Google (GOOG) has acquired Owlchemy Labs, the award-winning virtual reality (VR) game studio behind popular titles such as Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.
In a blog post, Google’s augmented reality (AR) and VR engineering director Relja Markovic praised Owlchemy’s track record for creating “thoughtful interactive experiences”. He added, “We’ll be working to create engaging, immersive games and developing new interaction models across many different platforms to continue bringing the best VR experiences to life.”
Owlchemy will join Google’s VR division, the company’s hardware and software platform that is responsible for making popular, low-cost VR headsets and developing AR reality solutions. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. (See also: What Is Google Daydream?)
In a separate blog post, the founders of Owlchemy claimed that they will have free rein to continue building VR content for other platforms, including the HTC Vine, PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift, following the acquisition.
“We both believe that VR is the most accessible computing platform and that there’s a ton of work to be done, especially with regards to natural and intuitive interactions,” the post said. “Together with Google, with which we share an incredible overlap in vision, we’re free to pursue raw creation and sprint toward interesting problems in these early days of VR.”
Austin-based Owlchemy started developing multi-platform games in 2010. It is best known for Job Simulator, an award-winning game that sees users carry out tasks for robots, and its VR version of the popular cartoon Rick and Morty.
Google’s decision to buy the firm underlines just how determined it is to become a number one player in VR. While rival Facebook (FB) recently closed its VR production unit to focus on content produced by third parties, Google continues to invest significantly to boost its ability to build VR content in house. (See also: Facebook’s Oculus Shuts Down VR Content Studio.)