Google snaps up VR developer behind popular Rick and Morty game

11 May 2017

Still from ‘Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality Launch Trailer’. Image: UploadVR/YouTube

VR gaming company Owlchemy Labs has been snapped up by Google.

Google’s efforts to integrate virtual reality (VR) into its products have been substantial as it continues to push its Daydream headset since it launched in November of last year.

Its latest acquisition puts it in a good place when it comes to producing some of the most popular VR gaming content out there.

In a statement, Google said that Owlchemy Labs – the studio behind some of VR’s biggest hits such as Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality – has been brought in to fund more VR developers and creators in the space.

“Together, we’ll be working to create engaging, immersive games and developing new interaction models across many different platforms to continue bringing the best VR experiences to life,” the statement said.

“There is so much more to build and learn, so stay tuned!”

‘Free to pursue raw creation’

In its own blog post on the acquisition, Owlchemy Labs – founded six years ago – said that despite now being a Google company, it will continue to make content for its rivals such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR.

“It’s incredibly exciting that Google and Owlchemy are so well aligned on our goals and vision for the future of VR,” the company said.

“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.”

While its latest game focuses on the already successful franchise of Rick and Morty, the company’s previous hit, Job Simulator – which takes a humorous look at the drudgery of office work – surpassed the $3m mark at the beginning of this year.

Before its acquisition, Owlchemy Labs had its biggest funding round of $5m in August 2016, led by Qualcomm ventures.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic