VRChat announced today that it has closed a $10 million Series C investment to continue expanding its immersive social platform which is steeped in user-generated content.

VRChat is an immersive social platform that allows VR and non-VR users to socialize in a connected virtual world while exploring user-generated spaces and activities. The platform’s laissez faire attitude to user-generated content and non-prescriptive gameplay makes it unique among competitors like Rec Room and Bigscreen.

The sometimes zany mashup of aesthetics and activities has also made the game popular on the livestreaming scene, with the game ranking in the top 100 Twitch titles by average viewers, according to Twitch tracker SullyGnome.

VRChat Series C Investment

Having raised $5.2 million in venture capital previously, VRChat today announced it has raised an additional $10 million in a Series C investment. VC firm Makers Fund joins the round as a new investor alongside prior investors HTC, Brightstone VC, and GFR Fund.

“Graham, Jesse and Ron [VRChat’s founders] have a bold vision to enable and empower diverse communities through limitless virtual identities and experiences,” says Jay Chi, Founding Partner of Makers Fund. “We see great potential here and are very excited to partner with the VRChat team on this journey”

Still in the startup phase, VRChat is completely free and has not yet moved to monetize the platform.

VRChat’s Viral Moment

VRChat first launched in 2017 and saw slow but steady traction before having a ‘viral moment’, driven by Twitch livestreamers and dank VRChat-inspired memes, which saw the game’s player count on Steam surge more than 25x over the course of one and a half months. Much of that viral surge seems to have translated into lasting traction, with the game consistently seeing 10x the player count compared to before its moment in the spotlight.

A sudden spike of Twitch viewers (red) precedes a moment of exponential player growth (blue), peaking at 20,000 players in January, 2018 | Data and graph courtesy SteamDB

Similar stats are not available for other platforms where the game is available (like on Oculus) so the scale of usership elsewhere, and how it was impacted by the viral moment, is not clear. However, VRChat said at the that in 2018 it had seen 4 million unique users, 30% of which were using VR.

The platform most recently launched on Oculus Quest, and is also available on Oculus Rift and Steam (Vive, Index, Rift, and Non-VR).

VRChat’s Series C investment comes just a few months after Rec Room announced a $24 million in additional funding from previously undisclosed Series A and Series B investments.

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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."
  • airball

    That growth curve looks the same as almost every VR app I have had opportunity to see data for. Not very encouraging.

    • benz145

      With only 30% of their userbase using VR, any growth in VR usership is going to be obfuscated by the non-VR users.

  • I’m very curious how long it’s going to be allowed to coast on other people’s copyrighted properties? Much like YouTube, even if they didn’t upload the pirated content, it’s still there and they’re still libel for turning a blind eye to it.

    As for the service itself, it’s SUPER TOXIC. It’s “Viral” grow due to YouTube prank videos did it no favors. Before that, it wasn’t a bad place to hang out and meet people. After that, just screaming teenagers that don’t see the difference between a prank and simply yelling “F*** YOU” at strangers.

    And finally, why were 90% of the people without VR? So many non-VR, looky-loos, trying to be a part of whatever dumb video they just watched on YouTube.

    AltSpace might not have the numbers, but that’s mainly because it’s not stealing assets, manages trolls, and manages a healthy community. VRChat is a pit of disease teetering on legal oblivion.

    • Guygasm

      VR users dressing up like “copyrighted characters” is never going away. It is akin to cosplay which is an already widely accepted practice in culture. Creating your own model for personal use will never be stopped in whatever meta-verse evolves. Selling copies is certainly a different argument. Stopping free sharing of avatars seems like a losing game for copyright holders. Unlikely to be successful and only stomping on your biggest fans. I think that viewpoint will be on the wrong side of history.

  • sfmike

    The most toxic VR site I can think of populated by braindead kids screaming profanities and racial slurs. Tried again last week to give it another chance and it was as horrible an experience as ever. Removing the non-VR crowd would help but as for me I’m removing the app for my mental well being and leaving the daycare populated Bullyverse. There are other and better choices now.

    • PK

      your experience is very different from mine. not that i ever just go hang out in busy public spaces, but i did have the impression there were less annoying trolls than there used to be, as the community has matured. so maybe you just got unlucky. or it’s still worse than i knew. still, for me and many others, it’s totally different. we expore worlds, our own and those from others, we attend events, i rarely encounter any sort of negativity at all. and especially if you’re learning unity to create environments and avatars, it’s easily the best of its kind that exists.

    • fdad

      Sounds like you need to learn to disconnect yourself from reality and stop getting triggered by virtual words on a screen. Call up a bully hunter, baby.

  • It’s a weird place, but it is working. On the other hand, a super-ambitious service like Sansar has almost no user.

    • Immersive_Computing

      I joined the “Marching Cat Band” we marched about playing our musical instruments, then we got on a train being driven by a giant manga lady… incredibly bizarre but great fun.

  • I absolutely love VRChat, I’ve met some of my best friends in the communities made on there. It’s so easy to create with Unity too, that it makes content creation so much more fun. I know some of the hub servers may be incredibly toxic (as most hubs are) but once you find a community inside VRChat to participate in (whether it’s roleplayers, character creators, modellers or otherwise) it’s a beautiful place to hang out. Glad they got the money they need to keep going. ^^

  • Greyl

    The only VR Chat streamers I enjoy are Roflgator and Lolathon, because they don’t take it seriously. The rest do, and it’s incredibly cringy and creepy.