Facebook buys virtual reality game studio BigBox VR

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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BigBox VR
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The American social media giant Facebook has acquired several virtual reality (VR) gaming studios in recent years, and now they added one more to their portfolio with the acquisition of US-based BigBox VR.

The studio’s main title, “Population: One,” was one of the big post-launch releases for Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 headset and is a pretty direct Fortnite clone, copying a number of key gameplay techniques while adapting them for the unique movements of virtual reality and incorporating their lore and art style.

Terms were not disclosed, as they have been for the most of recent studio acquisitions. According to sources, BigBox raised $6.5 million in fundraising from US-based Shasta Ventures, Outpost Capital, Pioneer Square Labs, and GSR Ventures.

Mr. Mike Verdu, Vice President of content for Facebook Reality Labs remarked that “POP: ONE stormed onto the VR scene just nine months ago and has consistently ranked as one the top-performing titles on the Oculus platform, bringing together up to 24 people at a time to connect, play, and compete in a virtual world.”

It’s not uncommon for a gaming hardware platform owner to create their web of studios to develop platform exclusives, but things are a little different in the VR sector, given that Facebook has few real competitors.

While many of the developers inside Oculus Studios continue to work on titles for Valve’s Steam store, which are accessible with third-party headsets, most non-Facebook VR platforms appear to be shrinking piece of the overall VR pie, having been priced out of the market by Facebook’s aggressive pursuit of a mass-market audience.

The Oculus Quest 2 retails for $299, and Facebook has said that it outsold all of its previous devices combined in the first few months.

Facebook bought Downpour Interactive, the company behind the VR shooter “Onward,” in April.

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