Google acquires Owlchemy Labs, maker of VR game Job Simulator

owlchemy

Google Inc. has acquired Owlchemy Labs Inc., the maker of the award-winning virtual reality games Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 2011 originally as a standard gaming studio, Owlchemy shifted to VR development in 2013 with the release of the first Oculus Rift Software Development Kit. It followed with a range of some 20 game titles for platforms including Oculus, the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR.

The company’s games focus on full-motion hand tracking, notable given that Google’s Daydream VR platform does not currently provide support for that. The Verge points out that might make the acquisition an investment by Google into the next generation of VR, be it a newer version of Daydream or a completely new platform in the future.

In a blog post Wednesday, the Owlchemy Labs team discussed this very point. Without providing any insight into Google’s future plans, they did say that their current focus on games that use hand tracking will continue. “Owlchemy 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, like with Job Simulator.”

Google didn’t shed any further light on its plans on utilizing the company for future VR development, saying only that “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.”

The acquisition will see Google creating more content for VR platforms a week after rival Facebook Inc. went in the opposite direction by closing its in-house Oculus Story Studio VR content division.

Coming into the acquisition, Owlchemy had raised a single round of $5 million from Capital Factory, Colopl VR Fund, HTC Corp., Qualcomm Ventures and The Venture Reality Fund.

Image: Owlchemy Labs