Facebook buys VR studio Sanzaru Games, known for Sonic the Hedgehog and Marvel games

The internet monolith seems to want to corner the market before there is a market. Sound familiar?


Facebook has acquired virtual reality gaming studio Sanzaru Games to join its Oculus group. Bloomberg News first reported on the sale, which was confirmed by Facebook in a blog post. The studio will remain independent from Facebook and continue to work out of its existing offices with the "vast majority" of employees staying on as part of the acquisition.

Sanzaru has produced games for the Sonic the Hedgehog and Marvel Studios franchises, as well as developed its own VR games including the critically-acclaimed Asgard's Wrath. Facebook says the studio has created four titles for the Oculus platform since 2016, and was the first developer to partner with Oculus Studios.

Supporting the future of Oculus — It sounds like Facebook is acquiring Sanzaru largely to bankroll its development of new games for Oculus. The move follows a similar acquisition of Beat Studios, makers of the mega-popular Beat Saber.

"As part of Oculus Studios and supported by our latest advancements in VR technology, Sanzaru will continue to make amazing VR game experiences for gamers around the world as an independently-operated studio," said Mike Verdu, director of content at Oculus.

Virtual reality has been slow to catch on — But Facebook has continued to slowly improve its VR hardware offerings over time with key enhancements like the addition of detailed hand tracking for the Oculus Quest, its all-in-one VR headset that doesn't require connection to a separate computer. Such improvements have made the gaming industry more optimistic about the future of the technology.

Facebook is not offering details on exactly what titles the Sanzaru team will be working on or for which platforms, but the company says it hopes to bring Sanzaru's future games to as many people as possible.

It's unclear how much Facebook paid for Sanzaru.