Facebook’s Oculus to buy Seattle’s Carbon Design, enhancing its hardware chops

 

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Carbon Design’s past projects include the Xbox 360 controller and Kinect.

Oculus VR, the company that makes the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Seattle-based Carbon Design for an undisclosed sum. Carbon will continue to work out of its Seattle offices, and will collaborate with Oculus at the firm’s research office in Redmond.

The Oculus Rift Developent Kit 2This comes a few months after Facebook made a deal to buy Oculus for $2 billion. The deal between Oculus and Carbon is expected to close this summer.

The team at Carbon will provide Oculus with some serious hardware design chops. Its work includes the design of the Xbox 360 controller and the Kinect, along with a number of other Microsoft products and consumer devices for other companies.

That’s an area where Oculus hasn’t been as strong compared to its other hiring moves. The company has acted quickly to snap up top talent working on Virtual Reality, including Valve Software’s Atman Binstock and Michael Abrash.

“This is an entirely open product category,” Carbon Design Creative Director Peter Bristol said in a blog post announcing the deal. “With consumer VR at its inception, the physical architectures are still unknown — We’re on the cutting edge of defining how virtual reality looks, feels, and functions. We’re incredibly excited to be part of the team and we’re looking forward to helping design the future.”

The latest revision of Oculus’s development kit looks sleek, but it still has a bit of a blocky feel to it. When Oculus goes to release the consumer version of its hardware, it will need more than just technical excellence to draw users to VR. With this purchase, it’s clear that the company wants to up its design game, especially as Sony has decided to enter the virtual reality market with its sleek “Project Morpheus” headset.