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Candy Crush Veterans Raise $6 Million to Make VR Games for the Masses

Just don't call them "casual games."

Resolution Games / Solitaire Jester

Earlier, we ran this story ahead of its embargo. This was done in error and we apologize to the company.

The first high-end virtual reality headsets made for consumers are set to debut in the coming three quarters; until then, however, most investors have been hesitant to sink money into VR startups.

The exception that proves the rule: Resolution Games, a VR gaming company based in Stockholm, which just announced today that it had raised a $6 million round led by Google Ventures.

And why? Resolution’s first game, Solitaire Jester for the Samsung Gear VR, has seen only about 4,000 downloads, one month after its debut.

But the company has something investors can latch onto: Shared DNA with one of the biggest recent success stories in gaming, King. Tommy Palm, who for nearly three years was a public face for King’s megahit game Candy Crush Saga, left the company in January to found Resolution and serves as its CEO.

“One of the biggest threats with VR right now is that it wouldn’t be picked up by the mainstream,” Palm told Re/code. “That’s where we see our mission.”

However, the path to mainstream VR gaming doesn’t necessarily lie in a Candy Crush-style game, he added.

“I try to stay away from [the term] ‘casual games’ because it’s very much used for switchers and bubble-shooters,” Palm said. “I like to refer to ‘accessibility’ as a designer, making sure a game is very easy to get into.”

After its already-released Solitaire Jester — which is, surprise, a solitaire game — Resolution says its next title will be a fishing game. With both, the fact that players will have a real-world frame of reference for the actions they’re performing will supposedly ease the transition into VR.

Both games are being developed for the Samsung Gear VR, and although Palm said Resolution is looking at other platforms, he praised the wireless headset for feeling like the most mainstream-ready device currently headed to market. Although a version intended for developers and enthusiasts debuted last year, Samsung and Gear VR co-developer Oculus are planning to release a consumer edition later this year.

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