Appnori Inc., a sports-focused VR game development company, has signed a character use agreement with Manny Pacquiao that enables the company to have the professional boxer headline its latest title.
The deal calls for Pacquiao to serve as the referee in a tournament held for the top 10-20 players in a yet-to-be-released game called The Manny Pacquiao Boxing Kings VR.
The signing of Pacquiao is part of a plan to scale up for Appnori, which in March received funding and support from Vive X, HTC Vive’s global accelerator program. Appnori also has financial support from the South Korean government, Kwon said.
Appnori is looking to raise $2 million in funding that would help the company to sign more sports stars like Pacquiao and ultimately raise its profile.
The startup has already released VR games for baseball and ping pong, with being showcased by the Lamigo Monkeys, a Chinese Professional Baseball League team in Taiwan.
“With this game, we are creating our own ecosystem,” Sean Kwon, Head of International Business Development at Appnori, said in a recent presentation.
“When they are familiar with playing offline, they can go online to compete with others around the world. We will invite high rankers to an actual offline tournament where Manny Pacquiao will be a referee. Luckily, Manny Pacquiao already agreed to be a referee.”