Phaser Lock Interactive announced that it formed a strategic partnership with Smilegate to help fund the development of the company’s next VR title as well as the publication and distribution of future games. The companies said this is “the first of multiple rounds of investment” into Phaser Lock Interactive’s business.
Phaser Lock Interactive is one of the few VR developers with multiple games on the market. The company launched its first game, Final Approach, alongside the HTC Vive in April 2016. Later, a version of the game launched on the Oculus Store. In March 2017, Phaser Lock released an entirely new VR game called Twisted Arrow.
Phaser Lock Interactive enjoyed early success in Western markets, but it wants to spread into the Asian market, so it turned to Smilegate for its distribution and publishing expertise in Asian countries.
If you live in North America, there’s a good chance that you’ve never heard of Smilegate, but don’t let that fool you. It's one of the biggest game publishers in South Korea. The company was established in 2002, and it currently holds the rights to Crossfire, a highly popular FPS game, with up to six million concurrent players. To put that into perspective, the all-time peak for concurrent players on Dota 2 (the most popular game on Steam) was less than 1.3 million players, and the all-time peak for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive topped out at 850,000 players. With a player base the size of Crossfire’s, it’s fair to say that Smilegate knows a thing or two about selling games.
“We’re excited to work with an accomplished industry veteran like Smilegate,” says Michael Daubert, CEO of Phaser Lock. “They understand the Asian entertainment market better than anybody else, as evidenced by the overwhelming success of their game, CROSSFIRE, the most played online First Person Shooter game in the world with six million concurrent players. We couldn’t ask for a better strategic partner to expand, especially with the lightning fast growth of VR we’re seeing in the Asian market.”
Phaser Lock Interactive and Smilegate didn’t discuss the finer details of the agreement, nor did they divulge the nature of the game they will develop. All we know is that Smilegate liked what it saw in Final Approach, and it reached out to Phaser Lock to help expand its VR offerings.
The partnership with Phaser Lock Interactive isn’t Smilegate’s first investment into the VR industry. Last May, the company entered a strategic partnership with Starbreeze to help promote the Star VR HMD. The agreement with Phaser Lock Interactive is set up as a long-term partnership with ongoing investment plans, though. The two companies said that the current agreement is just the “first of many” investments into future VR content.
“We are excited to partner with Phaser Lock Interactive, one of the pioneers in the industry.” said Joonho Sung, Group COO, Smilegate.” PLI has shown innovative ways to create user-friendly interaction in virtual reality while also creating compelling game experiences. PLI is our first foray into a virtual reality global partnership initiative. We will continue to explore and identify industry leaders to aggressively facilitate our expansion into the new, emerging industry.”
Phaser Lock Interactive and Smilegate didn’t reveal the name of the game in question, nor did they discuss the type of game, or the expected release timeframe. Phaser Lock indicated that details of the project would surface within the next couple months.