Meta (formerly Facebook) today announced its sixth VR studio acquisition. This time it’s Within, the studio behind the popular Quest exclusive VR fitness app Supernatural.

Meta announced the acquisition of Within on the Oculus blog saying that the studio will be run under Meta Reality Labs, the company’s XR organization. The price of the acquisition was not announced. Like previous VR studio acquisitions, Meta says the studio will “continue to be operated independently.”

Within has had a winding path to this moment. The company was founded back in 2014, originally called Vrse, two years before the first consumer VR headsets hit the market. At first the company was producing 360 VR video content, including some seminal 360 short films like Evolution of Verse and Clouds Over Sidra. Eventually the company expanded beyond producing its own content and built a streaming content library of immersive films, and raised tens of millions of dollars along the way. Like most VR video streaming platforms, the app struggled to find strong traction, though it remains available today on all major platforms.

The company made a hard pivot into the VR fitness space with the release of the Quest-exclusive Supernatural in 2020. Structurally the app plays a lot like Beat Saber (which was also acquired by Meta), but with a much clearer focus on fitness and coaching.

Supernatural has been something of a darling for Meta since its launch. It was one of the first Quest apps to be built around a subscription pricing model, and though it’s been criticized for its relatively high monthly price, it seems to have found real traction with Meta regularly holding it up as the posterchild for VR fitness on Quest.

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Meta says that Within will continue to focus on “fitness, wellness, and social experiences in VR, [and] helping people achieve their goals in the most joyful and connected way possible.” Specifically for Supernatural the company says it will “more music, creative ways to workout, features, and social experiences” in the future.

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Today’s acquisition marks the sixth VR studio that Meta has bought in an effort to have greater control over the destiny of killer VR apps and the talent behind them. Facebook has also acquired Beat Games (Beat Saber), Sanzaru Games (Asgard’s Wrath and others), Ready at Dawn (Lone Echo and others), Downpour Interactive (Onward), BigBox VR (Population: One), and now Within, all in just under two years.

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  • Ad

    Seems like a lot of devs will end up positioning themselves for a high value acquisition.

    • guest

      Its called an “exit” to VC’s!

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    • Andrew Jakobs

      Could you blame them? You can always start over, but with a nice amount of money on your bankaccount.

      • Ad

        In a vacuum no, but look at Lucky. He sold for billions and look where we are now. You’re basically partly being paid to ignore how this will affect others.

        • ViRGiN

          I’m glad we have people like you, for shilling for SteamVR indie shits posed as somewhat high-end titles. You want GTA VR? There is a clone in SteamVR! You want long Witcher-alike adventures? We have 10 clones-alike on SteamVR! None got any traction ever, because they simply sucks, but you pay for quantity, not quality.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          And how does his decision effect others? Without the Facebook money Oculus might not even have successfully released the CV1, but it also might have, we don’t know and will never know. We do know Facebook brought VR to the masses with their Quest and Quest 2.

          • Ad

            lol, I feel like you’re trolling.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            No I’m not, I’m dead serious. You really underestimate how the money from Facebook made sure the CV1 was actually able to go into real production. I bought the DK2 back then, but it was actually just a piece of crap, couldn’t really use it due to getting motion sickness in a heartbeat, whereas with older headsets I never had any problem with motion sickness, like the VFX-1, VR920, and even with my Vive Pro I almost never get motion sickness (and mostly it has to do with poor performance).
            It’s you that’s been trolling a lot of times here on RTVR-Disqus.

          • Ad

            You’re describing how his sale affected other people. What is your point?

          • Andrew Jakobs

            huh?

          • Ad

            He sold his company for billions, now all of us are stuck with the result and soon everyone on earth will be. That’s a very obvious example of one person’s choice to sell out affecting everyone.

          • silvaring

            Valve / HTC and Microsoft did more to push VR into the mainstream in two years than Oculus did since the CV1 was delayed and then released. The DK2 was always a test bed for their future constellation tracking, but the DK1 was the kickstarter for the VR revolution, do you also think the DK1 is a piece of crap Andrew?

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Don’t know about the DK1 as I never had that one.

      • ViRGiN

        The only people blaiming the devs for taking such choices are the people who never got opportunity to be bought, simply cause their product sucks.

        • xyzs

          Ah Yeah. Let’s take for example your lover, Mark Zuckerberg.
          His company was attractive to many and he refused to sell it many times and that’s why he’s among the 10 richest people on earth today.
          So, the people who stand up for their company do not suck like what you’re barking, they are just stronger.

          I agree that selling your ass for the first multi million check is being weak. It’s in human nature and that’s why we have so many corrupted politics.

          • ViRGiN

            That’s because he knew his value. What about supernatural devs? They knew it to, but apparently several millions deposited directly is worth to them, given what they are doing. Workout apps spawns like mushrooms after rain. How long they could stay relevant and competitive? Just look at all those devs who wants to be the next beat saber. Everyone smells money with those music games, but community is tight and always stays in their comfort bubble.

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    • Insider_Meta

      I heard dev’s will be getting $150k-$190k salaries with ~$100k stock per year for four years when signing Meta’s contract.

  • That’s why they showed supernatural during connect…

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    This is probably a sign of things to come with the focus on building the metaverse. While Oculus started as sort of a gaming peripheral, and later added a store to make some money from every title sold, they are shifting to something that is more about services. You are supposed to communicate in Workrooms, meet friends to watch movies (ideally rented from Meta) and continuously consume some of their offers.

    Lots of people coming from gaming where you purchase a title and then play it as long as you want without extra costs aren’t to fond of all the games-as-a-service, micro-transactions and subscriptions model, so using a fitness app that somewhat tries to emulate a fitness studio by adding individual trainers is a nice trojan horse to justify getting people used that you are supposed to pay monthly for services in the metaverse, instead of owning things.

    It obviously makes a lot of sense for Meta. John Carmack confirmed during his keynote that they are selling their headsets at loss or break even, not gaining any profit from them. They take 30% of every app purchase, but I doubt that the average Quest player will spend more than USD 200 per year on apps, meaning USD 60 for Meta. Half of that or even less would probably more realistic.

    Supernatural charges USD 19 per month or USD 228 per year. That is 75% of the price of the Quest 2 every year. I would expect Meta to reduce the subscription price to USD 10 or less per month to make it more attractive, but given how popular fitness apps are in general, this could be very profitable for them. So we should expect to see a lot more subscription services, and increased attempts by Meta to push their metaverse users into these services.

    • ViRGiN

      And they have all the rights to do so.
      It’s the only company being real about VR, unlike Valve releasing The Lab demo in 2016, and Alyx in 2020, and nothiing in between, not a single substantial update to SteamVR platform at all. SteamVR deserves to be fully cancelled, and Valve should fall into obscrunity.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Do you experience painful withdrawal symptoms if you do not take a dump on Valve at least once every 24h, even if the comments you are reacting weren’t actually attacking your beloved Facebook/Meta? I wasn’t even condemning them, just describing the business model that we have also seen elsewhere. When I write It obviously makes a lot of sense for Meta, I mean that, and not in a derogatory way. So far I have avoided blocking you, as some of your comments are actually interesting or insightful, but your unchecked bite reflex is getting ridiculous.

  • MetaP

    Why can’t I find this in Oculus Store? not the normal one and not the Quest 2 store itself…

  • Pablo C

    So, THIS was Supernatural´s busyness model (being bought). I always suspected that suscription system was a cover up.