Google Announces Plans To Acquire Owlchemy, A Virtual Reality Game Studio

Google has disclosed the acquisition of Owlchemy Labs, the virtual reality game studio famous for such titles as Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality and Job Simulator. The games that Owlchemy will develop in future will, however, not be limited to Google’s platforms but will be available for multiple platforms. The arrangement will be similar to what happened to Skillman & Hackett after Google bought it two years ago.

“We have a slate of original games that we have in [the] production and prototyping phase, and we’re going to continue to do that. We’re very excited to continue to do that with the support of Google behind us,” said Alex Schwartz, the co-founder of Owlchemy.

Motion controls

Schwartz also added that the virtual reality studio would continue developing games which mimic the use of real hands since this was their signature technique. This would be unlike Daydream, the current virtual reality platform of Google which makes use of a remote and has very limited motion controls.

It is understood that this latest VR acquisition by Google is a signal that the tech giant is serious about turning the Android operating system into virtual reality’s de factor platform via the Daydream initiative. Daydream is, however, not as popular as Cardboard, a bare-bones virtual reality system by Google as well. Currently over ten million Cardboard headsets have been sold in the last couple of years. The acquisition will also allow Google to increase and boost its portfolio of virtual reality content. So far the tech giant has seen some success with Tilt Brush, a painting title, getting some good reviews.

Seed funding

When it was started back in 2010 Owlchemy was not a virtual reality studio per se but begun with a satirical game called Smuggle Truck and which was quickly followed by Snuggle Truck. In its seven years of existence, Owlchemy has raised seed funding totaling approximately $5 million from HTC, The Venture Reality Fund, Colopl VR Fund, Qualcomm Ventures and Capital Factory. The studio currently has a workforce of about 23 employees

In its early days, Owlchemy was the one studio that was the first to partner with Oculus in 2013. Motion controllers from Oculus Touch, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR all had Job Simulator as their launch title. Job Simulator ended up becoming one of the major success stories in the relatively small world of virtual reality gaming when it generated more than $3 million revenues by early this year.