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VR Startup Littlstar Gets Ready to Embrace AR, Help Studios and Developers Make Money (EXCLUSIVE)

Virtual reality (VR) startup Littlstar announced a number of enhancements of its apps and developer platform Thursday that are meant to help studios and startups alike make money with a wide variety of immersive entertainment. One of the biggest changes for the startup, which is best known for its Littlstar app, a kind of catalog of cinematic VR and 360-degree video clips: It is going to start supporting augmented reality content and experiences as well.

“We really want to start to bridge the worlds of VR and AR,” said Littlstar CEO Tony Mugavero in an interview with Variety. The initial focus will be on mobile AR, which could get a big boost once Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore projects are widely distributed to supported iPhones and Android phones. “We see the bigger opportunity in mobile for now,” Mugavero said.

In addition to AR, Littlstar also wants to open up its apps and software development platform to support VR games and other non-cinematic content, and add the ability for publishers to charge for apps and experiences. “Going into the fall, you are going to be able to buy content,” he said.

Littlstart currently has its own apps on all major VR headsets, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream. The company is also distributing 306-degree video on Apple TV, Android TV and the web.

Littlstar also has built a developer platform to make it easier for others to quickly build and distribute their own VR apps. Some of the networks and studios whose apps make use of this platform include CNN, Syfy, Hearst, AOL and others. Altogether, over 150 apps are based on Littlstar’s technology, said Mugavero. These developers will soon also be able to make use of Littlstar’s most recent features, meaning that they will be able to sell VR content through their own apps as well.

The ultimate goal of the company is to offer publishers a one-stop solution to distribute and monetize immersive content, including analytics tools, payments and more. “We are building the foundation for a true immersive network,” said Mugavero.

Littlstar has raised around $6.4 million in funding, with investors including Disney, A+E Networks, Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company and others.

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