Google takes a big VR leap with Owlchemy Labs acquisition

By Michael Simon May 12th 2017
Google takes a big VR leap with Owlchemy Labs acquisition
The makers of 'Job Simulator' and 'Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality' now work for Google.

Google has only been in the serious VR game for a few months with Daydream, but that doesn’t mean it’s a small player. Many of its interactive and immersive efforts extend beyond the limitations of its phone-based headset, including Title Brush and Google Earth VR, and a new acquisition looks to take VR to the next level.

Relja Markovic, engineering director of VR and AR at Google, has announced that the company has acquired Owlchemy Labs, the studio responsible for award-winning titles such as Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality. However, Owlchemy says it is “free to pursue raw creation and sprint toward interesting problems,” despite its new owners.

Of note, neither game is available on Daydream and requires an HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or PlayStation VR to run. On its own blog, Owlchemy says it will “continue building high quality VR content for platforms like the HTC Vive, Oculus Touch, and PlayStation VR,” but makes no specific mention of Daydream. In a statement to The Verge, however, Markovic praised the Daydream headset, while adding “there will be many, many things that come after that.”

Google has slowly been expanding the Daydream library since its release last year, but it’s still quite small. Most recently, Virtual Rabbids and Beartopia VR were announced, but neither has been released yet.

Daydreaming about the future: With I/O just around the corner, there are certainly some interesting possibilities here. Daydream hasn’t exactly taken off like it seemed it would, but an Owlchemy-exclusive title would certainly boost interest, as would a more powerful device like the Rift or the Vive. Google I/O has been a launchpad for many of Google’s VR efforts, including Cardboard and Daydream, so it’s quite possible that we get a glimpse at the future of the platform.

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