Social Gaming Update: Unity valued at $1.5bn

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Social gaming development platform provider Unity Technologies has closed a series C funding round which according to reports values the company at $1.5bn.

Unity, which is a leader in the field of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), announced late last week it had raised $181m in a funding round led by DFJ Growth and including China Investment Corporation, FreeS Fund, Thrive Capital and Max Levchin. They join existing investors Sequoia Capital and WestSummit Capital.

Barry Schuler from DFJ – who has joined the board of Unity – said: “Unity’s platform has revolutionized the game industry by allowing any size studio from Indie to Triple-A to create beautiful and compelling games and experiences and monetize them with their advertising and analytics services.”

“Now Unity is poised to accelerate the advance of AR/VR with their unique ‘write once/ publish many’ engine which allows studios to easily support all hardware platforms without having to attempt to choose a winner.”

The news comes hot on the heels of the release of Pokemon Go, the AR-based social game that has literally taken the world by storm and that was built on the Unity platform.

Unity is based in San Francisco and now has over 5.5 million developers working on its platform. It allows developers to work on a single platform which can then be easily adapted for other platforms. According to the company, 31% of the top 1,000 social games globally have been built on its platform. Unity also plays an integral role in PC, console, VR and AR spaces, with 90% of Gear VR content being made on the platform and also a huge variety of titles for PC.

“We continue to focus on helping developers in every way we can,” said John Riccitiello, chief executive of Unity. “We do this by focusing on our three core principles; democratizing development, solving hard problems and enabling developer success.”

Unity’s previous round of funding raised a total of $25.5m and according to reports the latest cash raise has valued the business at circa $1.5bn. The funding round follows rumours in late 2014 that Microsoft was mulling over a bid thought to be in the region of between $1bn and $2bn.

Unity Technologies is a classic example of the pivot – it started life in 2004 as Danish game developer than found that the tools it used to build its game proved more popular that the game itself.