Fortnite may not be available in VR (or on iOS), but Oculus Quest users will soon be getting their own Fortnite clone for virtual reality.
Nearly two years after its funding and initial launch announcement, BigBox VR is finally ready to roll out its battle royale game, “POPULATION: ONE” to players on the Quest (and the sunsetting Rift hardware).
Co-founders Chia Chin Lee and Gabe Brown started their game development for virtual reality with a shooter called Smashbox Arena, but “POPULATION: ONE” is the big gambit for the game studio.
The COVID-19 pandemic has managed to boost the sales of the Quest, turning it into more of a genuine consumer device instead of just something for the technorati and digital power users. If this new audience for virtual reality can take to the battle royale game in the same way that they’ve taken to Epic Games’ Fortnite title, it could go a long way toward giving Facebook’s platform a wedge to gain market share in what’s become the newest social network.
A lot has been written about how Fortnite has become the social forum for Gen Z and the cohort that’s coming up after them. As these users gravitate to TikTok and Fortnite, Facebook is becoming an afterthought for a new consumer demographic that the social network needs.
And as we wrote earlier, BigBox VR’s title shares more than a passing similarity to Fortnite.
To say the game shares some similarities with Fortnite is an understatement. Not only is it a battle royale title with a shrinking environment, but certain mechanics like gliding in at the beginning to scrounge for weapons and even Fortnite’s building feature are central to the gameplay. That being said, battle royale titles have exploded in the wake of PUBG and they seem to all share a lot among each other. For BigBox, VR is the distinguishing feature, with motion controls and the general feeling that everything is life-sized and in your control.
If the game can replicate Fortnite’s popularity in virtual reality, that could be a coup for Facebook and BigBox VR in a space where the social networking giant has traditionally been pwned.