Meta Buys Within, the Studio Behind VR Fitness App Supernatural
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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.
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.
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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