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Oculus VR News | December 11, 2019

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Former Valve Lead VR Engineer Joins Oculus, dev kit ends sales

Atman Binstock Oculus’ new chief architect

Image courtesy of: Oculus

Staff Writer

Oculus VR has announced that former Valve VR engineer, Atman Binstock, will be joining the Oculus team as its new chief architect. Atman will have the new role of leading the Oculus Research and Development team based in the Seattle area.

Prior to joining Valve in 2013, Binstock has held positions in several leading projects at top-level companies, such as Intel, RAD, and DICE. During his time at Valve, Binstock, had worked on a number of VR projects, including his key role in creating the impressive “VR Room” demo that Valve showcased during the Steam Dev Days event in January. He is also credited with helping prove that “simulator sickness” could be overcome, and the a feeling of “presence” inside VR experiences can be achieved by the user.

According to a statement on the Oculus VR website, Binstock expressed how two years ago he began working on VR at Valve, after a pitch from Valve R&D leader Michael Abrash:

“Just over two years ago, Michael Abrash and I were sitting in a coffee shop in Kirkland,” Binstock wrote. “He was trying to convince me to come work on AR and VR with him at Valve.”

“Michael convinced me that this was basically the myth of technological inevitability: the idea that because technologies were possible, they would just naturally happen,” he added. “Instead, the way technological revolutions actually happen involve smart people working hard on the right problems at the right time. And if I wanted a revolution, and I thought I was capable of contributing, I should be actively pushing it forward.

“Two years later, we’ve solved some of the basic problems, proven great VR is not only possible but truly magical, and now I want to bring it to the world. I’m incredibly excited and humbled by the opportunity — we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible, and I can’t wait to discover what’s next!”

With the ever-growing engineering and programming talent at Oculus VR coming together like an ultimate VR dream team, Oculus is strategically positioning themselves towards becoming the new industry leader and standard for Virtual Reality.

In addition, Oculus VR re-confirmed its announcement on slowing down production and distribution of the Oculus Rift development kits (DK1) due to reports that some of the Rift’s hardware components are no longer being manufactured. With stock for the Rift dev kit running low, the company has shut down sales in most regions.

Over 60,000 development kits were sold, which was a total that even a surprise to the company. In a written statement the Oculus team expressed to their supporters, “We never expected to sell so many Rift development kits and the fact that we’re close to being sold out after 60,000 kits is nothing short of incredible — Thank you for your support!”

There is no word yet on whether a new Oculus Rift development kit model (DK2) is being released. The company plans to share more news soon.