Red Robot Labs Raises $8.5 Million to Try to Bring Mobile Games to Real Life

Red Robot Labs has secured $8.5 million to help the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company achieve its goal of bringing games into the real world.

How does it intend to do that? By integrating real locations into the experience.

Last month, Red Robot Labs unveiled its first location-based game, called Life is Crime, which required players to commit virtual crimes at various landmarks in Seattle.

The experiment took place over the weekend at the Penny Arcade Expo, where competing players “committed” more than 20,000 crimes at the convention center and “hospitalized” more than 1,000 criminals, “trafficked” $1 million in contraband and “robbed” a total of $35 million.

The round of funding was led by Benchmark Capital with Shasta Ventures, and existing investors Rick Thompson, co-founder of Playdom, and Chamath Palihapitiya, former Facebook executive, also participating.

Red Robot Labs said it aims to grow its game studio and develop its gaming platform. It will also form third-party studio partnerships.

The nine-month-old company was founded by Mike Ouye, who previously headed up monetization and revenue for Playdom, which was bought by Disney, and Crowdstar, an independent social games company. The other co-founder-slash-investor is Palihapitiya, who is also the founder of the Social+Capital Partnership, a venture fund focused on the social and technology spaces.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik