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Michael Abrash Leaves Valve to Become Chief Scientist at Oculus

Abrash follows his former protégé Atman Binstock, who made the same move earlier this month.

Oculus VR

Another one of Valve’s virtual reality experts, Michael Abrash, has left the company to join Oculus VR, which Facebook bought this week for $2 billion.

Abrash follows Atman Binstock, whom he had recruited to Valve two years ago. Binstock became Oculus’s chief architect, and Abrash will become Oculus’s “chief scientist.” He credited his move to a series of improbabilities, as co-founder Palmer Luckey and CTO John Carmack (formerly of Id Software) reignited interest in virtual reality as a viable medium.

“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,” Abrash wrote in a blog post.

He also praised Tuesday’s Facebook acquisition as a necessary step in advancing VR beyond its current state.

“… 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,” Abrash wrote. “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.”

Abrash has worked with Oculus before, offering some assistance in creating the prototype of its virtual reality headset the Oculus Rift that netted $75 million in funding last year.

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