Facebook Buys the Small Company Behind Million-Selling VR Game Beat Saber

Well, this is unexpected. Today TechCrunch announced that mighty Facebook has bought the tiny Czech company Beat Games, makers of Beat Saber, which is probably the most successful VR game to date with well over a million units sold.

TechCrunch reporter Lucas Matney wrote:

Beat Games was one of the more successful VR game studios out there — they had announced earlier this year that they had sold more than 1 million copies of the game — but part of the reason they were prosperous was because they were so lean. When I profiled the studio last year, they had just 8 employees and had opted out of raising any VC funding.

Meanwhile, as VR’s most popular game, Facebook had a bit riding on their continued success. Facebook highlighted the studio’s success specifically at its its VR developer conference and had included a limited version of the studio’s game for free on its Oculus Quest headsets. Buying the studio means allowing them to expand ambitions without being concerned about profitability.

Beat Games had begun expansion by partnering with musicians to release their songs as levels in the game, partnering with artists like Imagine Dragons and Panic at the Disco to bring paid level packs to Beat Saber. One can imagine that Facebook will have a much easier time making conversations happen with top artists.

One thing that die-hard fans of the game will likely not enjoy is how this acquisition will impact user mods. The studio had introduced tools for users to create their own songs with uploaded audio files and unsurprisingly there’s a good deal of content that’s probably not supposed to be on there. With a small game studio that stuff was more likely to slide, but Facebook has the resources to crack down on it so I’m guessing they’ll have to.

So, you can expect a swift end to the practice of creating and distributing custom songs for Beat Saber, since most of them do not have the copyright holder’s permission to do so. However, Facebook certainly has enough money to ink deals with various record labels to legally put their tunes on Beat Saber.

It will be interesting to see what other smaller VR game developers Facebook decides to snap up. And here’s an intriguing thought: could we someday see a Beat Saber portal built directly into Facebook’s planned social VR platform Horizon?

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Oops! I Made a Big Mistake…

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Today, I accidentally published a blogpost that is not supposed to see the light of day until next week. I quickly unpublished it, but of course, all the email subscribers to my blog got sent a copy of the text of that particular blogpost, which I can’t take back.

DAMN!

I would please, PLEASE ask (for those of you who got that email message earlier today) that you not tell anybody about my news, which is going to be public knowledge next week. Thank you and I’m sorry.

Editorial: Why I Think the Oculus Quest Will Be THE Major Virtual Reality Headset of 2020

I’m calling it now, exactly one month before Christmas: this year’s hottest gifts will be Baby Yoda toys and the Oculus Quest.

The Baby Yoda thing is patently obvious (I mean, look at him!), but the Quest? Why do I think this?

Because with the release of the Oculus Link software, the Oculus Quest can now be used both as a standalone VR headset, and as a VR headset connected to a gaming PC to run Oculus Rift titles and apps.

Although I have said that I prefer my Oculus Rift to the Quest/Link setup, and (to be honest) if I were starting over again completely from scratch, I would probably buy the more powerful Valve Index, I do think that the Oculus Quest is going to be the first truly successful consumer VR hardware in 2020.

It’s very attractively priced, and Facebook has already reported that they are selling Quests as fast as they can make them. The company is slowly but steadily expanding the number of apps on their Oculus Quest store. When Facebook loosens their tight curatorial control on the Quest store, and make it easier for developers to submit apps (which I expect to happen next year), we can expect sales of the Quest to boom.

And it will become a virtuous circle: the more popular the Quest becomes, the more developers will create apps for it. The more apps available, the more Quests Facebook will sell.

Mark my words: 2020 will be the Year of the Quest.

Will Half-Life: Alyx Become Virtual Reality’s Killer App?

Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Discord yet? You’re invited to be a part of the first ever cross-worlds discussion group, with over 300 people participating from every social VR platform and virtual world! More details here.


A killer app, if you are not familiar with the term, is a piece of software that you want so badly that you will purchase the hardware required to run it:

One of the first recognized examples of a killer application is generally agreed to be the VisiCalc spreadsheet for the Apple II series. Because it was not available on other computers for 12 months, people spent $100 for the software first, then $2,000 to $10,000 on the Apple computer they needed to run it.

And it would appear that at least some rabid gamers are willing to shell out for a VR headset, just to be able to play the latest installment in the Half-Life videogame franchise, as this tweet suggests:

Valve is releasing Half-Life: Alyx in March of 2020. The game will work on any VR headset that supports SteamVR (and Valve Index owners will get it for free):

Note that Oculus Quest owners will also be able to play the game if they have a powerful enough computer with a supported graphics card, the proper USB 3.0 cable, and the Oculus Link software.

Here’s the promotional trailer for the game, which has racked up over 7 million views on YouTube in less than two days:

So, what do you think? Will you buy the game? Will you actually buy a VR headset just to play the game? (It is a VR-only game; there will be no equivalent flat-screen desktop version available.) Please feel free to leave a comment below, or even better, join us on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server and tell us what you think there! We’d love to have you.