Ndreams acquires VR developer partner Near Light

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Ndreams, a developer and publisher of virtual reality games, has today announced its acquisition of long-time partner Near Light.

The companies have a partnership that goes back more than five years, and they finally decided to combine to help shape the future of VR and augmented reality gaming.

Near Light developed Ndreams (the company spells it nDreams)-published Perfect and Shooty Fruity VR titles, as well as recently pioneering an AR experience for one of the world’s major toy brands. The studio is currently developing an unannounced VR title to be published by Ndreams.

Paul Mottram and Ben Hebb founded Near Light in 2016, having worked together in key roles at Wide Games, Kuju Brighton and Zoë Mode. The pair have previously worked on a number of innovative titles that promoted new ways of playing, including games in the EyeToy Play, SingStar and Guitar Hero series.

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“We are very pleased to deepen Ndreams’ relationship with Near Light after many years of fruitful partnership,” Ndreams Chief Development Officer Tom Gillo said in a statement. “Acquiring the studio will allow us to collaborate even more closely on medium-defining games, not to mention bringing Ben and Paul’s 20+ years of industry experience into the Ndreams family to strengthen our own expertise.”

Brighton, UK-based Near Light joins Farnborough-based Ndreams’ three existing development studios – Ndreams Studio (based in Farnborough), Ndreams Studio Elevation and Ndreams Studio Orbital (both fully remote) – expanding the family into the vibrant game development hub of Brighton.

Ndreams created the VR game Phantom Covert Ops.

“Making our debut acquisition is another incredibly exciting milestone for nDreams,” added Ndreams CEO Patrick O’Luanaigh in a statement. “For other development studios like us who are similarly aligned in vision and strategy, there is certainly potential for more acquisitions in the future.”

Following the $35 million investment in Ndreams by Aonic Group, the publisher is accelerating its investments in both in-house development and third-party publishing. This deal is Ndream’s first acquisition, and it is a sign of the company’s rapid and ambitious expansion.

“We’re very proud to partner with Ndreams and shape the future of VR and AR gaming together, a new frontier with the ability to do things no one has done before,” Near Light co-founder Paul Mottram said in a statement. “Near Light is very much in line with the philosophy of Patrick and nDreams in terms of how we want to make games and build teams. It feels like the ideal fit for us.”

Working together with Ndreams after this deal will feel familiar to the Near Light team, but closer ties between the two developers will also bring new opportunities.

“Going all the way back to Perfect and Shooty Fruity, our collaboration with nDreams has been very enjoyable,” Ben Hebb, co-founder of Near Light, added in a statement. “The feeling of working on big projects with a group of people you move forward with is a special, unique thing and an absolute privilege. We’re thrilled to be working with nDreams to create titles that leave a powerful legacy.”

Ndreams published Phantom: Covert Ops, Far Cry: Dive Into Insanity and Fracked, as well as publishing innovative VR games developed by the brightest indie talent, including the hit Little Cities. The company started in 2013. Near Light started in 2016.

Paul Mottram and Ben Hebb, the co-founders of Near Light, began their partnership at Kuju in 1996 before setting up Wide Games in Brighton in 2000 – the team behind which would go on to work under Kuju again as Zoë Mode.

Near Light draws on the management team’s experience partnering with the likes of Sony, Disney, Activision, Microsoft and Sega across a range of gaming genres.

The name “Near Light” is inspired by a piece of music by the Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds. The Near Light team currently consists of eight people, but has previously expanded to around 20 on top of projects. The acquisition of NDreams gives it room to grow further.

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