Google is taking another trip into the virtual reality (VR) world after acquiring one of the world’s leading VR-focused studio laboratories, Owlchemy Labs.
Owlchemy has a history of releasing some of the best VR games for multiple platforms, including Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality. They will continue creating market leading games under Google’s ownership.
According to The Verge, Owlchemy co-founder Alex Schwartz said: “We have a slate of original games that are in the production and prototyping phase. We’re very excited to continue to do that with the support of Google behind us.”
This isn’t the first-time Google has ventured into the VR market. In 2015, they acquired Tilt Brush studio Skillman & Hackett.
Owlchemy is renowned in the industry for developing games that mimic using real hands through full-motion hand tracking. According to industry insiders, the reason for acquiring their latest venture is to tap into an area where their current Daydream platform —a remote with limited motion controls— does not go.
“We have a pretty big vision for virtual and augmented reality”, Relja Markovic, Google’s VR and AR engineering director, said. “Daydream’s a great product — I love my Daydream. But there will be many, many things that come after that. I don’t think we’re done exploring how you interact with controls in your hand.”
Production of a Google VR Hand and Other Games
Sources say that Google is working on advanced projects that Daydream could use a hand with, quite literally. Although some elements of their current working process are useful, their latest acquisition can push the bar even further.
We have a pretty big vision for virtual and augmented reality.
According to The Verge, Owlchemy will keep engaging with the larger VR development community, sharing knowledge and best practices — as well as potentially contributing to Google’s experimental Daydream Labs program.
“Owlchemy was one of the first studios to work with the initial Oculus Rift development kit in 2013, and Job Simulator was a launch title for the PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Touch motion controllers. In the small and new world of VR gaming, it is one of the industry’s major success stories; Job Simulator passed $3 million in sales at the start of 2017,” The Verge writes.
Google is taking a bold step by investing money in its VR arm, which contrasts with other industry leaders like Facebook who recently closed their VR studios to fund external projects. VR is taking off in a big way and as long as organizations like Google invest in developing the sector and improving the processes, better technology and end products will come to market.