Abrash previously spent the past three years working on augmented reality projects at Bellevue-based Valve. In a blog post penned today, Abrash details his career path and explains how he ended up at Oculus.
“Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus means that VR is going to happen in all its glory,” he wrote. “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.”
Interestingly, Abrash notes how he recruited Binstock to Valve three years ago. Binstock joined Oculus earlier this month as its chief architect on a team that will be based out of a new research and development office in Seattle.
We’ve reached out to Oculus to find out if Abrash will be working at the Seattle office, and will update this story when we hear back. (Update, 11:20 a.m.: Oculus confirmed with us that Abrash will be working out of the Seattle office.)
While Oculus continues to hire Valve employees, the two companies have had an amicable relationship over the past few years. Valve publicly supported Oculus during its record-breaking Kickstarter campaign and is sharing its virtual reality research with the Facebook-owned company.
Abrash is a gaming industry veteran, having worked on projects like Windows NT 3.1 at Microsoft and Quake at id Software. Valve co-founder Gabe Newell once said during an interview that he had tried to hire Abrash “forever.”
“I have huge respect for him, I think he’s incredibly smart,” Newell told RockPaperShotgun in 2007. “About once a quarter we go for dinner and I say ‘are you ready to work here yet?’”
In today’s blog post, Abrash notes his excitement for what the future of virtual reality has in store.
“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 – and the path here has been so improbable that I can only shake my head,” he wrote today.
Abrash also said he’s looking forward to reuniting with Oculus CTO John Carmack, his former colleague at id Software.
“It’s great to be working with John again after all these years, and with that comes a sense of deja vu,” he said. “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.”
Here’s Abrash speaking about virtual reality at the recent Valve Dev Days: