Augmented reality is a topic and technology that’s recently been gaining a bit of momentum and buzz. Primarily due to the proliferation of smartphones, augmented reality technology allows for the use of computer generated images and information to be viewed over real world environments via the device’s camera. In addition to valuable information, if you’ve not already guessed – this is an advertisers’s dream come true.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that Japanese mobile augmented reality provider Tonchidot has recently secured $12 million in a second round of funding. A number of Japanese VC’s contributed to the funding including mobile operator KDDI Corp, media firm Recruit Co. ltd., and mobile advertising provider SPiRE. Sources close to the development indicate that the new influx of cash will be used to built a bigger team, as well as expand interest to a global audience. Oh, and one tiny little tidbit – Osuke Honda from DCM, a previous investor in Tonichdot mentions that the funding will also be used to extend the company’s SoLAR gaming platform. So yes, even though the focus is on AR, there is a gaming component as well.
“We are excited about opportunities to greatly enhance user experience while combining traditional mobile social games with LBS (Location Based Service) and AR technologies,” said Takahito Iguchi, CEO of Tonchidot. “We have taken social gaming to a new level from the computer screen to the real world where friends can visit a flourishing farmland, interact with adorable pets, and swim through a customized fish-tank, all in the middle of Tokyo.”
All of this is centered around Tonchidot’s social AR gaming platform SoLAR. Launched this past July, the SoLAR platform is designed for mobile gaming developers to integrate reality and location-based games into existing or planned social games. With a planned update arriving next month, the SoLAR platform will add tools allowing Facebook and Twitter connections, as well as, microtransaction purchases on Android and iPhone.
Tonchidot’s flagship tech, the Sekai Camera, has been downloaded over 1 million times, and is one of the top rated apps in Japan – with 30% of all iPhone owners running the app. Popular Tonchidot games based around this tech include KA-BOOM, a game that allows friends to drop virtual bombs in real-world locations, as well as support for an app titled CooKoo – an animated bird that interacts with the users’ Twitter account.