Independent game developer Bossa Studios has raised $US10 million (£7.8 million) in a Series A round led by Atomico, with participation from existing backer London Venture Partners.
The round comes as Bossa’s latest game, “Worlds Adrift,” is slated for wider release. “Worlds Adrift” is a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) PC game which unusually centres on user-generated content. The player explores an “endless” number of floating islands, some 3,000 of which have been created by Bossa’s community of gamers.
“Worlds Adrift” is also one of the first games to run on SpatialOS, the nascent gaming operating system developed by Improbable. Improbable is another London startup which made headlines in May after raising £389 million from Japanese internet giant Softbank. SpatialOS theoretically lets developers of any size build massive gaming worlds — but it’s early days and examples are few.
Bossa chief executive and cofounder Henrique Olifiers, a gaming veteran who was formerly studio director at Playfish, described Improbable’s tech as “visionary.”
“It enables us to build bigger things than we normally could,” he told Business Insider. “We can simulate worlds at a larger scale, even when there is no player there to see what happens.”
Olifiers added that Bossa had been profitable “for a while” off the back of early successes like “Surgeon Simulator,” where the player operates on a patient, and “I Am Bread,” where the user literally controls a slice of virtual bread.
Bossa plans to use its new funding to hire new talent, and to introduce artificial intelligence and more user-generated content into the game development process.
The new round was led by Atomico founding partner Matthias Ljungman, also an investor in Finnish gaming firm Supercell.
Ljungman cited Bossa’s approach to marketing, and the founders’ tech and gaming pedigree, as reasons for the investment. “‘Worlds Adrift’ is an interesting inflection point, it’s a best-in-class team having a big step change in their ambition,” he said. “They are using user-generated content to create something really profound, with genuine and deep network effects.”
Getting gamers on board with the creation and development and process, he added, meant that Bossa had more advocates for “Worlds Adrift”, which is currently open to 40,000 players and will open up more widely in the next two months.
Olifiers added that Bossa had built up a community of fans and influencers on Twitch, YouTube, and Reddit, making it easier to win customers than on “restricted” distribution platforms like mobile, where developers rely on App Store discovery.