Facebook's acquisition of Oculus VR, the company behind the hotly anticipated Oculus Rift VR headset, was arguably the biggest tech headline of the week. But it looks like Oculus and Facebook aren't quite done making waves. Just in time for the weekend, Oculus VR has announced the arrival of a brand new lead scientist, and it's none other than Valve's Michael Abrash.
Having worked with Oculus CTO John Carmack at id Software, Abrash joined Valve in 2011 where he played a key role in Valve's AR and VR efforts. Given his history with Carmack and passion for VR, Abrash fits right in at Oculus. No doubt his decision to join the company is good news for those who worry the Facebook acquisition is a death knell for the Oculus we've come to know over the last two years.
Abrash penned a blog post over on the official Oculus VR blog talking about how he and his team at Valve started work on VR just as Palmer Luckey's Oculus Rift project was really gaining traction. Abrash goes on to praise the Facebook acquisition as just what VR needs.
"[…]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," Abrash writes. "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."
Speaking via Facebook earlier this week, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg assured people that Oculus VR's current plans for gaming will not change. Zuckerberg said that gaming will be the first frontier when it comes to VR, with plans for further implementation (education, healthcare, and social interaction) coming later. For now, the social network wants to focus on accelerating the development of Rift. No doubt Chief Scientist Michael Abrash will have plenty to contribute on that front.
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