Facebook has evolved throughout the years to come at the forefront of social media, and with WhatsApp and Instagram in its arsenal, it has a distinct advantage over the others. On Friday, Facebook added yet another name to its long list of acquisitions, after it acquired Seattle-based gaming studio BigBox VR, the company behind the popular virtual reality battle royale game Population: One. BigBox VR would be joining Oculus Studios, Facebook’s virtual reality headset maker. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, although it has been told that the entire VR team of BigBox would be joining Oculus Studios.
This is certainly not the first time Facebook has made acquisitions of VR game development studios. It had acquired Beat Games back in 2019, followed by Sanzaru games (who gave us Asgard’s Wrath) in February 2020 and Lone Echo creator Ready at Dawn last June. This year, it had acquired multiplayer shooter game Onward maker Downpour Interactive.
In a blog post, Mike Verdu, Facebook Reality Labs’ Vice President of content, said, “One of the most popular social experiences in VR has proven to be Population: One, the breakout battle royale from BigBox VR. Today, I’m honored to share that BigBox VR is joining Facebook.” The game is known as the Fortnite of VR gaming because of a number of similar gaming techniques, structure and business model, and other features. It has consistently ranked as one of the top-performing games on Oculus, bringing together up to 24 people at a time to connect, play, and compete in a virtual world. The game has already brought in $10 million in revenue within the few months since it was launched on the Oculus platform, one of the key reasons that drew Facebook’s attention to it.
“While social is bringing players into POP: ONE, the quirky humor, continual updates, and pure fun of the environment keeps them coming back time and time again — we’ve even seen players scheduling time to meet in-game for a synchronous social experience,” the blog post added.
Facebook said BigBox VR would continue to operate as an independent studio.
“BigBox VR has big plans for the future of POP: ONE and for other projects, but we’re not ready to share details at this time,” a blog post prepared by Facebook stated. Population: One will continue to be supported on all its current platforms.
The company added that it planned to help BigBox to accelerate its vision for the game with access to the resources and support of Facebook and Oculus Studios, while simultaneously maintaining the team’s creativity, disciplined methodology, and commitment to the community. Facebook would also aid BigBox in cultivating its community, and, in the future, pursue other projects. It promised that it would preserve BigBox VR’s “nimble, iterative, creative” culture and approach, along with the studio’s passion for fostering the community of Population: One.