Valve VR engineer moves on to Oculus


— 4:17 PM on March 11, 2014

We've known for some time that Valve is working on its own virtual-reality headset. Valve has also made no secret of its collaboration with Oculus. Still, I was surprised to find out this afternoon that one of Valve's VR guys has moved on to Oculus.

The defector is Atman Binstock, whom Oculus describes as "one of the lead engineers and driving forces behind Valve’s VR project." Binstock apparently put together the "VR room" demo Valve showed at its Steam Dev Days event last year. I don't believe that demo was made public, but according a story by Road to Virtual Reality, it was quite impressive:

I put on the headset and the first thing I noticed was the clarity and high-resolution, as compared to the original Oculus Rift developer kit. The refresh rate was extremely fast and I felt completely at ease looking around using the headset, with no nausea. Keep in mind I had already put in a number of hours on the original Oculus rift developer kit so I am fairly acclimated to VR experiences in general, but in talking to some others who had experienced this demo, it seems that the nausea level is greatly reduced with the new low persistence screens that are being used in both this prototype and the new Crystal Cove Oculus Rift headset.

Interestingly, that same story says some of the hardware for Valve's VR prototype was co-developed by Oculus. A look at the Steam Dev Days page also reveals that Oculus was present at the event.

At Oculus, Binstock will take on the title of Chief Architect, and he will head a new research and development team based out of the Seattle area. There's no word on what his work will entail, but the Seattle area happens to be where Valve's headquarters are located. If I had to guess, I'd say Binstock will get some face time with former colleagues as part of his new job. (Thanks to Recode for the link.)

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