What you need to know
- Meta has acquired VR company Within and its exercise app Supernatural, one of the most popular games on the Oculus Quest 2.
- Within was founded in 2014 and has released dozens of virtual movies, documentaries, animated experiences, and games.
- Supernatural will use Meta's resources to add new workout types, licensed music, and "more social experiences."
- The virtual gym simulator with daily workouts and coaching currently costs $19/month.
On Friday, Meta (formerly Facebook) announced it had bought Within VR and its exercise game Supernatural, one of the best Oculus Quest 2 games available today. Supernatural will remain an independent group inside of the Meta Reality Labs umbrella.
Supernatural was one of the first VR games to charge a subscription. You pay a hefty fee per month in exchange for new daily workouts and licensed music. Other VR exercise apps tend to use original electronic soundtracks with more generic sounds, which brings the cost down; but Supernatural's live coaching and new popular music made it a popular brand — and today's acquisition ensured it'll remain on Oculus platforms exclusively.
"Our partnership with Meta will have more resources to expand and bring you even more music, more creative ways to workout, more features and more social experiences in VR," Within CEO Chris Milk and Head of Fitness Leanne Pedante said in a statement.
Right now, Meta's best asset is its Oculus VR platform, but it's fairly niche and targeted towards gamers. For the Metaverse to succeed, it needs more mainstream, social experiences that can be enjoyed with either VR or AR and by both older and younger generations. Remote exercise classes seem to be tailor-made to attract older folks to an unfamiliar platform.
As the Supernatural game is improved for virtual reality in the coming years, don't be surprised if Meta eventually makes its instructors viewable over its AR glasses too. And we certainly won't be surprised if it continues to acquire game studios to keep the best exclusive VR games on Quest hardware.
Meta also recently partnered with Vertigo Games for five future Oculus titles, some of which will take place in Deep Silver IP worlds like Saints Row, Metro, or Dead Island. And it is working with Rockstar on a Grand Theft Auto VR game. The Meta-verse is acquiring popular game brands, likely in an attempt to get more mainstream gamers interested in trying VR.
This acquisition also gives Meta access to Within, which got in on the ground floor of virtual reality in 2014 and filmed dozens of 360º documentaries and experiences. We're curious if Meta will use this team to try to push Metaverse events like concerts.
Virtual reality is a great way to convert your living room into a gym. Supernatural gives you daily workouts with coaches egging you on and popular music's catchy beats spurring you to sweat out a few extra calories. The most recent update added a boxing mode to its usual Beat Saber-like workout routines.
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Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.
For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.