Facebook has bought several virtual reality game studios over the past couple of years, and they added one more to their portfolio Friday with the acquisition of Seattle-based BigBox VR.
The studio’s major 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 movements unique to virtual reality and bringing in their own lore and art style.
As has been the case for most of these studio acquisitions, terms weren’t disclosed. BigBox raised $6.5 million according to Crunchbase, with funding from Shasta Ventures, Outpost Capital, Pioneer Square Labs and GSR Ventures.
“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,” Facebook’s Mike Verdu wrote in a blog post.
It’s not unusual for a gaming hardware platform owner to build up their own web of studios building platform exclusives, but in the VR world things are a little different, given that Facebook has few real competitors.
While many of the developers inside Oculus Studios continue to build titles for Valve’s Steam store, which are accessible with third-party headsets, most non-Facebook VR platforms seem to be a shrinking piece of the overall VR pie, having been priced out of the market by Facebook’s aggressive pursuit of a mass market audience. Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 retails for $299 and the company has said that it outsold all of its previous devices combined in its first few months.
In April, Facebook acquired Downpour Interactive, maker of the VR shooter “Onward.”