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Michael Abrash Joins Oculus

The Oculus Rift website announces that Michael Abrash has joined the company as Chief Scientist, just days after Facebook acquired Oculus for a reported two billion dollars in cash and stock (thanks Shaul and TechCrunch). Abrash had previously been at the forefront of Valve's efforts at exploring the same sort of virtual reality setups as Oculus, and this also represents a reunion of sorts with John Carmack, as the pair worked together at id Software back in the day. Here's a bit on the news from the post in Mike's own words:

The final piece of the puzzle fell into place on Tuesday. 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. 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. And, of course, 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.

That worry is now gone. Facebook's acquisition of Oculus means that VR is going to happen in all its glory. The resources and long-term commitment that Facebook brings gives Oculus the runway it needs to solve the hard problems of VR and some of them are hard indeed. I now fully expect to spend the rest of my career pushing VR as far ahead as I can.

It's great to be working with John again after all these years, and with that comes a sense of deja vu. It feels like it did when I went to Id, but on steroids this time we're working on technology that will change not just computer gaming, but potentially how all of us interact with computers, information, and each other every day. I think it's going to be the biggest game-changer I've ever seen and I've seen quite a lot over the last 57 years.

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75 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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75. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 15:01 Cutter
 
The worry is now gone? Uh no, it isn't.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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74. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 12:08 Quboid
 
Speaking of love versus money, isn't this exactly what we fear?

"I have a boss now, I guess," says Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe. "The board." On Monday, the virtual reality headset company announced that it had finished...

Oh dear. This isn't good. Except:

... raising $16 million in Series A venture capital led by Spark Capital and Matrix Partners...

This was one of several venture capital injections long before Facebook arrived. The 17th June 2013 article goes on to say:

... adding a new level of management in the process. Both Spark and Matrix will have seats on the Oculus board of directors, guiding the company from here on out. Will new money and new directors change any of the startup company's plans, though? Oculus says no.

Oculus might have believed no, but what do you think VC's response to a massive buyout is going to be? I think maybe this ship sailed some time ago.
 
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- Quboid
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73. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 11:49 BobBob
 
NewMaxx wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 04:33:
You would refuse 2 billion? Be honest with yourself.

You act as if they personally got two billion. That's not how it works. They get respectable salaries and the rest goes to development. That being said, I would of course leap at the chance to make one of my engineering dreams come true. One must ask if there are not alternatives, though, as a deal with Facebook is the very definition of Faustian.

Also, what happens if your argument changes a little bit. Say...would it still work so well as rhetoric if the sum were 1 billion? 100 million? 10 million? 1 million? Where do you draw the line? Are you suggesting no other companies would offer, say, 1 billion? Is money the only determining factor? Don't be glib.

If they made only a few million each, they could wisely invest and retire on that. Is money the only determining factor? No, but it is the most important factor. This is the difference between a business and a hobby: a business exists to make money whereas a hobby exists to support a passion.
 
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72. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 11:15 Eirikrautha
 
No, the "sin" (according to the anti-trust findings) was that their browser was not an "option". IE was coded into the OS. It made privileged calls to the kernel that other browsers could not. Also, because of its integration into the kernel, you could not uninstall IE... ever.

I don't care if you bundle your browser in with your OS. But when you intertwine it in such a way that you make it impossible for me to remove (while hoping that the low-level access your browser has will gimp every other competing browser), then you might have crossed the line...
 
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71. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 10:48 WaltC
 
OricAtmos wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 08:19:

Edit: oh, and if they hadn't bundled IE with Windows, I wouldn't have been able to download any other browser.

Great point! It's a point I often made long ago--about how supporting Internet connectivity in an OS was very much like including placeholder drivers for most hardware. The response I'd get back was often like:

"Yea, but did they have to support Internet connectivity so well?"

As usual, Microsoft's "sin" in the eyes of some was that its software was "too good" to ship with Windows, because that made it more difficult for companies to compete, so it was "unfair" of Microsoft to offer the consumer any alternatives. The other companies voicing such sentiments were upset that they weren't allowed free reign to sell consumers inferior software--at least, that's how I interpreted their remarks...;) In the eyes of Microsoft's competitors, consumers often simply didn't count.


 
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It is well known that I do not make mistakes--so if you should happen across a mistake in anything I have written, be assured that I did not write it!
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70. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 10:28 WaltC
 
Creston wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 00:01:
You seem to have forgotten exactly what set off those lawsuits, which is that MS bundled IE into Windows, and then actively made it hard to nearly impossible for other browsers to get installed. So yeah, what they did was pretty bad.

This never, ever was the case--it never happened. Most of us were running Netscape browsers when Microsoft launched IE (Microsoft came very late to the browser party), and Netscape had a huge monopoly percentage of the mainstream browser market--far larger than even IE has today. I ran Communicator right alongside IE for years--never had a moment's trouble installing any other browser. You've gotten bad information or else you've simply misinterpreted something you read. Trust me, Windows put as many barriers up against other browsers as it put up against other word processors, games and paint programs--which is to say, none. Anything to the contrary is pure propaganda--almost as bad as most Apple-speak has always been...;)

Also, iOS is not a monopoly. It's a closed system, sure, but Apple is entitled to do so on its own devices. iOS does not completely dominate the entire smartphone market the way Windows OS did in the 90s.

The Windows OS still completely dominates the PC market--which, btw, even just last year saw the sale of many, many more PCs than tablets--a multiple more, in fact. But it's not because of anything underhanded that Microsoft has done. It's because unlike, say OS X, Windows is far more useful because it supports far more hardware than OS X, and far more software than OS X. That's why I use Windows, anyway--I can do a lot more with it. It's that simple.

Ehm, that is exactly what most people are worried about: What Facebook COULD do now that they bought the Oculus Rift. Because they could turn it into an absolutely worthless piece of shit.

Well, for me, the story is in the FB money used to buy this technology that hasn't yet produced a product and made a penny in profits for $2B. I just read today about Microsoft buying up an entire VR company and a portfolio of patents and schematics for an estimated 100-150 million dollars--and that's way, way less than $2B. Some people became very rich off this FB deal very quickly, and it would be nice to know who...;) Who knows, though, because FB stockholders have got to be a weird bunch of investors in the first place...;)


 
Avatar 16008
 
It is well known that I do not make mistakes--so if you should happen across a mistake in anything I have written, be assured that I did not write it!
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69. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 08:19 OricAtmos
 
Creston wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 00:01:
You seem to have forgotten exactly what set off those lawsuits, which is that MS bundled IE into Windows, and then actively made it hard to nearly impossible for other browsers to get installed. So yeah, what they did was pretty bad.

I never had any trouble installing any browser I wanted in Windows. I think I always did it like so: download browser, double click installer, click through installer UI, done.

Edit: oh, and if they hadn't bundled IE with Windows, I wouldn't have been able to download any other browser.
 
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68. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 04:43 Silicon Avatar
 
Facebook is creepy because nobody can really avoid it. You might personally choose not to use it, but if you're out in public and a friend snaps a picture and uploads it with your name in the tag - now you're on Facebook. If the photo has geographic tags built in or your buddy writes in a location, now you're on Facebook and it knows where you live. It just spirals down from there. All it takes is one person in your social group to enthusiastically use FB for FB to start collecting data on you.

Facebook is creepy because US privacy laws are complete rubbish.

 
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67. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 04:33 NewMaxx
 
You would refuse 2 billion? Be honest with yourself.

You act as if they personally got two billion. That's not how it works. They get respectable salaries and the rest goes to development. That being said, I would of course leap at the chance to make one of my engineering dreams come true. One must ask if there are not alternatives, though, as a deal with Facebook is the very definition of Faustian.

Also, what happens if your argument changes a little bit. Say...would it still work so well as rhetoric if the sum were 1 billion? 100 million? 10 million? 1 million? Where do you draw the line? Are you suggesting no other companies would offer, say, 1 billion? Is money the only determining factor? Don't be glib.

This comment was edited on Mar 29, 2014, 04:58.
 
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66. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 02:56 Beamer
 
Was William Gibson's awesome tweet posted here?  
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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65. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 02:24 netnerd85
 
El Pit wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 01:45:
Julio wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 19:24:
Tim Collins wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 15:08:
RIP Oculus

Well it will still exist, just call it "Adculus" now.

Facebookulus.

Wow, that sounds like a magic curse taken right from a Harry Potter book.
Lol, it so does! get out yah wand
 
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64. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 02:17 1badmf
 
Creston wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 00:06:
1badmf wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 21:41:
by then i'm pretty confident i'll be playing star citizen with my ORv2 or 3 or whatevs, at the very least.

You have a lot of faith... in Chris Roberts. :p

call me an optimist, but i for one find nothing unscrupulous or suspicious about anything he's said or done with SC. and also i'm of the camp that i'll give someone like him my faith until he undeserves it, and nothing he's done comes close to that so far. if i'm wrong... hell, it's just a game, who cares?
 
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63. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 01:45 El Pit
 
Julio wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 19:24:
Tim Collins wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 15:08:
RIP Oculus

Well it will still exist, just call it "Adculus" now.

Facebookulus.

Wow, that sounds like a magic curse taken right from a Harry Potter book.
 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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62. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 01:02 nin
 
Creston wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 00:40:
NKD wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 00:27:
Trip trip TRIPLE POST

Only to you ancient heathens who still view the forum Flat!

Join the Threaded clan. You'll like it here.

Ugh. If I want that shit, I'll go read teh shack.


 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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61. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 00:59 Caladell
 
Creston wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 00:40:
NKD wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 00:27:
Trip trip TRIPLE POST

Only to you ancient heathens who still view the forum Flat!

Join the Threaded clan. You'll like it here.

Heathen here, and I'm staying put. I'd rather scroll through comments than click on each post. I'm staying clanless
 
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60. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 00:42 Beelzebud
 
Today we are all Lawnmower Men.  
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59. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 00:40 Creston
 
NKD wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 00:27:
Trip trip TRIPLE POST

Only to you ancient heathens who still view the forum Flat!

Join the Threaded clan. You'll like it here.
 
Avatar 15604
 
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58. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 00:27 NKD
 
Trip trip TRIPLE POST  
Avatar 43041
 
If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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57. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 00:06 Creston
 
1badmf wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 21:41:
by then i'm pretty confident i'll be playing star citizen with my ORv2 or 3 or whatevs, at the very least.

You have a lot of faith... in Chris Roberts. :p
 
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56. Re: Michael Abrash Joins Oculus Mar 29, 2014, 00:04 Creston
 
SpectralMeat wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 21:11:
Creston wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 16:39:
JediPunisher wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 16:23:
"Virtual Porn industry is on the rise."


Fuck and Yes.
In your face!

VR Bukkake Party!

... wait, WHAT?
 
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75 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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