In somewhat of a surprise move, Google has acquired virtual reality game developer Owlchemy Labs, creator of Job Simulator and the Rick & Morty: Virtual Rick-ality title.
"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," Relja Markovic, Google's engineering director for VR and AR said in a blog post announcing the move.
"Owlchemy Labs makes things that are absurd, highly polished, and filled to the brim with terrible puns & jokes that we love making," The Owlchemy team said in their own post on the company site. "We both believe that VR is the most accessible computing platform and that there’s a ton of work to be done, especially with regards to natural and intuitive interactions. Together with Google, with which we share an incredible overlap in vision, we’re free to pursue raw creation and sprint toward interesting problems in these early days of VR."
Owlchemy has done well for itself since it was created in 2010. Job Simulator was a hit when it launched for Oculus Touch, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, and it has been called "one of the funniest and most unique VR experiences to come out" in 2016. The game raked in more than $3 million in sales for Owlchemy last year alone.
The Rick & Morty title has gotten solid reviews since its release last month for its irreverence and adherence to the formula that made the animated series a hit for Cartoon network and Adult Swim.
Owlchemy said it plans to continue to do what it does best, just with Google as its parent now. "Owlchemy will continue building high quality VR content for platforms like the HTC Vive, Oculus Touch, and PlayStation VR. This means continuing to focus on hand interactions and high quality user experiences, like with Job Simulator. This means continuing our mission to build VR for everyone, and doing all of this as the same silly Owlchemy Labs you know and love. We are continuing to do all of this with even more support and focus on building awesome stuff. It’s incredibly exciting that Google and Owlchemy are so well aligned on our goals and vision for the future of VR."
Google did not release any financial details for the acquisition.