Aonic acquires VR studio nDreams for $110 million in "landmark" deal

"Aonic's backing will support nDreams' future investments in third-party publishing and, potentially, more studio acquisitions."

UK virtual reality developer nDreams has been acquired by Swedish conglomerate Aonic for $110 million in what the studio described as a "landmark" deal for the VR industry.

Based in Farnborough, nDreams is the developer behind VR titles such as PowerWash Simulator VR, Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord, Little Cities, Fracked, and Far Cry VR: Dive Into Insanity.

Aonic previously sunk $35 million into nDreams in March 2022 to help the company expand its roster of internal studios and create "more ambitious titles."

NDreams subsequently acquired Shooty Fruity developer (and frequent collaborator) Near Light, permanently increased wages to help staff deal with the cost of living crisis, and doubled in size to roughly 250 employees.

Earlier this year, nDreams VP of publishing David Corless told Game Developer the company sought to expand so it can remain at the forefront of the VR wave to help diversify the medium. 

"We're only 10 years into VR really, where’s the technology going to be in another 10 years’ time? Our aim is always to keep riding that and to be at the forefront of it. So it'll always be challenging because we're the ones discovering and making a lot of the decisions," said Corless.

Following the acquisition, the VR studio will continue operating under the leadership of co-founders Patrick O’Luanaigh and Tamsin O’Luanaigh, who'll remain with the company as CEO and chief people officer, respectively.

"[The studio's] core focus will remain unchanged, while benefiting from a stable and supportive environment to continue growing. Aonic's backing will support nDreams’ future investments in third-party publishing and, potentially, more studio acquisitions," added a press release.

nDreams looking to seize on "critical moment for VR and MR"

Patrick O’Luanaigh said the acquisition will allow nDreams to seize a "critical moment for VR and MR" by leveraging Aonic's considerable resources to "strengthen our position even further."

"We set up nDreams in 2006, pivoted to focus exclusively on VR games in 2013, and we're proud of everything we've achieved as an independent company," added the CEO. "After 18 months of working together, we're confident we’ve found the right partner in Aonic."

Aonic CEO Paul Schempp praised nDreams for "bringing some of the biggest VR titles to market" and said the acquisition will allow its other internal teams–which include Milky Tea Studios, Red Games, and Otherside Entertainment–to learn from one of the "best" studios in the VR space.

"This acquisition is yet another example of Aonic’s commitment to championing mid-sized studios and creating an environment where teams can create fantastic games," added Schempp.

NDreams currently has a slate of projects in development across its four internal studios and has partnered with a number of third-party developers on titles that are due to be unveiled in 2024 and beyond.

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