Digital Domain Strengthens Immersive Tech Portfolio With Sprawly Acquisition (Update)

Update, 3/09/2017, 10:08am PT: The original story stated that Digital Domain purchased Sprawly. A representative from Digital Domain stated that the company did not purchase Sprawly. Digital Domain didn't further explain the terms of the deal.

Digital Domain announced that it added Sprawly to its growing portfolio of immersive video and VR technologies. Sprawly’s founders joined Digital Domain as part of the deal.

Digital Domain is a Hollywood visual effects company with a wide range of expertise in immersive technology. Digital Domain had a hand in creating hundreds of motion pictures, commercials, and video games, and recently the company steered its focus towards virtual reality experiences.

In 2015, Digital Domain partnered with Immersive Media to create IM360, which creates high-quality 360-degree video projects such as ABC’s Good Morning America’s 360-degree video segment on the African Safari, and the Nike “CourtVision” experience. Last year, Digital Domain entered the game developer market when it acquired Digital Funk Machine and used the assets to create Digital Domain Interactive. Later, Digital Domain announced a partnership with DreamWork Animation to bring the famous production company’s animated characters to virtual reality experiences.

After Digital Domain and Immersive Media formed IM360, the subsidiary announced the IM360 VR Toolkit, which gives filmmakers a 4K real-time preview of filmed VR content. Digital Domain’s latest strategic partnership strengthens the company’s portfolio of tools for working with 360-degree video. Sprawly developed a toolkit that lets creators built interactive 360-degree video experiences without the need for advanced technical knowledge.

Sprawly’s technology embeds “hotspots” into 360-degree video features that trigger other events, such as jumping to another clip or launching a web page. Sprawly previously offered its technology to anyone who wished to use it. It’s unclear if that will continue now that Sprawly is part of Digital Domain, but the Sprawly website hasn’t changed yet. Digital Domain confirmed that Sprawly’s founders, Bobby Alexis and Eric Neuman, joined the Digital Domain team as part of the deal, though.

“Sprawly’s experience at providing tools for the VR community makes them an ideal addition to Digital Domain,” said Amit Chopra, Executive Director and COO, Digital Domain. “Eric Neuman’s expertise around 360° video interactivity and platform development will be a key skillset for building out our VR Platform, while Bobby Alexis will focus on expanding our footprint in VR and 360° video services across a number of sectors.”

Digital Domain didn’t comment on its immediate plans for Sprawly’s technology.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.