Google has reconfirmed its commitment to virtual reality with an acquisition, picking up Job Simulator creator Owlchemy Labs to work on software for the company's Daydream platform.
Founded in Texas in 2010 and best known for games with a casual, easy-to-pick-up mechanism such as the physics-based puzzler Smuggle Truck - later relaunched as Snuggle Truck when Apple complained about the subject matter of transporting illegal immigrants across the border in a pick-up truck - and Fruit Ninja-style Jack Lumber, Owlchemy Labs was an early adopter of virtual reality. The company's Job Simulator, in which the player is given a series of workplace-inspired sandbox environments with questionable physics including a photocopier that can make exact duplicates of almost any object and a device which enlarges any item in which to play, proved a popular introduction to VR when it launched on Windows and has since been ported to the PlayStation VR platform.
Now, though, the company may find its focus less on PC and console-driven VR and more on the mobile side of things, following its acquisition by Google this week. 'Today, we're thrilled to welcome Owlchemy Labs to Google. They've created award-winning games like Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality which have really thoughtful interactive experiences that are responsive, intuitive, and feel natural,
' announced Relja Markovic, Google's engineering director for virtual and augmented reality, in a blog post
. '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 humour!
According to Markovic, the team will still be working on games and 'new interaction models
' on a range of platforms following the acquisition, though it is likely Owlchemy will be developing primarily for Google's own smartphone-powered Daydream virtual reality platform. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.