This has been a big week for Oculus VR. On Tuesday, the company announced that it would be purchased by Facebook for $2 billion. Today, it's been revealed that Michael Abrash will join the company as its new Chief Scientist.
Abrash has had an illustrious career. According to his Wikipedia page, Abrash worked at Microsoft on Windows NT 3.1, at id Software on the original Quake, and at Intel on the Larrabee project. Most recently, Abrash was at Valve, where it seems he also worked on a virtual-reality project.
Some developers, like Minecraft creator Markus Persson, have been put off by the Facebook deal. But Abrash says he joined Oculus precisely because of the pending acquisition—and not in spite of it:
I've written before that VR wouldn't become truly great until some company stepped up and invested the considerable capital to build the right hardware – and that it wouldn't be clear that it made sense to spend that capital until VR was truly great. I was afraid that that Catch-22 would cause VR to fail to achieve liftoff.
That worry is now gone. Facebook's acquisition of Oculus means that VR is going to happen in all its glory. The resources and long-term commitment that Facebook brings gives Oculus the runway it needs to solve the hard problems of VR – and some of them are hard indeed. I now fully expect to spend the rest of my career pushing VR as far ahead as I can.
Abrash delves a little more into the backstory that led him to Oculus in this lengthy blog post. At the end, Abrash writes that he's happy to be working with John Carmack, Oculus' CTO, once again. "It feels like it did when I went to Id, but on steroids," explains Abrash. "[T]his time we're working on technology that will change not just computer gaming, but potentially how all of us interact with computers, information, and each other every day."
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