When a company is acquired by another, bigger (and richer) company, the acquired team are afforded two things. For one, they’re given a whole chunk of change that wouldn’t go amiss on the Forbes list and if their new owner has enough clout then they’re also provided with a big bit of brand weight to help them do their bidding.
That’s what’s been happening with Oculus VR, the team behind the Oculus Rift headset despite some fans and game developers jumping swiftly off of the Oculus bandwagon after the company was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion, Oculus VR is moving ahead and taking on competitors like Sony’s Project Morpheus with even more force, using the hiring of new employees to do it. We were told from the outset one of the benefits of Facebook investing in Oculus is that there were no longer be concerns over its future and job security and now the tech company has all the resources and power in the world to tap the tech and video game industries anyone they desire.
Oculus VR’s latest addition to their speedily growing team is Kenneth Scott, who joins the company as the ‘Oculus Art Director’ after a 6-year stint at 343 Industries where he worked on the hugely successful Xbox 360 exclusive Halo 4. Before the Master Chief-led adventure got a lick with the Scott handled paint brush, he even worked at id Software for 10 years, making him the third id veteran (after John Carmack and Matt Hooper) to join Oculus in recent weeks.
Despite John Carmack’s move to Oculus spawning a lawsuit from his former employees, ZeniMax, over allegedly stolen code, the Oculus hiring train doesn’t seem to be slowing down especially when Scott’s role could potentially be a very important one. In the official tweet announcing his new digs, Oculus explains that Scott “is building [their] 1st-party content team!” meaning that any doubts about Oculus Rift being used mainly for gaming have just been quickly silenced. Furthermore, while the company is staying quiet on what that first party content could be, a Halo-style shooter could be exactly the type of thing that gets Oculus Rift units selling in huge numbers as the furore surrounding the recently announced Halo 5: Guardians shows that the genre is very much a popular one.
But it’s not just game developers that Oculus VR is interested in either as the company has also poached Adrian Wong, the Lead Electrical Engineer of Google Glass, from the search engine giant. Wong’s role at Google saw him develop the device’s camera as well as helping it get closer to a retail version. He also holds many wearable-related patents including one for a “Wearable Computer with Nearby Object Response” and another for a “Wearable Computer with Superimposed Controls and Instructions for External Device” leading some to suggest that Wong’s expertise will be used to eliminate the dizziness and motion sickness side effects that a headset like Oculus Rift could produce.
Wong and Scott’s hires don’t appear to be the last of it either so we’ll keep you posted on future developments.