Google acquires Owlchemy Labs, the innovative and off-kilter VR studio
Google is no stranger to virtual reality. In addition to launching the Google Daydream mobile VR headset, it has also developed VR experiences like Tilt Brush and Google Earth VR for devices beyond its own platform. Now, with its acquisition of Owlchemy Labs, Google VR receives some new momentum.
Among other polished, quirky titles, Owlchemy Labs has brought us Job Simulator and most recently, Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, a delightful and irreverent romp inspired by its namesake series from the Cartoon Network.
Job Simulator has reportedly passed US$3 million in sales – a mark of success in a still nascent market. And Rick and Morty capitalized on Simulator's uniquely VR mechanisms and hand interactions, catapulting it to new levels of singular enjoyment. Both games are refreshingly devoid of VR-induced nausea and tired gaming tropes.
Owlchemy asserted that it will "continue building high quality VR content for platforms like the HTC Vive, Oculus Touch and PlayStation VR. This means continuing to focus on hand interactions and high quality user experiences." Beyond that promise, however, neither Google nor Owlchemy has been more specific about what they hope to accomplish by joining forces.
Perhaps we'll learn more at the Google annual I/O conference next week. Either way, it seems like the move could inject some much-needed momentum and direction into VR as a whole, which became a bona fide consumer technology over the last year, but has many wondering about the future of the medium.