Meta has announced that the studio behind the virtual reality fitness game Supernatural will join the firm, bringing the total number of studios owned by what was once known as Facebook’s Oculus division to seven. Within, the business behind Supernatural will continue to work on the popular fitness app and will also assist Meta’s Reality Labs in “enhance[ing] future hardware to accommodate VR fitness apps,” according to the company.
Within’s acquisition by Meta isn’t exactly surprising. The firm has spent the last few years acquiring a slew of prominent VR studios, including Lone Echo’s Ready at Dawn, the team behind Beat Saber, and others working on projects that have been dubbed the “Virtual Fortnite” and “Roblox” by some.
Given Meta’s emphasis on its headsets as training equipment (Supernatural was even mentioned in the company’s Connect conference on Thursday), it’s understandable that Zuckerberg’s business would want to add a popular VR fitness game to its lineup. However, the transit does nothing to alleviate fears that Meta will own the whole virtual reality business.
While Supernatural is the company’s flagship app, it has also hosted virtual reality experiences, according to its website. In 2016, the company’s website hosted the Mr. Robot VR episode (executive produced by Within founder Chris Milk), and the company’s website hosts dozens of documentaries, music videos, and more. For a firm seeking to develop a metaverse where people hang around and watch the video together, streaming technology and content collection isn’t a terrible buy.
Meta (previously Facebook) announced the acquisition of its sixth virtual reality studio today. Within, the studio behind the famous Quest exclusive VR fitness app Supernatural is back this time.
On the Oculus blog, Meta announced the acquisition of Within, stating that the studio would be run by Meta Reality Labs, the company’s XR division. The purchase price has not been disclosed. However, meta said the studio would “continue to be operated autonomously” with prior VR studio purchases.The path to this phase has been long and winding. The startup, initially known as Vrse, was launched in 2014, two years before the first consumer VR headsets were released. Initially, the company focused on 360 VR video material, such as Evolution of Verse and Clouds Over Sidra, seminal 360 short films.
However, the company eventually grew beyond producing its content and developed a streaming library of immersive cinema, raising tens of millions of dollars in the process. Like most VR video streaming systems, the app struggled to gain popularity, but it is still available on all major platforms today.With the debut of the Quest-exclusive Supernatural in 2020, the business took a strong move into the VR fitness industry.
The app is structured similarly to Beat Saber (which Meta bought) but focuses on fitness and coaching.Since its debut, Supernatural has been a fan favorite at Meta. It was one of the first Quest apps to use a subscription pricing model. Despite being reprimanded for its relatively high monthly price, it appears to have found a lot of momentum, with Meta frequently referring to it as the poster child for virtual reality fitness on Quest.