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access_time March 28, 2014 at 12:40 PM in News by Charlie Grammer

Michael Abrash leaves Valve

Oculus acquires a new chief scientist.

Oculus acquires a new chief scientist.

The man who was apparently leading Valve’s virtual reality research (you may recall his Steam Dev Days speech in January, but if not you can see it in the below video) has decided to leave the company, we’ve learned.  Why would he do that, you ask? He was offered the position of chief scientist over at Oculus.

Mr. Abrash also spoke about why he feels the Facebook acquisition of Oculus is a good thing. “A lot of what it will take to make VR great is well understood at this point, so it’s engineering, not research; hard engineering, to be sure, but clearly within reach,” he stated. “For example, there are half a dozen things that could be done to display panels that would make them better for VR, none of them pie in the sky. However, it’s expensive engineering.”

He goes on to add that “there’s also a huge amount of research to do once we reach the limits of current technology, and that’s not only expensive, it also requires time and patience – fully tapping the potential of VR will take decades. That’s why I’ve written before that VR wouldn’t become truly great until some company stepped up and invested the considerable capital to build the right hardware – and that it wouldn’t be clear that it made sense to spend that capital until VR was truly great. I was afraid that that Catch-22 would cause VR to fail to achieve liftoff.”

He no longer worries about the Catch-22, he states, since Facebook has acquired Oculus. He is confident that the resources and commitment that Facebook will give the company will allow the VR technology to bring all of its potential glory in the end. Said Abrash, “I now fully expect to spend the rest of my career pushing VR as far ahead as I can.”

Source: Oculus Blog


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