“This investment reflects the potential size and importance of the market for this next generation of games and, ultimately, how massive-scale virtual worlds could become fundamental to how society works.”Improbable is exploring applications in city management, telecommunications, infrastructure and logistics, cybersecurity, transportation and traffic control and the Internet of Things, and has also seen interest in medical applications, economic modeling and many other use cases. Proofs of concept and pilot projects have included the simulation of the Internet backbone, and a British city (based on open-source map, traffic, gas and electricity, water and sewage, Internet and mobile connectivity data).
startup, that uses cloud-based distributed computing to enable the creation of virtual worlds for use in games and massive-scale simulations of the real world, has raised a mammoth $502 million in a Series B funding round led by Japan’s SoftBank. Existing Series A investors Andreessen Horowitz and Horizons Ventures too participated in the round and will continue to offer advice and guidance to Improbable, along with Temasek, the Singapore investment company, which was also involved in the Series A funding. Deep Nishar of SoftBank has joined the Improbable Board following this investment, which sees SoftBank taking a non-controlling stake in the company. The latest funds will be will be invested in developing Improbable’s technology, including its SpatialOS distributed operating system. SpatialOS is Improbable’s first product, and is a distributed operating system for massive-scale simulations that can be integrated with major game engines. The company also plans to scale up its team in its London and San Francisco offices. Alongside the investment, Improbable will explore and identify opportunities for mutually beneficial relationships with SoftBank, its partners and portfolio companies. “We believe that the next major phase in computing will be the emergence of large-scale virtual worlds which enrich human experience and change how we understand the real world. At Improbable we have spent the last few years building the foundational infrastructure for this vision,” said Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable. The company claims to be working on projects with telecommunications companies, governments and enterprise clients “to explore the ability of massive, detailed simulations to drive better decisions using real-world data and hope to talk more about this in the future.” “To achieve both these ambitious goals, we need to take bold steps. This investment gives us the ability to take those steps,” Narula wrote on a company blog. Improbable is also applying the same technology that powers SpatialOS to the simulation of complex real world systems. Potential applications include simulating transport infrastructure, telecommunications networks or the behavior of fleets of autonomous vehicles. It can also be applied in maintaining game worlds and tracking activities within them across the cloud. SpatialOS can be used to create multi-player games that can be scaled to teams of any size, without dedicated network engineering and without initial infrastructure costs. Narula added, “The global games market is already huge, and we believe that far more growth is possible. The kinds of games enabled by SpatialOS – multi-player games allowing players to form meaningful relationships with games worlds and with each other – will be category-defining, and attract new audiences.”
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