Facebook announced today that it has acquired Ready at Dawn, marking the company’s third VR studio buyout. The 17 year old game studio is most recently known for its acclaimed VR titles, Lone Echo and Echo VR, both published by Facebook’s Oculus Studios. Ready at Dawn’s next VR title, Lone Echo II is due to launch later this year.

Following the acquisitions of VR game Beat Games (makers of Beat Saber) and Sanzaru Games (makers of Asgard’s Wrath and others), Facebook has picked up yet another high profile VR studio, Ready at Dawn. The terms of the acquisition were not announced, but Facebook confirmed in its announcement that “the entire Ready At Dawn team will be joining the Oculus Studios team [Facebook’s VR publishing arm] .”

Ready at Dawn CEO Ru Weerasuriya said today on Twitter that the acquisition marks “a new chapter” for the studio.

“Nearly 17 years ago, we embarked on a journey to build a game studio. Along the way, we innovated on genres, experiences, games and platforms. Today, we’re excited to join the Facebook family as we open a new chapter in our story and continue to pursue our passions,” he wrote.

The company’s first Oculus-exclusive VR title, Lone Echo (2017), is one of the best rated games in the company’s PC VR library. The game’s multiplayer spin-off Echo VR (2017) has remained a mainstay of multiplayer VR gaming on Oculus’ platform, right up to the recent release of Echo VR beta on Oculus Quest.

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Facebook’s VP of VR & AR, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, echoed the sentiment on Twitter, and gave a strong indication that the studio will continue to focus specifically on VR content.

“Ready At Dawn is a veteran game developer, having shipped games to multiple platforms in the past, and a VR pioneer. Excited for the team to join Facebook to help us pursue a future of rich, immersive, and groundbreaking VR content.”

Ready at Dawn has been in development of Lone Echo II since at least 2018. The game was due to launch in 2019, but has seen several delays, most recently due to Coronavirus, which has pushed the release date into the second half of 2020.

Image courtesy Ready at Dawn

In a 2018 interview with Road to VR, CEO Ru Weerasuriya, said that the studio wanted to continue to break new ground in the VR medium.

“I think VR is an amazing medium purely because we’re learned so much in the last three years of being in VR that we can’t see ourselves kind of detaching from it, because we’d lose part of who we’ve become as a studio,” said Weerasuriya. “We’re currently exploring a lot of ideas that would guide things that we haven’t seen in VR. In the future we hope to actually address certain things that we see today that we take for granted maybe that are not possible in VR, but we’re very much looking into breaking those boundaries and seeing how we can do things that are not being done yet, and kind of move the medium forward.”

Facebook Now Owns Three VR Game Studios

Image courtesy Facebook

The acquisition of Ready at Dawn is the third VR studio to come under Facebook’s control. As with both Beat Games and Sanzaru Games—which had developed some of the most acclaimed VR content in Oculus’ game library—the buyout of Ready at Dawn feels partly defensive; as Facebook’s Oculus Studios had published all of Ready at Dawn’s VR titles to date (and in doing so, helped the studio build years of VR game development experience), it would be risky to let the studio fall into the hands of competitors.

That happened last year when Sony snatched up Insomniac Games, a veteran VR studio which had developed four Oculus Studios titles, along with many non-VR titles (like the PlayStation hit, Marvel’s Spider-Man).

And then there’s Microsoft which—despite not currently having plans for VR on Xbox—has picked up a considerable amount of VR talent during its studio shopping spree of the last few years.

Beyond a defensive move, the purchase of Ready at Dawn is almost certain to result in the studio’s next title being its first to support Oculus Quest, as Facebook has been focusing heavily on ensuring that new Oculus Studios titles prioritize support for Quest.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • mfx

    I knew so much it would happen…
    They are committed to Oculus, their games are among the most popular: Same destiny as beat game then.

    I hope it push Oculus to use Rust programming language more extensively.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    No matter what your opinion is of FB and Mark its founder.They put vr on the map and made it affordable and available to everyone with oculus.Jesus loves you !

    • silvaring

      Ahem… I would argue it was actually Palmer Luckey, Nate and the rest of Oculus that put VR on the map. Facebook just came in with the big money when it was already a rolling success. If anything Facebook has done great things to invest in R&D for VR, but who knows how much of that is spilling out into the public / being shared across other companies?

  • Smokey_the_Bear

    I played echo on my Quest a few weeks back, loads of fun, but it’s also the harshest on the controllers & my poor poor walls.

    • Andrew McEvoy

      And your knuckles?

  • Gleam

    I think this is great news! Ready at Dawn have already proven themselves to be extremely competent developers already, and with this support I think they can position themselves to become the EA of VR in the future!

  • MeowMix

    The RaD gaming engine will also become property of FB. I wonder if we’ll see more VR games on Oculus using the RaD engine.

  • DanDei

    Can’t say I am happy to see more talented studios become first party developers for Oculus and Oculus ONLY. I just hope it won’t even matter that much in the future when larger established studios and the big publishers finally go all in on VR. EA, Ubisoft and Bethesda have been shy so far to enter this market with more than small scale games. Star Trek Bridge Crew was probably the biggest one so far and even that was a very limited scope AA game. The announcement of Squadron however is a sign that the tides are turning and that the big guys are now ready to invest more. That could bring us VR games of a scope that was previously reserved for heavily subsidized Oculus exclusives.

    • Bumpy

      If Squadron was VR only I’d agree.
      Squadron will sell in great numbers but I don’t think VR will be a large contributing factor for those numbers. The usual Star Wars IP draw will be the seller.
      EA would not do a space flight game or VR game by itself, they are doing one cause it says Star Wars in the cover.

  • PJ

    Great for Oculus, bad for VR

    • mfx

      Why bad for VR?
      They were already doing Oculus Exclusive games anyway, so, that doesn’t change anything compared to yesterday.

      • PJ

        Well know there going to continue with Oculus exclusives. And there’s end in sight of Oculus knocking down this stupid “walled garden”

        • Andrew McEvoy

          Wouldn’t this be playable using Revive though? I know its not certain but will Oculus make it so Re

          • PJ

            Most likely it will, but here are annoyances with revive will controller mapping, not every game works as “intended”

  • Bumpy

    VR does not need more walled garden, it’s slowing growth.

    • david vincent

      What makes you think it’s slowing growth ?

  • kontis

    When I saw Order 1886 being the most visually impressive forward shading game ever made I immediately thought they should be making VR games.

    it just all made sense.