc’s investment announcement interesting, especially considering the stated focus on AR. While Moss has enjoyed success in the early VR market, the consumer AR games market is effectively non-existent by comparison as there is no consumer-available AR headset on the market. It’s possible that the studio wants to focus on smartphone-based AR, but that seems like a leap from their experience with immersive game development. We imagine there’s more to this story which hasn’t been revealed by Polyarc just yet.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Adrian Meredith

    really enjoyed moss but it was very short. Just as it was starting to get interesting it was over, would love a more expansive follow up

    • Ryan

      They added a bunch of content later. My kids played it for a several hours.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Why AR? We get so little AA/AAA VR titles as it is and now VR devs will fraction even further to develop AR games? I don’t see any affordable AR glasses anyway so where’s t market for AR games?

    • Could be tapping into the AR Core / AR Kit on Android and iOS smartphones?

      • K E

        That’s the thing that comes to mind. But they also say that they want to “connect our players with our characters through physical interaction”. How do you do that with ARCore/ARKit? Your hands are busy holding the phone. Will the “interactions” just be like Pokemon Go?

        • ARCore/ARkit are building blocks for a “heads up, hands free” future.

          There isn’t anything particularly useful or compelling at the moment, but it’s prepping both smartphone operating systems for the eventual move to AR glasses. However, i wouldn’t expect to see fully functional AR glasses until 2030’s.

          My experience with Magic Leap and Hololens remind me of my first experience with VR in early 1990’s, there is a long way to go yet, but the technology demonstration works and that in itself was very compelling for me.


      • Ryan

        I have not yet seen anything truly compelling on phone-based AR. Am I missing something?

  • mfx

    I think they should instead focus on what they do great: VR games.

    I would buy Moss 2 day one if they released it.

    Anyway let’s see.

  • sfmike

    Screw AR and give us more quality VR games. The only reason we are seeing so much AR development is that unlike VR it hasn’t proven to investors yet that it’s not going to be able to bring in a quick billion dollar profits within two years. Stick to the growing VR market but don’t expect the quick jackpot early VR investors expected that have now soured and moved on to AR investment and who have been conned into believing that riches are just around the corner while there are no real functioning mass market AR glasses out there. Greedy fools and their investment money are always easily parted for awhile. The only ones so far to have made millions on AR are the developers with no real mass market products in the hands of the public. Can you name a company that raised billions on AR glasses development? I knew you could.

  • Rosko

    what a waste

    • mfx

      Their CEO following the success of Moss probably has way too high confidence and new ambitions for his little company.
      That a common reason of failure in tech…

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    Moss is a truly great game. I’m quite confident that Moss 2 (if it ever comes out) would support VR as well. If you want to raise $9 mln you might have to throw a bunch of buzzwords in but notice Polyarc is expanding their “competencies” not shifting or moving away.

  • AR

    Tilt 5 AR gaming :D

  • Classical investors’ mindset: projections say that AR will be bigger to VR, so they want AR games. It’s the same thing that has happened to JAUNT. The problem is that this is a dull way of thinking, and we don’t even know when AR games could really become profitable