VR expert of Valve leaves to join Oculus

Many have speculated that after Facebook acquired Oculus that there would be an exodus of the VR company's top talent, yet the opposite is true. Michael Abrash, the VR expert of Valve has left to join Oculus as its Chief Scientist. The loss of one of Valve's most valuable assets in the realm of virtual reality could lead to them failing to other competition, such as Sony's recently revealed Project Morpheus, and the Oculus Rift, or Microsoft's rumored VR headset.

Abrash has stated on his blog that "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 says "I now fully expect to spend the rest of my career pushing VR as far ahead as I can."

Valve has lost a vital part of its VR team. Gabe Newell, the CEO of Valve Corporation had stated that he kept "trying to hire Michael Abrash" when he joined the company back in 2011. Michael Abrash has code in all kinds of software, from Windows to Quake, as well as many engines that power many modern AAA video games. His books on programming are widely used today by coders for creating engines for new videogames.  

Michael Abrash is the third person from Valve's VR team to join Oculus, starting with Tom Forsyth (who brought VR support to TF2) and Atman Binstock (Valve's lead VR engineer). This could lead to even greater losses at Valve if their developers find that the grass really is greener on the other side.

In the past, Valve has said they would share their VR research with the Oculus team, but it seems that Valve is going to have to cut ties with Oculus to better compete in the growing virtual reality market.

Source: Via Oculus via TechCrunch | Image via PC Gamer

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20 Comments

well, that makes me feel better since the FB acquisition, optimistic even.

really hope Oculus will be huge success.

After I saw the reaction to people using the Oculous, I just want to experience it too cos when I see those people's reaction, it made me wonder if they are totally faking it. So yeah from the reaction video, looks like it will be a success cos many people would want to try it out too.

Krome said,
After I saw the reaction to people using the Oculous, I just want to experience it too cos when I see those people's reaction, it made me wonder if they are totally faking it. So yeah from the reaction video, looks like it will be a success cos many people would want to try it out too.

It's a genuinely impressive experience. I was personally taken with it since I'm the guy that can't play most first person 3D games without feeling like I'm gonna hurl, but I was somehow totally comfortable and immersed with Rift.

It's been a long time since I felt like something genuinely was happening to computing. Kind of lame that gamers are already getting whiny if anyone dares to talk about it being used for anything but gaming.

Krome said,
After I saw the reaction to people using the Oculous, I just want to experience it too cos when I see those people's reaction, it made me wonder if they are totally faking it. So yeah from the reaction video, looks like it will be a success cos many people would want to try it out too.

I can vouch for it as well. It's the only truly 100% immersive way to interact with a digital world.

A good mate of mine is a freelance games developer and had the first dev kit at home, and despite a few minor issues, it is the best thing i've ever hooked up to a computer. He tells me that the second dev kit has ironed out most annoyances so my bet is the consumer version will be one of the most polished things we've seen for a while.

If you can, give it a go, it's amazing.

Thanks... and Joshie thanks... When it's out, I want one too... I also want to play with the Dev Kit also lol... But do not have access to any game engine Dev Kit yet.

Joshie said,
It's been a long time since I felt like something genuinely was happening to computing. Kind of lame that gamers are already getting whiny if anyone dares to talk about it being used for anything but gaming.

It's not about it being used for non-gaming purposes. People just don't like Facebook as a company and don't want one of the most promising gaming products in the hands of a social advertising company and are concerned that gaming will take a back-seat. It would be like Microsoft buying Valve - they might claim that nothing is going to change but you know that it is.

theyarecomingforyou said,
they might claim that nothing is going to change but you know that it is.

Well facebook kept Whatsapp and Instagram pretty much the same as of right now. The only thing that really changed with Instagram was the added Video feature to compete with vine, other than that I don't see too much of Facebook influence over each service.

I wouldn't say that the Oculus Rift won't be affected at all, but it would most likely only add social aspect to it, which I wouldn't mind.

link6155 said,
Well facebook kept Whatsapp and Instagram pretty much the same as of right now. The only thing that really changed with Instagram was the added Video feature to compete with vine, other than that I don't see too much of Facebook influence over each service.

Whatsapp was only recently purchased, while Instagram directly aligned with Facebook's business model. The Oculus Rift isn't a natural fit for a company like Facebook and already we've heard there's going to be a focus on social elements and advertising, which wasn't the case before.

It's entirely possible that Facebook will be a good thing and give the Oculus Rift the funding and promotion that it needs to make it big for gaming, while also being great for non-gaming purposes. However, that remains to be seen and people are right to be sceptical. Facebook has never been a gaming company - it has always been an advertising company.

"Facebook has never been a gaming company - it has always been an advertising company."

so is google but few raise concerns about them
personally i think oculus is way better with fb; they can give them not just the funding but the means (i think business model behind a product and the workforce and money to make and develop a good sdk) to be something more than just some stupid toy for a few gens of fps players

however i remain to be sceptical as facebook is not a creative, innovative company - maybe they take a very wrong turn and make some farmville equipment from it; but even with these concerns i think oculus is better with them

I'm seeing a lot of hype for this Oculus thing in the media. I wonder if it will live up to it (and whether the general audience sees the appeal of it). Still strange that Facebook heavily invests in this. It doesn't appear to me as something thay could enhance their core service. Then again their core service is overvalued. This could be a smart way to get the revenue people expect from Facebook in 5-10 years time, albeit through other means.

It's a shame, because from the little I heard of it valve's VR sounded technically superior and as such better for the user.
If oculus stays at 90 fov that's really going to suck for end users :/

I find it pretty unlikely that this was precipitated by Facebook's acquisition. This sort of thing takes weeks and months to organise (you have to work notice and all sorts), so this was almost certainly planned long before anyone outside of very senior management knew about the FB deal.

Carmack might have worked to bring Abrash in. Awesome to see them back together though I still have grave reservations about the new owner.

Looks pretty good up till now, the only thing i was wondering is the fact that all video we see it looks like 2 screen when you look inside of them so is it what you see when it is on your head or if it feels like no screen at all like they said in the demo?

And also they did say on oculus website that Titanfal was design already to support the hardware. So basically once it is out people can play already that game with it.

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