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Improbable raises $150m from Andreessen Horowitz and SoftBank

The gaming startup is getting into the metaverse big time

By Sifted reporters

Improbable's game Scavengers, a first foray into massive online gaming worlds

Improbable, the London-based games startup, has raised a $150m round led by Andreessen Horowitz and SoftBank. 

Why? To dive into the metaverse, of course.

The funding will go towards creating M² — “a network of interoperable metaverses powered by its Morpheus technology”. 

Improbable has been developing a technology that allows very large numbers of people — more than 10k — to be in the same online world at the same time. At the moment, even multiplayer games such as Fortnite struggle to get more than 100 players on the same server at the same time. A metaverse where thousands of people could attend an online concert or sports event will need a different architecture — and this is what Improbable is trying to make. 

The idea is that companies and brands could establish their own metaverses within the Improbable megaverse, if you will. That means they could organise “large-scale experiences” — like concerts or sporting events — which their communities could take part in.

👉 Read more: A beginner’s guide to the metaverse (and making money in it)

Revenue opportunities from the metaverse are expected to be worth $800bn by 2024 — and Improbable is not the only startup looking to take a slice of the pie. There are a number of companies wanting to build he underpinning platforms of the metaverse. US games company Epic, which makes Fortnite, is one of those pushing for its Unreal Engine to be the foundation on which other companies build metaverse experiences. 

What’s Morpheus?

Improbable, which was founded in 2012 by Herman Narula, has had its fair set of ups and downs. In 2017, it raised $500m from SoftBank — then the largest-ever investment into a UK startup — and swiftly became a star of the local tech scene. 

Over the following years however, not much happened: several games built on its first platform, SpatialOS, were scrapped. 

Morpheus is being described as an “evolution” of SpatialOS. 

“The dirty secret of the metaverse is that you can’t do big games at scale”

“The dirty secret of the metaverse is that you can’t do big games at scale,” Narula told Sifted last September.

Improbable now provides multiplayer services to over 60 global companies, and also works with the UK government on large-scale defence simulations. 

Improbable has now raised over $750m. Investing alongside SoftBank and Andreessen Horowitz in this round is the investment vehicle of Checkout.com founder Guillaume Pousaz. 

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