Facebook Bought a Virtual Reality Game Studio

Facebook has bought several virtual reality gaming studios over the past couple of years. The social networking giant added another company to its asset on Friday — buying Seattle-based BigBox VR.

The studio’s main name, Population: One, was one of the big releases of Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 headset and is a direct Fortnite clone, copying several essential gaming techniques, adapting them to movements unique to virtual reality and bringing its own expertise and art style.

As with most of these studio acquisitions, no timeline has been disclosed. According to Crunchbase, BigBox has raised $6.5 million in funding from Shasta Ventures, Outpost Capital, Pioneer Square Labs and GSR Ventures.

“POP: ONE burst onto the VR scene just nine months ago and is consistently among the most effective games on the Oculus platform, bringing up to 24 people at a time to interact, play and compete in a virtual world,” Facebook’s Mike Verdu wrote on his blog.

It’s not unusual for a gaming hardware platform owner to create its own network of studios that develop exclusive platforms. Still, things are a little different in the virtual reality world, given that Facebook has few real competitors.

While many developers at Oculus Studios continue to create games for Valve’s Steam store that are available through third-party headsets, most non-Facebook virtual reality platforms seem to be a shrinking part of the overall VR market because they are not priced to match the market.

The Oculus Quest 2 now sells for $299, the company said that demand for the device has surpassed all previous versions combined in the first few months of sales.

In April, Facebook also acquired Downpour Interactive, maker of the VR shooter Onward.

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James J. Davis

James J. Davis

Software developer with 30 years of experience

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