Beat Games (formerly Hyperbolic Magnetism) has created one of the most widely renowned virtual reality (VR) experiences in the world. Beat Saber is a VR-exclusive rhythm action game that took the internet by storm thanks to organic, viral content from VR players across the world. But how did we get to this point? Where did Beat Saber start, and how has Beat Games managed their userbase’s expectations to plan for the long term? VR/AR Pioneers recently sat down with Jaroslav Beck, CEO of Beat Games, at SplitX 2019, to discuss the story of Beat Saber so far, and the lessons learned that could potentially help other developers striving for success in this brand new medium.
Originally launched as a Steam Early Access title in 2018, Beat Saber has achieved fame by being simple to understand and accessible to anyone with the prerequisite hardware. Beat Games has endeavoured to maintain a strategy of bringing new, high quality features to the game with a regular schedule, whilst carefully listening to the feedback from their existing audience. It’s a game which is already generous with its content and, with precision-crafted difficulty settings, is compelling for repeat play. Beat Saber is designed with a long-tail in mind, and Beat Games are hopeful that they can maintain the lifespan of the game for more than a decade.
The most recent additions to Beat Saber come in the form of an ‘Imagine Dragons x Beat Saber’ downloadable content pack as well as 360-degree gameplay, which sees the player reorientating themselves beyond the typical 90-degree arc of descending blocks into an all-encompassing scale. This obviously complicates the experience considerably, and so audience feedback will now doubt be critical to it’s potential continuation.
Despite being arguably the most successful VR game to date, Beck is uncertain that the team at Beat Games is handling their production and distribution correctly. Seemingly a classic case of imposter syndrome, Beck is extremely modest about the success the team has found thus far and cautiously optimistic about the future of Beat Saber. His inspiring viewpoint on finding success in VR and the future of Beat Saber can be found in full below.