The development group will join Oculus Studios as an “independently operated studio” out of their current offices in the United States and Canada. They’re the most recent acquisition following Prague-based Beat Games, the studio behind VR’s most popular title Beat Saber, which was acquired by Facebook late last year.
Facebook says it is not disclosing terms of the deal.
We’d speculated such a purchase was likely as Facebook made no secret that it is on a bit of a shopping spree for VR development talent in the build-up against existing gaming giants like Microsoft and Sony. Sanzaru made a lot of sense as a potential acquisition target since they’ve been a long-time partner of Oculus Studios and have released four titles for the Oculus Rift PC platform since 2016 with Ripcoil, VR Sports Challenge, MARVEL Powers United VR and, finally, Asgard’s Wrath, which we rated 5/5 stars and called “VR’s best and most ambitious game yet.”
Facebook guards its sales numbers for consumer VR hardware but since the release of Oculus Quest in May 2019 they’ve had trouble keeping the $400 standalone VR headset in stock while adding surprising features to it like the Oculus Link wired PC VR connection and experimental hand tracking.
Facebook also makes the Oculus Rift S PC VR headset priced at $400 which came bundled for a period last year with Asgard’s Wrath — a deep and sprawling role-playing game rooted in Norse mythology.
“We can confirm the vast majority of Sanzaru will be joining the Oculus Studios team,” a statement from Facebook explains. “We’re exploring many ways to accelerate VR, and 2020 is going to be an incredible year for VR game launches and announcements…This is just one of the many amazing VR announcements we have in store this year.”
Those are bold words but Facebook has a lot planned in VR and AR and is spending billions annually on research and development. Developers are building out controller-free hand-tracking support into Oculus Quest apps and Facebook also plans to launch a VR-based social networking service it calls Horizon. The company pulled out of a physical appearance at the Game Developers Conference in March due to Coronavirus concerns but may make announcements in connection with the event. The company also has its F8 developers conference slated for May and for the last six years hosted a VR developer conference called Oculus Connect late in the year.
What do you think of the acquisition? Which studio do you think Facebook might target for acquisition next?