Gaming chat app Discord has purchased augmented reality firm Ubiquity6, which had collected tens of millions of dollars from investors and made a major shift earlier this year.
Anjney Midha, CEO of Ubiquity6, announced the acquisition in a Medium post on Monday morning, stating that his team will assist Discord in unlocking “shared experiences for 150M+ people.”
The augmented reality company had acquired $37.5 million from a group of elite investors, including Benchmark, First Round, Kleiner Perkins, and Google’s Gradient Ventures. The firm’s most recent round of investment was a $27 million Series B round in October of 2018, which financiers hoped would build a consumer-facing platform for hosting augmented reality content, according to TechCrunch.
Financial details not revealed
Regarding the acquisition, neither Discord nor Ubiquity6 disclosed any details. Still, the startup looked to ditch most of the products it had spent its first several years developing in recent months, indicating that Ubiquity6 was struggling to attract a large audience for its goods.
When it first launched in 2017, the San Francisco-based startup planned to create an app that would be the primary way for mobile phone users to view augmented reality content. Displayland, a product developed by the firm in late 2019, aimed to gamify the process of 3D scanning physical locations with a smartphone’s camera.
Despite significant investment from tech giants such as Apple and Google, the company’s efforts to acquire broad acceptance were hindered by a mobile AR industry that has mostly failed to gain traction in recent years.
Startup abandons AR
The most common application of augmented reality is to make video games more realistic. However, Ubiquity6 made a dramatic shifted in its attention recently to develop a desktop platform that allowed users to play basic online party games together remotely.
Backyard, the beta platform, which the company created for epidemic-era behaviors that appear to be on the wane as the United States returns to action. As part of the acquisition announcement, Ubiquity6 pulled the plug on this project.
What the future holds
Anjney Midha appears to dismiss any hopes that Ubiquity6’s AR technology will continue.
“Our mission at Ubiquity6 has always been to unlock new ways for people to connect through shared experiences <..> Joining Discord today allows us to accelerate that mission — Ubiquity6’s team, Backyard product, and multiplayer technology will be integrated into Discord. “
It remains to be seen whether the acquisition means Ubiquity6 will continue to develop AR and video chats with entertaining mini-games while unlocking new experiences for consumers.