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Ndreams, a developer and publisher of virtual reality games, has today announced its acquisition of long-time collaborator Near Light.

The companies have a working relationship going back more than five years, and they finally decided to combine to help shape the future of VR and augmented reality gaming.

Near Light developed the Ndreams (the company spells it nDreams)-published Perfect and Shooty Fruity VR titles, in addition to recently pioneering an AR experience for one of the world’s big toy brands. The studio is currently developing an unannounced VR title to be published by Ndreams.

Paul Mottram and Ben Hebb cofounded Near Light in 2016, having previously collaborated in key roles at Wide Games, Kuju Brighton and Zoë Mode. The pair previously worked on a number of innovative titles that championed new ways to play, including games in the EyeToy Play, SingStar and the Guitar Hero series.

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“We are hugely excited to be deepening Ndreams’ relationship with Near Light after many years of fruitful partnerships,” said Ndreams chief development officer Tom Gillo, in a statement. “Acquiring the studio will allow us to collaborate even more closely on medium-defining games, not to mention bringing Ben and Paul’s 20+ years of industry experience into the Ndreams family to strengthen our own expertise.”

Brighton, United Kingdom-based Near Light joins Farnborough-based Ndreams’ three existing development studios – Ndreams Studio (based in Farnborough), Ndreams Studio Elevation and Ndreams Studio Orbital (both fully-remote) – and extends the family into the vibrant game development hub of Brighton.

nDreams made the VR game Phantom Covert Ops.
Ndreams made the VR game Phantom Covert Ops.

“To be making our debut acquisition is yet another incredibly exciting milestone for nDreams,” added Ndreams CEO Patrick O’Luanaigh, in a statement. “For other development studios with whom we are similarly aligned on vision and strategy, there’s certainly potential for more acquisitions in our future.”

Following the $35 million investment in Ndreams by the Aonic Group, the publisher is accelerating its investments in both internal development and third-party publishing. This deal, Ndreams’ first acquisition, and it’s a sign of the company’s rapid and ambitious expansion.

“We’re really proud to be joining with Ndreams and shaping the future of VR and AR games together, a new frontier with the opportunity to do things nobody has done before,” said Near Light cofounder Paul Mottram, in a statement. “Near Light is very much aligned with the philosophy of Patrick and nDreams in terms of how we want to make games and build teams. It feels like the ideal fit for us.”

Working alongside Ndreams following this deal will feel familiar to the Near Light team, but closer ties between the two developers will also offer new opportunities.

“Going all the way back to Perfect and Shooty Fruity, our collaborations with nDreams have been really enjoyable,” added Ben Hebb, cofounder of Near Light, in a statement. “The feeling of working on great projects with a group of people you get on with is a special, unique thing and an absolute privilege. We’re thrilled to be working with nDreams to create titles that leave a powerful legacy.”

Ndreams published Phantom: Covert Ops, Far Cry: Dive Into Insanity and Fracked, as well as publishing innovative VR games developed by the brightest indie talents including the hit Little Cities. The company started in 2013. Near Light started in 2016.

Paul Mottram and Ben Hebb, co-founders of Near Light, began their working relationship at Kuju in 1996 before setting up Wide Games in Brighton in 2000 – the team behind which would go on to work under Kuju again as Zoë Mode.

Near Light draws on its leadership team’s experience of partnerships with the likes of Sony, Disney, Activision, Microsoft and Sega across a variety of gaming genres.

The name “Near Light” is inspired by a piece of music by Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds. The Near Light team currently consists of eight people, but it has previously expanded to around 20 at the peak of projects. Its acquisition by NDreams gives it scope to grow further.

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