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Ex-Owlchemy devs land $4.4 million for new XR studio absurd:joy

Former Owlchemy studio director Cy Wise and CEO Alex Schwartz have announced the “something new” they departed Owlchemy for last year.

Cy Wise and Alex Schwartz, both previously of Vacation Simulator developer Owlchemy Labs, have unveiled their new project: the XR, VR, and spatial computing-focused development studio absurd:joy, and secured $4.4 million in funding to bring it to life.

The studio won’t be working exclusively on games; in a blog post outlining the studio’s core pillars, the team notes that intractability will play a part in whatever it is they put together, but that “XR is an entirely new medium so let’s treat it as such.”

“No one knows what the heck they are doing in XR— we’re all still discovering it. For us to come out here and say we have the fully-formed magnum opus for this medium would be a H I L A R I O U S joke,” explains that post. “Instead, we’re going to first go through a process of experimenting and honing new interactions. And we’re hoping to take you all with us!"

The team plans to work through a considerably open development process, what they're calling 'public prototyping,' that sees absurd:joy regularly sharing GIFs, stories, videos, examples, and other previews of the experiments and experiences it has in the works.

Part of that push comes from the fact that, in the team's words, "secrets are dumb anyway," but at the same time absurd:joy hopes its public XR, VR, and spatial computing experiments will inspire other devs in working in the space and help further the medium as a whole.

Right out of the gate, absurd:joy has partnered with Valve and Oculus and has brought on advisors from those two companies and others to further their XR development goals. That aforementioned $4.4 million investment, meanwhile, comes from Ed Fries of 1Up Ventures, WXR Fund, and Jaroslav Beck of Beat Saber dev Beat Games.

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