Facebook is acquiring Beat Games, the studio responsible for virtual reality megahit Beat Saber. That is a VR music game where players must hit flying boxes with glowing laser swords. Beat Saber had a blockbuster debut on Oculus, SteamVR, and PlayStation VR headsets. Now, Beat Games will bring its expertise to making VR experiences as an Oculus Studios first-party team.
“Today we’re announcing that Beat Games is joining us in our quest to bring VR to more people around the world,” Oculus content boss Mike Verdu writes in a blog post. “They will join Oculus Studios as an independently operated studio in Prague, continuing to create new ways for people to experience music and VR gaming.”
And if you are a Beat Saber fan — especially if you’re playing on PSVR or with a Vive — this isn’t anything to worry about. Beat Games is going to continue supporting Beat Saber on every platform moving forward.
“Most importantly, what the community has come to love about Beat Saber will remain intact,” writes Verdu. “Beat Games will continue to ship content and updates for Beat Saber across all currently supported platforms, now with even more support from Facebook.”
We're excited to announce we're joining @oculus Studios as an independently operated studio in Prague! This is a big step for us and we can't wait to push VR even further together! https://t.co/WzWLjtnN7g
— Beat Games (@BeatGamesStudio) November 26, 2019
What does this mean for Beat Saber and the studio?
By purchasing Beat Games, Oculus Studios is getting a team of VR veterans. And the publisher is promising to let the studio continue to operate independently. This is about Facebook providing resources to Beat Games to produce content for virtual reality. Verdu says that he understands how big companies can ruin smaller teams. And he wants to avoid that.
“I’ve been in the industry for a while and have seen that firsthand,” writes Verdu. “However, I’ve also seen and been a part of some incredible success stories. The story we aim to prove over time is this: An indie studio joins forces with some like-minded allies, and together they find a way to push VR to new heights.”
And what about the strong Beat Saber community and modding? A lot of that content skirts around or outright violates copyright law. Facebook is the kind of company that may want to stamp that out. And Verdu makes that clear.
“We understand and appreciate the value that modding brings to Beat Saber when done so legally and within our policies,” writes Verdu. “We’re going to do our best to preserve the value that mods bring to the Beat Saber player base. As a reminder, our most recent policy updates give more clarity to how developer mode is intended to be used, such as helping developers build their apps or for enthusiasts to explore new concepts. It is not intended for engaging in piracy or illicit modding, including mods that infringe on third-party IP rights or contain malicious code.”
Earlier this year, Beat Games’ Jaroslav Beck said he was interested in the studio investing in smaller VR devs. GamesBeat asked Facebook if this would change post-acquisition.
“I’m excited by the idea that the Beat Games founders could collaborate with other teams and provide creative leverage for other VR projects. We’ve yet to explore this specific notion with the leadership team at Beat Games. With that said, we share a passionate interest in accelerating VR and taking the medium to new heights,” Verdu said.
Update, 10:42 p.m. Tuesday with comment from Facebook about Beat Games’ saying it was interested in investing in smaller devs.