Based in Austin, Texas, Owlchemy Labs is a bit of a rags-to-riches story. True to their name, they were a small team experimenting with humorous content and publishing multiplatform games built solely in Unity on both mobile and PC. Initially just four people, they published titles like Dyscourse and Snuggle Truck before they had their VR eureka-moment when they were first invited to try Valve’s early Vive-prototype.
As founder Alex Schwartz told Venturebeat, “We’d seen room scale and seen hand interaction. It was like, ‘let’s erase everything we knew about game development and game design, all our expectations, and start over.’” Like mad scientists, Schwartz and the rest of the early Owlchemy team holed up in Canada over a weekend and started experimenting with the early Vive prototype hardware. “That’s how we went from this very small team to what’s now one of the largest companies doing only VR.”
He’s not kidding. Owlchemy now has more than 20 people and gained instant notoriety with their flagship VR title, Job Simulator – a day-one launch title for HTC Vive, Oculus Touch, and PlayStation VR – which got featured on Conan, received numerous VR awards such as Unity’s Best VR Game 2016, and surpassed $3-million in sales. In 2017, Google acquired Owlchemy.