Intel To Buy VR Specialist VOKE As It Pushes 'Merged Reality' Vision

Intel announced it will acquire virtual reality camera maker VOKE, which the chip company said will boost its virtual reality portfolio.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based VOKE, founded in 2004, touts its TrueVR platform, which features proprietary paired lens and a stereoscopic capture system to enable customers to watch sports games with realistic proportions and depth.

"Virtual reality … is an important building block for delivering a truly immersive sports experience, one that uses computing power to deliver virtual world experiences more dynamically and naturally than ever before," said James Carwana, general manager of Intel Sports Group, in a blog post. "To accelerate our efforts, we’re proud to announce that Intel is acquiring VOKE, a leader in bringing live, virtual reality experiences to audiences."

[Related: Intel Scoops Up Replay Technologies In Virtual Reality Play]

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Intel did not disclose the price and timeframe of the acquisition of the 15-person company. The company at Intel Developer Forum in August said it is doubling down on a concept that it coined as "merged reality" – technologies combining virtual reality and augmented reality into a single cohesive device.

Users can access VOKE's platform from any device – including PCs, tablets, phones and virtual reality headsets – and the technology integrates with existing broadcaster channels so that users can listen to league channels while watching games in an immersive virtual reality experience.

Josh Covington, director of marketing and sales at Velocity Micro, an Intel partner based in Richmond, Va., said that virtual reality technologies are a gold mine for enthusiast system builders who want to bring the latest and greatest hardware to their customers.

"From what we've seen, virtual reality is definitely a big area of growth for our category," said Covington. "When [virtual reality headsets] Oculus and HTC Vive came out earlier this year we saw a bump in sales. I think it's been awhile since PC gaming has had real innovation, and for a lot of consumers seeing something so fresh and new is exciting. They want new hardware and computers to run this technology."

Intel has been on a virtual reality acquisition tear as it reaches beyond its traditional PC market sales into newer types of technology. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel also acquired Israeli company Replay Technologies, a 360-degree sports video replay company, in March.

"I think for the enthusiast market, this is really a definite area of growth for Intel as well," said Covington. "Having something new will be really helpful for the enthusiast PC market. But we're starting to hear that people are using virtual reality for design use cases and virtual tours. While VR is still in its infancy, as demand continues from the gaming community it will begin to be accepted by other mainstream categories."