According to a report by The Information, Facebook is allegedly looking to sign more deals with game studios, the result of which aims to bring some high-profile franchises to the Oculus platform. This is said to include VR versions of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell.
The Information report cites “two people familiar with the matter,” and says that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is directly involved in the initiative. Jason Rubin, Facebook’s VP of special gaming initiatives (and former head of content at Oculus), is also reportedly heading up the initiative.
The report contends that the company has already signed deals for exclusive VR versions of Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell. There’s no word on the scope of these projects, or whether they will be true franchise games in their own right, but calling them ‘VR versions’ as opposed to ‘VR experiences’ certainly sounds promising.
Ubisoft has produced a slew of VR games since the consumer launch of VR, including Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Space Junkies, Werewolves Within, and Eagle Flight; it’s clear they have the know-how.
An Oculus spokesperson responded to The Information’s request for a substantiation of the report, however the company says they “cannot comment on specific partnerships, but we will continue to focus on expanding our library and reaching broader gaming audiences for years to come.”
Ubisoft, the holder of both Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell IPs, has yet to comment on the story.
What’s more, an Information source maintains that while the size of the investment is expected to be less than $1 billion, that it could grow beyond that number.
As a point of comparison, Mark Zuckerberg announced at Oculus Connect 3 in 2016 that the company had earmarked $500 million for content. That money has ostensibly brought in a few high-profile productions to the Oculus platform such as the Star Wars Vader Immortal series from ILMxLab, Epic Games’ Robo Recall, and MARVEL Powers United VR from Sanzaru and Oculus Studios; many of these are unique implementations with a clear aim to draw in new users, but in the same breath they’ve done little to answer the question that many VR newcomers eventually ask themselves: “Why can’t I play [x] in VR?”
While there are a few Oculus exclusives on the horizon, including the open-world game Stormland, the combat-heavy adventure Asgard’s Wrath and the sequel Lone Echo II, if the report can be believed, it appears the company is continuing on its path to generate a library of recognizable, exclusive content—all of which has the aim to both attract and retain users in their ecosystem.