One of the trending VR/AR (virtual reality and augmented reality) games in 2018 was one where you have to whip a pair of lightsabers to slice blocks in different directions and dodge virtual walls while music plays in the background. Yes, that game is “Beat Saber,” and the studio that created it, Beat Games, is now owned by Facebook.
On Tuesday, Mike Verdu, the director of content for Oculus, a company Facebook purchased in 2014, welcomed the Czech Republic-based Beat Games to the social media giant via a blog post on the Oculus website.
“Today we’re announcing that Beat Games is joining us in our quest to bring VR to more people around the world. They will join Oculus Studios as an independently operated studio in Prague, continuing to create new ways for people to experience music and VR gaming,” Verdu wrote.
Facebook sees this acquisition as an opportunity to merge the talent and know-how they already possess at Oculus with the video game maker’s. The social network wants to further beef up what “Beat Saber” can offer in terms of music and other in-game feature and of course, that includes bringing the game to the billions of people actively using the social media platform.
Facebook did not disclose the exact figures for the deal.
In 2018, Beat Games offered early access to “Beat Saber” and had continued to develop the game until its eventual release in May 2019. Since last year, it bagged a number of awards, including a Gamer’s Choice Award in 2018, Best VR/AR Game in 2019 from the Game Developers Choice Awards, a Best VR/AR game from the Golden Joystick Awards and other awards and nominations.
One of the concern, however, is that indie companies don’t often blend well with larger companies and mergers such as this will only ruin a “what could have been” a fun game.
Verdu addressed this doubt, “I’ve been in the industry for a while and have seen that firsthand. However, I’ve also seen and been a part of some incredible success stories. The story we aim to prove over time is this: An indie studio joins forces with some like-minded allies, and together they find a way to push VR to new heights.”
With this acquisition, Facebook is expanding its VR/AR division, and they are actively exploring other ways of enhancing VR. Back in September, Facebook also purchased Ctrl-Labs, which is a company that develops wristbands that interprets neuron activity and can allow humans to control computers through their mind.