Facebook Gaming has acquired Beat Studios, the virtual reality studio behind Beat Saber. Will the game be changing – and will it get even better?
Facebook takes over
Since launching in January 2018, Facebook Gaming has made quite the mark. They say that ‘each month more than 700 million people play games, watch gaming videos, or engage in gaming groups on Facebook‘.
The Streamlabs stats show that there were 153,000 active streamers on Facebook between April and June of this year.
There has been a flurry of movement recently. Pro player Disguised Toast (real name Jeremy Wang) left Twitch for Facebook Gaming. With over a million followers, this has to be a boost.
This is another blow for Twitch, who lost several top gamers and streamers in the last few weeks. Most have moved to the smaller platform Mixer and include Shroud, Faze Ewok, Ninja and King Gothalion.
Marching to the Beat
The VR game is simple but highly addictive! Players slash at music beats with their saber (hence the name) as they fly towards them represented by cubes.
Steamcharts report steady player volumes, with an all-time record of 42,095 peak players.
Beat Studios is joining with Oculus Studios, based in Prague, as an independently operated studio. Facebook has confirmed that ‘what the community has come to love about Beat Saber will remain intact. Beat Games will continue to ship content and updates for Beat Saber across all currently supported platforms‘.
Most excitingly, they are looking at innovations to take the VR game to the next level. Facebook says ‘we’re exploring many ways to accelerate VR, and we think next year is going to be an incredible one of VR game launches and announcements‘.
Beats Saber is a massively popular game, selling over a million copies (at $20 each) within the first nine months.
The game was the brainchild of Czech programmers Ján Ilavský and Vladimír Hrinčár who had previously won an Apple Design Award in 2016 for their game Chameleon Run. Jaroslav Beck, Beat Games CEO, saw a demo on the web and saw the potential to build a venture around it.
Beats have since gone on to develop custom retro-style arcade VR games with SKonec in South Korea. This taps into the Asian player market without the need for them to purchase VR hardware.
Their success is being heralded as the dawn of a new era for VR gaming, with the industry seeing ‘Beat Saber’s success as a sign that the VR industry’s days of lackluster growth are behind it‘.
What is the draw?
Gamers say that they earn more money through Facebook Gaming and YouTube than they do through big gaming platforms like Twitch.
Viewers of live video streams can subscribe to a streamer for $4.99 per month, or award ‘stars’ if they like what they see. Each star is worth $0.01 so you need a lot of stars to earn a living!
However, the bonus is that gamers are finding it easier to build their audience on Facebook. Perhaps this is the same reason for the mass switches over to Mixer – a smaller platform offers less competition and greater audience share for gamers looking to expand their audience.
Perhaps this means that the future of gaming is going to get more personal? Given Facebook’s propensity for growth, however, I doubt it. Whatever it looks like, it will probably be virtual.