The Oculus VR team, fresh off its acquisition by Facebook, on Friday announced the hiring of Michael Abrash, who previously worked on wearable technology at Valve. Abrash will assume the role as Chief Scientist at Oculus, where he will bring years of experience working on and developing alternative gaming experiences. This is a particularly big coup for Oculus considering the negative backlash following this week’s news. Abrash, a respected developer, said his decision to join Oculus basically boiled down to what he feels is going to be “the biggest game-changer.”
Not only does Abrash laud Oculus’s rise to stardom over the past year and a half, but he commends the team’s decision to partner with Facebook, an acquisition he said will bring the dream of VR into reality.
“Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus means that VR is going to happen in all its glory,” Abrash said. “The resources and long-term commitment that Facebook brings gives Oculus the runway it needs to solve the hard problems of VR—and some of them are hard indeed… We’re working on technology that will change not just computer gaming, but potentially how all of us interact with computers, information, and each other every day.”
There are many sides to take in the Facebook-Oculus debate, but seeing more experienced talent join the equation should give onlookers confidence that Oculus will indeed enjoy a bright future. Mark Zuckerberg and the team are clearly excited about the potential of VR—we’ve seen it first-hand, and can say the excitement is warranted. Passion can lead to some great things, though people are still concerned Facebook’s interests will conflict with Oculus’. Judging by Abrash’s long letter to fans, he certainly has no concern that Oculus can change the world.
Some developers are already hitting out at the Facebook acquisition, so convincing developers to hop on-board will likely be Oculus’s most immediate challenge. Getting someone of Abrash’s caliber, however, might lay some of those concerns to rest. We’ll see how everything plays out over the next several months.