PORT SAINT LUCIE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pulse Evolution Corporation (OTC:PLFX), a recognized pioneer and leading developer of hyper-realistic digital humans for entertainment, virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence, today announced that Original Force Computer Animation Co. Ltd (“Original Force”) and Shanghai U9 Game Co. Ltd (600652:SHH) (“U9 Game”) have combined to invest $10 million in Pulse common stock, at a valuation of $1.00 per share. Both Original Force and U9 Game are backed by Chinese digital-entertainment giant, Tencent Holding Limited (0700:HK), a $200-billion global conglomerate whose subsidiaries include Internet, mobile, instant-messaging and music-distribution companies.
Commenting on the new venture, John Textor, executive chairman of Pulse Evolution, said: “We are certainly pleased to have the support of Original Force, and its Chairman Harley Zhao. We have great respect for their commitment to story-based content and we share a belief that the greatest of stories deserve the very best in visual imagery.”
Mr. Textor continued, “We are also excited to have further validation of our technology from Shanghai U9 Game and its CEO Liang Liu. Digital humans are pervasive across the game space and we will enjoy the opportunity to upgrade the standards of digital life with such an impressive and fast growing video game company.”
The investment is part of a larger strategic relationship through which Original Force and U9 Game have become the first licensees of Pulse Evolution’s market-leading human animation software. Original Force will now benefit from Pulse Evolution technology in its principal business of feature animation filmmaking, while U9 Game will deploy the technology in the character based applications of its high-growth video game business. Both Original Force and U9 Game have also become partners of Pulse’s affiliated entertainment production companies, bringing global distribution support and complimentary video game expertise to Pulse’s primary live concert productions which are currently in development.
The principals of Pulse Evolution exploded onto the pop culture radar with the computer generated animation of Tupac Shakur, projected in holographic form at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music Festival. In 2014, they launched Pulse with the production of a ‘virtual’ Michael Jackson as the highlight of the Billboard Music Awards. Since then Pulse Evolution has secured exclusive rights to the digital likeness of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe and counts each of these leading estates as founding shareholders.
Original Force founder and president Harley Zhao commented, “Original Force has always aspired to the highest ideals of rich story telling and stunning visual imagery, in our films and in our games. The people of Pulse represent the greatest traditions of computer animation and their new company has quickly become the gold standard of human animation. We are thrilled to be their partners.”
Shanghai U9 Game CEO Liang Liu also contributed, “We too are happy that our friends at Original Force invited us into this partnership with Pulse. As the convergence of film, games and live performance continues, it is critical that we are able deliver the most visually stunning, believable and engaging human characters into the increasingly digital domain.”
“The support of Original Force and U9 Games, both with the backing of Tencent Holdings, further extends our global network of A-list investors and strategic partners,” concluded Dr. Rene Eichenberger, Vice Chairman of Pulse, “thus, helping to expand the reach of our technology and of our entertainment properties. Pulse now enjoys solid global support from leading media, entertainment and technology investors in Japan, China, Singapore, Europe and the United States.”
About Pulse Evolution Corporation
The Company is a recognized pioneer and leading developer of hyper-realistic digital humans, and is most popularly known for producing the animated digital human likeness of the late Michael Jackson that appeared in a live performance at the Billboard Music Awards on May 18, 2014, seen by more than 11 million television viewers and generating more than 2,400 news articles and 98 billion Internet impressions.
Founded by the world's leading executives and producers of photorealistic digital humans, such as the lead character from the film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and the concert experience “Tupac at Coachella”, Pulse Evolution is currently developing computer-generated digital humans for entertainment and media applications, such as holographic live performances, virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. The Company has multi-year, exclusive digital likeness agreements with the Estates of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, three of the world's most valuable celebrity estates, and is principally focused on generating revenues from these agreements.
The Company sees digital humans emerging as ubiquitous in society, culture and industry. They will not only perform for audiences on stage or in film, but they will also represent individual consumers as digital likeness avatars, in realistic and fantasy form, appearing and interacting on the consumer's behalf in electronic and mobile communication, social media, video games and virtual reality. Future digital humans will provide a relatable human interface for artificial intelligence applications, 'thinking' machine systems that, through the Company's technology, will appear as realistic communicating humans in mobile devices, digital signage, classrooms and through lightweight wearable augmented reality glasses and virtual reality headsets. The Company's long-term goal is to be the 'face' of artificial intelligence, to provide a human form to interactive artificially intelligent computer beings.
Pulse is headquartered in Port St. Lucie, Florida with studios in San Rafael, California. Please visit www.pulse.co
About Original Force Computer Animation Co., Ltd.
Founded in 1999 by President and CEO Harley Zhao, Original Force has established itself as one of the preeminent CGI animation houses in China with more than 1000 employees. Original Force is dedicated to telling compelling, visually stunning stories through digital animation. Original Force is developing and producing feature films both on its own and in partnership with major content providers in the U.S. and China. The studio is actively building relationships with visionary filmmakers and artists and exploring innovative approaches to creating animated entertainment with broad, global appeal.
In the video game arena, Original Force is also providing top-quality content services to global clients including Microsoft, Activision, Electronic Arts, Sony, Disney, Rockstar Games and Tencent. Its art team has created in-game animation and effects for dozens of top-selling titles including “Grand Theft Auto V,” “Need for Speed: The Run,” “League of Legends” and “The Sims 3.”
Chinese digital-entertainment giant Tencent Holding Limited (0700:HK) is a strategic investor in Original Force. A $200-billion global conglomerate whose subsidiaries include Internet, mobile, instant-messaging and music-distribution companies, Tencent also owns significant stakes in such successful U.S. game makers as Activision Blizzard (“Call of Duty®”), Riot Games (“League of Legends”), Epic Games (“Gears of War”), and recently, Tencent (“QQ Speed”) in developing a feature film based on their game.
About Shanghai U9 Game Company, Ltd.
Shanghai U9 Game Cp., Ltd. (600652:SHH) is a passionate and energetic company that works in all areas of gaming, including development, operations and publishing. U9 was one of the first joint-equity companies and one of the first gaming companies to be listed on the Shanghai stock Exchange. U9 grew from a small initial investment many years ago to now being valued at more than 20 billion RMB.
In 2014, Shanghai U9 Game acquired all the rights and assets of U9 Time Technology Limited Company (Beijing Division), while at the same time raising more outside capital and investment. In November of 2014, U9 completed a restructuring effort to focus more on sales, R&D and the development of online games.
U9 is dedicated to improving efficiency and profitability through better resource allocation, increasing product quality and by streamlining all internal company processes to minimize waste and unnecessary redundancy. Through these efforts and more, U9 is working hard to increase brand value and recognition.
For the future, U9 will continue to focus on brand recognition; as one major goal is to expand into overseas markets and to improve brand recognition in the entire gaming industry in general. U9’s ultimate goal is to focus on innovation so as to ensure sustainable development, profitability and on-going growth.