Nov 27, 2019

Facebook's Oculus buys VR company behind Beat Saber

Image: Beat Games

Facebook said Tuesday in a blog post that its virtual reality unit is buying Beat Games, the company behind Beat Saber, one of the most popular games for its Oculus devices.

Why it matters: The move comes as a sign that Facebook continues to believe in — and put money into — VR even as the industry has slowed more than some had hoped.

Between the lines: Some wonder whether Facebook will draw legal challenges that the small, independent Beat Games did not. Troubles could include the use of copyrighted music or use of the terms "saber" and "lightsaber," given Disney is not known for liking others to use its intellectual property.

  • There's also the question of how long Facebook will be committed to Beat Saber for non-Oculus platforms, though Facebook said it plans to continue developing for all VR devices it currently supports.

What's next: Facebook suggested more deals may follow. "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. We are thrilled to have Beat Games join our team. This is just the beginning," the tech giant said in the blog post.

Go deeper: Facebook charts a path toward a more social virtual reality

Go deeper

The complicated future of augmented and virtual reality

Depending on who you talk with, augmented and virtual reality are either the next big thing or a giant disappointment. Several moves over the past week show it's probably both.

Between the lines: Both the products and the market are developing more slowly than initially anticipated, forcing startups to rejigger their plans to survive longer with less revenue and big companies to be cautious about investing too much, too soon.

Go deeperArrowDec 11, 2019

Facebook's plan to keep growing bigger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While content companies are pushing to diversify their businesses with subscriptions and licensing, and big tech companies draw on income from hardware sales and software sales and subscriptions, Facebook is sticking with advertising at scale for the foreseeable future.

Why it matters: Facebook created its massive business by handing out a free social network and monetizing it through ads. As it expands into other businesses like commerce, payments, and hardware, it's mostly sticking with that formula — convinced that "free and ad-supported" remains the best route to achieve massive scale and to deliver on its mission of connecting the world. 

Go deeperArrowDec 3, 2019

Facebook spends $130 million to fund content oversight board

Illustration: Aida Amer/Axios

Facebook said on Thursday that the company has made an initial commitment of $130 million to fund a trust for its global content oversight board. The board was proposed in 2018 as an independent authority to help users appeal Facebook's content moderation decisions.

Yes, but: The company disclosed that it was behind on announcing its board members, of which it could appoint up to 40. Facebook was planning to announce them by year's end, but said, "we've decided to take additional time to consider the many candidates who continue to be put forward."

Go deeperArrowDec 12, 2019