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October 12, 2016

VR and gaming giants Valve and Oculus ink big leases for industrial space in Seattle area

GeekWire

Nat Levy

A pair of virtual reality/gaming companies are biting off huge chunks of industrial real estate east of Seattle, in an area that is rapidly becoming a hotbed of VR activity.

A recent report from real estate brokerage Kidder Mathews says video game and virtual reality company Valve has leased 147,040 square feet at Totem Lake Commerce Center in Kirkland, Wash., and Oculus, the Facebook-owned virtual reality headset maker has leased 100,417 square feet at Willows Commerce Park II in Redmond. Both leases include a mix of office and warehouse space.

It is unclear what the companies plan to do with these spaces, but a report from Puget Sound Business Journal says the Oculus space will be used for research and development.

Both companies are doubling down on the Seattle area. Valve recently expanded in downtown Bellevue, leasing nine floors of a new office project under construction. Valve is known as a top gaming companies, but it also works with HTC on the Vive virtual reality headset and accessories.

Oculus last year inked a lease for 51,000 square feet just south of downtown Seattle. When Oculus came to Seattle it actually brought in former Valve engineer Atman Binstock to help lead its efforts here. The company had previously established an office Redmond.

Oculus started taking preorders for its controllers, called Oculus Touch, earlier this week. The Vive already has controllers as part of its virtual reality offerings.

Oculus and Valve are far from the only virtual reality companies growing in the Seattle area. More than 40 virtual/augmented reality companies call the region home, according to a recent report, and one of the latest to move here called the area "the center of everything gaming and everything VR."

Another household name, Microsoft, is of course east of Seattle as well, and has its own virtual reality offering: the HoloLens mixed reality headset. Just today, Microsoft announced it will begin selling HoloLens in six additional countries.

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