It’s been a bittersweet two weeks for fans of enticing virtual reality content. Last week, Facebook shuttered its award-winning content creation team, Oculus Studios. This week, Google acquired the team behind Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.
If you’re a VR headset owner you win some, you lose some it seems.
Google made the announcement that it would acquire Owlchemy Labs today in a blog post ... right after it praised itself for its own excellent contributions to virtual reality like Photos on Daydream, Google Earth VR and Tilt Brush. (Really Google, Photos on Daydream is up there with Job Simulator?)
While the announcement began a bit self-congratulatory, it proceeded to lavish well-deserved praise on Owlchemy:
“They've created award-winning games like Job Simulator and Rick and Morty which have really thoughtful interactive experiences that are responsive, intuitive, and feel natural. They’ve helped set a high bar for what engagement can be like in virtual worlds, and do it all with a great sense of humor!”
Wubba Lubba Dub Dub
While neither Owlchemy or Google announced what’s coming next from the development studio, acquisitions such as these give developers the resources they need pursue bigger and better projects – sometimes in exchange for platform exclusivity. That said, Owlchemy might be different.
The post on Owlchemy Labs’ site that talks about the announcement specifically mentions that the developer will continue to create “high quality VR content for platforms like the HTC Vive, Oculus Touch, and PlayStation VR.” That means platform exclusivity isn’t something the team is beholden to. Or at least not beholden to yet, anyway.
What does the future hold for the studio? Well, One possibility could be a second experience set in the Rick and Morty universe – though Google will likely focus Owlchemy’s efforts on something more … family appropriate.
Job Simulator 2 or the next VR Adult Swim game might not replace a sequel to the heartfelt, Emmy award-winning Henry ... but it’s a nice consolation prize.