Published: 15 May 2017
Google announced this week that its acquiring VR software studio Owlchemy Labs, creators of Job Simulator & Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, both of which are top sellers on high-end VR kits such as HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. Job Simulator’s sales surpassing $3 Million are particularly impressive in such a niche, developing market.
Google’s acquisition of the studio has (for now) put to rest some concerns that the search giant isn’t living up to its ambitious aims with VR, after a year of relatively little excitement.
The acquisition of Owlchemy may indicate a more adventurous tack for Google, as their software focuses entirely on hand-based interaction (as seen in the above gif), rather than more “passive” experiences that rely only on head movement.
At the moment, access to hand-based controls still require a minimum investment of £599 for the Oculus Rift and its Touch controllers, but perhaps in the future we’ll see Google introduce more affordable options.
Personally I can attest that VR isn’t terribly exciting if the users interaction is limited to just “looking around”, compared to Roomscale & hand-based VR which are far more engaging experiences, yet the high cost-of-entry is putting a limit on how many people get to try them. For now at least, VR has not set the world on fire, but Google and Owlchemy might change that if they can bring ‘the best of VR’ to the wider market.
Read more on the biggest challenges to marketing VR.