While some say virtual reality isn’t going to become a success until the prices drop and the hardware improves (i.e. lighter, wireless, and less vomit-inducing), industry giants continue to invest in the market. The latest being Google, which has just acquired VR-focused game studio Owlchemy Labs, the company behind Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.
In a blog post announcing the acquisition, the six-year-old company said it couldn’t be happier as it looked toward a future with Google. Owlchemy will continue to create titles for the HTC Vive, Oculus Touch, and PlayStation VR with “even more support and focus on building awesome stuff.”
Owlchemy's best-known game, Job Simulator, is a VR recreation of several modern jobs in a robot-run future. It’s regarded as a brilliant example of how to make an entertaining virtual reality title and utilize the technology’s features.
"We ignored the cries of 'But VR died in the 90s!' and we instead spent over a year envisioning what was possible with a tracked head and hands," Owlchemy said. "After a ton of experimenting and prototyping, we emerged with Job Simulator as a day one launch title for HTC Vive, Oculus + Touch, and PlayStation VR."
Back in 2013, Owlchemy Labs became one of the few studios to work with the early Oculus Rift development kit. Two years earlier, the company courted controversy with Smuggle Truck, a game that involved getting as many immigrants as possible across a fictional border by driving a truck through a bumpy terrain. Owlchemy said it "was inspired by the frustration our friends have experienced in trying to immigrate to the United States.”
Owlchemy hasn’t revealed what its next project would be. In a separate statement, Google said: “Together, we’ll be working to create engaging, immersive games and developing new interaction models across many different platforms to continue bringing the best VR experiences to life.”