Meta has acquired VR lens specialist ImagineOptix, which probably won’t thrill Valve after it had invested millions of dollars in the company.
It’s been confirmed that Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has reportedly bought ImagineOptix, a small company that makes liquid crystal lenses for AR and VR headsets.
Blogger Karl Guttag first noted this acquisition, highlighting the fact that Imagine Optix’s website has disappeared.
This might not sound like massive news in and of itself, but the key point to note here is who else was interested in this company. Namely, pretty much all of the other major names in VR and AR.
According to VR YouTuber Bradley Lynch, key VR rival Valve had previously invested some $9 million in ImagineOptix. Not only that, but it had apparently given it a $1 million loan as part of a ‘Master Supply Agreement’, and was clearly betting on the fact that this would secure a supply of next-gen lenses for its future VR headsets.
You can imagine (pun intended) that the home of Half-Life was far from pleased when a key rival swept in and bought the camera from under its nose.
It turns out that Valve had sued ImagineOptix last year after it emerged that a “Globally Recognized Brand” had pumped its own $5 million of investment into the company. The two have since settled.
This major investor could well have been Meta, though Apple has also been mooted as a potential candidate.
It’s all very messy, and an indicator that the current VR and AR battle is likely to be a long and bloody one.