After Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, many were worried that Oculus’ top talent — many of whom are industry/VR pioneers — would leave out of spite. Seems quite the opposite is happening.
Michael Abrash — the man largely responsible for leading Valve’s recent charge into Virtual Reality — has just joined Oculus as its Chief Scientist.
Abrash outlines why he’s joined in a blog post:
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 joined Valve in 2011. At the time, founder Gabe Newell disclosed that he had “been trying to hire Michael Abrash forever.”
And that makes sense — Abrash is an absolutely incredible hire and an industry vet, with code in everything from Windows, to Quake, to the underlying tools that have powered many a AAA videogame title.
This is the third major member of Valve’s VR team to jump over to Oculus, with Abrash’s sign-on preceded by Tom Forsyth (responsible for bringing VR support to Team Fortress 2) and Atman Binstock (one of Valve’s lead VR engineers.) His books on graphics programming are the foundation material for most of the coders building today’s gaming engines. If Oculus is trying to regain any of the respect they may have lost from the more hardcore geek crowd following the Facebook acquisition, this is a pretty damned good first step.
A few months back, Valve promised to share the virtual reality research with Oculus. Seems they’re sharing a good chunk of their virtual reality team, as well.