According to Samsung Group on Dec. 7, Samsung Venture Investment Corp., has recently made a 6 million investment in Baobab Studios, a U.S. based startup that specializes in animated virtual reality (VR) content, along with Comcast, HTC and others.
Also joining the funding mix are Silicon Valley's leading investors including PaypaL co-founder Peter Thiel and Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus. Baobab creates animated films which can viewed with VR devices.
Its first animated shot, "Invasion!" is currently available via the Samsung Milk VR service and its new works will be launched next year.
This investment is Samsung’s preemptive movement to lead the VR ecosystem. Samsung has set a goal to dominate the VR ecosystem from the Gear VR hardware, to VR content production equipment, including 360-degree cameras, and VR contents. Samsung’s VR online video platform, Milk VR, is also an extension of such movements.
As the VR market is estimated to be US$1.4 trillion (1635.2 trillion won) in 2030, Samsung, in cooperation with Facebook's Oculus VR division, has released the Gear VR in advance in a bid to take the lead. However, the company can fail to dominate the VR ecosystem if there are no high-quality contents.
In fact, Google unveiled its VR content creation platform, Jump, at the I/O developer conference this year, suggesting a strategy to establish the VR ecosystem that connects Jump, YouTube and VR devices. Apple and Sony also have similar strategies, while Chinese companies are pressuring Samsung with the launch of VR devices which are cheaper than the Gear VR.
In this regard, Samsung Venture Investment invested in New Zealand’s VR media firm 8i in October. Also, the company took part in venture investment funds, which are backed by Hollywood movie star Ashton Kutcher. In the gaming industry, there is a rumor that an American video game developer Blizzard Entertainment is promoting cooperation with Samsung Electronics to make its games available on the Gear VR.