In a bid to enhance its virtual reality offering, Facebook announced on Monday that it has acquired spatial audio technology company Two Big Ears. The company also took the opportunity to introduce the free ‘Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation’ which is a revamped version of Two Big Ears’ platform.

The terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. According to the companies, Facebook now owns all of services provided by Two Big Ears, including authoring tools, encoder and rendering engine. The social networking giant also added that all these tools will now be available as free downloads. The services are also being rapidly developed under Facebook and support will be provided for those who seek it.

Two Big Ears said that customers who currently own a pro license will continue to receive support in accordance with their current agreement for the next 12 months. The VR audio company also added that it will continue its work on the features that were to come in the near future, like Windows support etc, alongside the Oculus team at Facebook.

The company offered plugins called Unity, Wwise and FMOD, which are gaming specific features. According to the inventor, the plugins are no longer available for evaluation and purchase. If you have a license, though, support will be provided for the next 12 months as per your agreement. The company will now be working with team Oculus at Facebook to improve the quality of the VR SDK and provide it to developers free of charge.

In the past, Two Big Ears has worked with many media and content development companies. The biggest name in the lot is of Google-owned YouTube. YouTube’s spatial audio space was almost first filled Two Big Ears, improving vastly, the quality of VR the video-sharing service provided.

To download the free tools, you can head right here. In case you own a paid license and are in need of support, you use the support mail address of Two Big Ears.

Here’s a gist of today’s announcement:

Starting today, our pipeline for cinematic VR and 360 video, including the authoring tools, encoder and rendering engine are available for free via download below. We’re excited to be able to continue developing great tools for a larger number of people across the world. 3Dception for Games will no longer be a separate product but we will be working with the Oculus team to combine our expertise and create best in class VR audio. Existing Pro customers will continue to receive support in accordance with your current agreement for the next 12 months.

Thank you to our customers, partners and investors, including board members George Elliott and Neil Heywood, the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Enterprise and everybody who has been with us on this amazing journey. We look forward to advancing our mission – and continuing our work with you – from Facebook!

The Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation

The Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation is a completely free software suite for designing spatial audio for 360 video and cinematic VR. It includes plugins for popular audio workstations, a time synchronised 360 video player and utilities to help design and publish spatial audio in a variety of formats. The authoring tools require OSX 10.7 or greater. A recent Mac is recommended. Support for Windows will be added in the near future.

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