Valve Veteran Michael Abrash Jumps to Oculus VR, Believes Facebook Buy “Final Piece Of The Puzzle”

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News Posted: Fri, Mar 28 2014 2:43 PM
The announcement that Facebook bought Oculus VR felt like a suckerpunch to the gut for many ardent fans of the Oculus Rift and all the amazing work that the Oculus team has been doing, and even more people have bemoaned the acquisition as a death knell for the once-promising VR project. However, you can count Valve veteran Michael Abrash among those who believe that this move is actually very much a good thing.

Abrash has left Valve and gone to work for Oculus VR as its Chief Scientist--this, just days after the acquisition was announced. In a lengthy and fascinating blog post, Abrash discussed his reason for leaving Valve and joining Oculus VR by way of his personal history with VR and those that are making it a Real Thing.

In the post, he gives a great deal of credit both to the likes of John Carmack (now also of Oculus VR) and Palmer Luckey (founder of Oculus VR) and to Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington (of Valve) for laying the groundwork for what he sees as an explosion of the great potential of VR.

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“In the space of two years, a relative handful of people at two companies, none of them VR experts at the start, somehow managed to resurrect VR from the trash heap of technologies-that-never-were and make it the most exciting technology around,” wrote Abrash. To bring home his point about how much he believes in VR, he added, “We're on the cusp of what I think is not The Next Big Platform, but rather simply The Final Platform – the platform to end all platforms.”

Those are strong words, indeed. But Abrash also addressed the practical side of VR, noting that research is not so much what’s needed at this point to bring the technology to the fore, but engineering. That engineering, however, is expensive and difficult, and that’s where the deep pockets and copious resources of Facebook come into play.

“Facebook's acquisition of Oculus means that VR is going to happen in all its glory,” he said. “I now fully expect to spend the rest of my career pushing VR as far ahead as I can.”

It’s still entirely possible that Facebook will ruin Oculus VR, but it’s an encouraging sign that guys like Abrash feel so strongly that the opposite is true that they’re willing to bank their careers on it. We certainly hope he’s right.
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SteveKuhn replied on Fri, Mar 28 2014 3:25 PM

"The platform to end all platforms." .... Bullshit. Bro, do you even holo-deck?

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The holo-deck is VR.

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'Words can be a decisive illusion unless proven by the facts' in other-words the Oculus has upmost potential but to say it can overcome something is touché

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Jason replied on Fri, Mar 28 2014 5:27 PM

Everyone was in such and uproar and angry about facebook buying them but I think it's in good hand and I'm glad these reputable figures like Cliffy B and Michael Abrash have shed their two cents on the situation in a positive note. I am among the group that believes this can be a good think. I certainly don't think they will ruin it.

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realneil replied on Fri, Mar 28 2014 5:44 PM

Wait to see,..........

Nothing else to do at this point.

 

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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CharlesYu replied on Fri, Mar 28 2014 7:20 PM

I think that as long as Facebook just gives them funds and doesn't mess about with Oculus too much they should be fine. In fact, I think they will be better off with the extra funding because it is simply too hard to fund this expansive project without a large corporation of some sort backing you.

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realneil replied on Fri, Mar 28 2014 8:57 PM

They'll be looking for ways to monetize this technology and inject ads into the mix.

Such a big, fat cost to buy it will have to be recouped.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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Oculus Rift's firmware will change every 2 months, will suddenly start playing in-game ads, and add magic spells to Call of Duty as an "improvement". Also, your friends will randomly appear and disappear.

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I think he left more because they offered him more money, but who knows. Oculus is a great thing for most people, I think it really might be but for myself and quite a few others that have double vision and other issues with their eyes, this is kind of useless. I hope not all games take this route, maybe an option to toggle the VR feature.

Who knows, they might even make this work for those with vision problems as well.

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well if it goes trough looks like i got to get myself a oculus rift :D

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sevags replied on Fri, Mar 28 2014 11:28 PM

One word, Money. His other co-workers at Valve left for Oculus but Oculus probably couldn't afford to pay Abrash what he wanted so he stayed at Valve. Now Oculus has FB money to throw around so Abrash is jumping on board. Is this what Oculus is going to do with all that money, poach?

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MCaddick replied on Sat, Mar 29 2014 2:08 AM

I can't help see this as nothing less than a HUGE slap in the face for the hundreds of thousands that crowdfunded Occulus VR to start with.

Fans of the tech were prepared to fund its development, but Occulus just shat in everyone's mouths and took FBs cash.

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+1

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