If the recent Seattle VR Hackathon is any indication, Seattle has a huge base of talented virtual and augmented reality content developers. Behind every experience is a suite of VR tools, from 360 video capture, to game engines, to 3D operating systems. Every major corporation involved in VR has a Seattle office: Google, Valve, Microsoft, HTC, Facebook, and more. The data in this blog post was all found publicly on Linkedin and company career and blog sites.
This is a snapshot of platform and hardware initiatives in the VR/AR space in May 2017. Current job opportunities are linked where available. If you know of other ongoing projects, send me a mail!
VR/AR Companies in Seattle
Much of Google’s core VR team works down in the Bay Area. Google Seattle seems to be primarily involved in the VR media platform for 360 photos and video. Products developed in Seattle include Jump, VR video capture and stitching technology, bringing VR to Chrome through WebVR, and other media platform work that lights up across VR endpoints (Cardboard, Daydream).
Valve did the hardware prototyping and platform work for HTC Vive in Bellevue. They’re continuing to build out their VR capabilities through SteamVR, and it’s likely they’ll extend the platform to new hardware partners.
Open Positions: Virtual Reality Engineers across input, graphics, tracking, audio, optics, engine integration, and more.
Microsoft has extended the Windows operating system and app platform to mixed reality through the HoloLens and the new Microsoft Mixed Reality VR platform. Microsoft is also adopting WebVR standards for the Edge web browser.
Open Positions: Oculus Careers in Seattle, Redmond.
HTC collaborated with Seattle company Valve to bring the most capable VR headset to market, the HTC Vive. HTC’s VR Operations are based in Seattle.
Unity is the most popular engine for VR experiences. It can be used to create both mobile (Gear VR, Daydream, Cardboard) and desktop (Vive, Rift) VR experiences. Unity has a VR engineering team based in Seattle and collaborates with other local companies to bring Unity development to VR endpoints.
Amazon has various VR openings from online shopping to pets. On the platform side they’re working on a VR video “platform and interface for immersive storytelling.” The Lumberyard game engine also includes VR support.
Epic Games (Unreal Engine)
Epic Games builds much of the VR capabilities for the Unreal Engine in Seattle.
Nobody knows exactly what exactly what Magic Leap is building, but they appear to work on AR hardware in their Seattle office, with investments in “an advanced technology development team, developing prototype display, sensor, and user interface devices.”
By Dustin Harris
Seattle Photo by Jill Clardy