Illumix raises $8.6M to build more dynamic phone-based AR games

As iOS12 drops, we are again reminded that phone-based AR is on hundreds of millions of phones but we still haven’t seen any big successes built on the new technologies.

Illumix is hoping that its approach to building games that understand where the user is while serving up content that responds to that space can help accelerate AR’s popularity.

The Menlo Park-based company is emerging out of stealth today and sharing that they’ve raised an $8.6 million seed round co-led by Maveron and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Radar Partners, Unusual Ventures and Michael Bay’s 451 Media also participated in the round.

The gaming studio is working on tech that allows gaming content to dynamically scale based on the environment. So, theoretically if you’re playing an Illumix title in a big open area like a warehouse, it’s going to look a lot different than if you fire up the app in your living room crammed with furniture. The startup is working on a couple of titles but is keeping them under tight wraps for now so I can’t speak to how this technology works in practice though the concepts seems pretty technically challenging.

What’s key is that this apparently won’t require users to pre-scan their space and that the content will effortlessly adapt thanks to “real-time understanding of the environment taken from the way a user would normally hold their phone,” Illumix co-founder Kirin Sinha tells TechCrunch.

While the tech is an important part, Sinha claims the company is very much a game studio first and foremost and that the startup’s tech serves the creative ambition of their upcoming titles rather than just being developed to prove what is possible.

Next year, the studio plans to release a completely original title as well as a licensed game and will be using this latest bout of funding to grow the team of 11 and invest more in their upcoming work.