- Apple has acquired VR startup Spaces, Protocol reported Monday.
- Spaces, which creates themed virtual environments, had raised nearly $10 milion, according to PitchBook, but Protocol reported that the company has been struggling during the pandemic.
- Apple has made at least seven acquisitions already this year, including another virtual reality startup, NextVR, as it invests further in the emerging technology.
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Accotding to Protocol, Spaces announced last week that it was "heading in a new direction," adding: "Thank you to our users and partners who participated in our awesome VR video conferencing product and the many people who enjoyed our VR location-based entertainment attractions found at theme parks, theaters, and more."
Apple and Spaces could not be reached for comment.
Spaces built themed and location-based virtual environments and experiences, and its founders launched the company in 2016 after leaving DreamWorks Animation. The company had raised $9.5 million from investors, according to data from PitchBook.
But the pandemic forced Spaces to shutter its in-person VR centers, lay off workers, and eventually take a PPP loan as the industry more broadly has suffered, Protocol reported.
Apple has been particularly interested in virtual reality startups, most recently acquiring NextVR, a company that creates virtual experiences for live events and sports, reportedly for around $100 million. Apple also scooped up augmented reality glasses maker Akonia Holographics in 2018 and Vrvana, which made headsets that can do both virtual and augmented reality and was run by several Apple alumni, in 2017.
Apple has long been rumored to be working on a combined AR-VR headset that could launch as soon as 2021, according to Bloomberg, and the company has ambitions to become a major player in the "crossover reality" ecosystem, as well as a dominant force in the entertainment industry.