“Either we will create simulations that cannot be distinguished from reality or civilization will cease to exist, these are the two options.”
Facebook has acquired BigBox VR for an undisclosed amount up to its VR game. Game industry veteran Chia Chin Lee (formerly led teams at Sony and Disney) and Gabe Brown founded BigBox in 2016. The duo is also the brains of the popular Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
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“We continue to invest in content that fosters social connection and we believe that POP: ONE delivers this experience to the virtual reality community through a very fun gaming experience,” said Mike Verdu, vice president of content for Facebook Reality Labs, in a post.
Population: One, released nine months ago, is one of the best performing games on the Oculus platform. While similar to battle royale games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in terms of mechanics, Population: One is built for virtual reality. Players (allow 24 players at a time) can climb, fly and jump as if they were in real life.
In April, Facebook acquired Downpour Interactive, another popular virtual reality game developer behind the successful military multiplayer simulator Onward. Like POP: One, Onward has been on the Oculus platform for several years.
Facebook also acquired virtual reality companies such as Ready at Dawn (creator of Lone Echo) in June 2020, Sanzaru Games (Asgard’s Warth) in February 2020 and Beat Games (Beat Saber) in November 2019.
The story of Oculus
The history of Oculus as an independent company has been quite short. Facebook acquired Oculus for a $ 2 billion drop in 2014, just two years after its establishment. Co-founder Palmer Luckey, a virtual reality enthusiast since his teens (he once claimed to have the largest personal collection of virtual reality headsets) and a dropout in journalism, founded Oculus with John Carmack (also co-founder of id Software; the main programmer) of Doom, Wolfenstein 3D and Quake). One of Oculus ’top previous hits was the Oculus Rift VR headset, which surprised the industry. Needless to say, Facebook was hooked.
Since the acquisition of Oculus, Facebook has launched two major VR headsets: Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2. The company has also created Oculus Studio which focuses on funding, publishing and studio consulting services. of third parties to create virtual reality games and experiences.
In 2020, as part of Facebook’s branding efforts for VR and AR technologies, Oculus folded into “Facebook Reality Labs” with Spark AR, Facebook’s augmented reality team and Portal, the display device Facebook Smart Video Conferencing
Facebook VR / AR ambitions
In an earlier interview, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said, “Virtual reality will be bigger than people realize.” The world is moving towards a future where people work, play and interact in these virtual and augmented worlds. Facebook wants to shape the next generation of computer platforms to deal more with people interacting and not just apps and tasks, he added.
A recent report showed that Facebook had about 10,000 employees working in AR / VR. That is, the Facebook Reality Labs division accounts for nearly one-fifth of Facebook’s total workforce. “I think it’s logical that we invest deeply to help shape what I think will be the next major computer platform, this combination of augmented reality and virtual reality, to make sure it develops in a way that is fundamentally about people being present with each other and meeting us, ”Zuckerberg said.
In February this year, Facebook announced that it would integrate its Messenger app with Oculus Quest. If the move pays off, a natural progression for Facebook would be to connect VR to Facebook’s Workplace and definitely change the collaboration game.
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