Japan’s VRize launches 360-degree VR ad network in closed beta

Image credit: VRize

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based VRize, developing ad business in the virtual reality (VR) space, last week announced the closed beta launch of a VR ad network named VRize Ad. With the network, ads can be distributed in three different formats: 360-degree video ad, over 150-inch large-screen feel video ad and 3DCG video ad. The VRize team started looking for developers to try out closed beta, and plans an official launch this fall.

Participant developers can start distributing ads by integrating VRize’s SDK (software developer kit) into their gaming or other mobile apps. The pricing is based on CPM (cost per mille) while most of ads distributed through the network may be initially treated as a kind of “pure ads” due to the limited number of advertisers.

Well, an aggressive startup has appeared.

VR advertising is a solution to help VR content and game developers better monetize. The idea was brought in from ad network in the web field to the VR field, and some cases like Immersv have already been appearing overseas. In Japan, although Japanese gaming developer Colopl (TSE:3668) had set up a 360-degree video distribution platform named 360channel, this VRize Ad may be the first case of as a true VR ad network in Japan.

According to VRize CEO Hideyuki Shoda, the large-screen ad with more than 150-inch feel is close to Immersv’s creation while the 3DCG video ad is close to Budweiser’s one by Jaunt (see below video clips).

Immersv is a VR-only ad network established by the founder of mobile app monetization platform Tapjoy, proposing a style of letting users watch ads of movies or games in immersive environment while equipping head-mounted display (HMD).

Budweiser’s ad by Jaunt is more optimized to VR spaces, having a feature which enables experiences that approximate sojourns at actual locations. The excellence of each ad can be experienced by equipping HMD.

The market for VR or 360-degree content is expected to grow over the next few years from now. Highly-functional HMDs like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStationVR have fully entered the market, leading some people to call 2016 ‘the commencement year for VR.’

Image credit: The Virtual Reality Fund

On the other hand, in an early stage of the market as shown above in the VR/AR industry landscape, tools which back the industry such as dedicated hardware or authoring tools precede as to business formation. Generally, realization of content or ad-network monetization takes a while.

Shoda answered the question as to whether it is too early in terms of timing: he had chosen to drive the field as a pioneer after understanding this point.

Exactly two years ago, Shoda had launched a flea marketplace app called 10sec which enabled product exhibits via Instagram. He went over to the US to take on challenges, but unfortunately it was not easy to succeed there. He gave up the next fundraising and returned to Japan. After dissolving that company, he took on this new challenge.

Inviting patrons again, he restarted by raising funds from TLM (run by venture capitalist Keisuke Kogure), East Ventures and other individual investors.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy