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Facebook, Oculus, and Trust

The emotional reaction to Facebook's acquisition of Oculus is so much bigger than one company buying another company.

When $17 million in venture capital funding was raised in June 2013, that was a red flag. When $75 million in venture capital funding was raised in December 2013, that was a huge, enormous, really big red flag. The news from yesterday was not shocking.

The buyer, of course, was a little surprising.

Yesterday, Facebook purchased Oculus, the company behind the beloved Oculus Rift virtual reality tech, for $2 billion. People are upset.

Let's unpack why this deal is causing such an emotional reaction. It's complicated, may have more to do with Facebook than Oculus, and underscores some other, unresolved trends coming to a head.

The Kickstarter proposal for the Oculus Rift launched in August 2012. The company was asking for $250,000 to build a developer kit for its pet technology project. People flipped for the idea, and it raised $2.44 million over the next month. The company has likely seen even more money from the many who decided to purchase development kits after the Kickstarter campaign concluded.

In the two years since, Oculus has carefully worked on the Oculus Rift, slowly making advances in its technology, as the hype slowly built through excited word-of-mouth. That hype seemed to reach a peak (if we're lucky, one of many) this month, as Sony revealed its Project Morpheus VR kit (spoiler: it's very similar to the Oculus Rift), and Facebook announced it would purchase Oculus for $2 billion in cash and stock options.

People have become emotionally invested in the idea of VR. Just watch the way Fez designer Phil Fish spoke about its potential (even in, say, our dystopian apocalypse) on our GDC live show last week. VR is Star Trek brought to life. VR is about better realizing the potential for virtual worlds that's been happening in our imaginations for years. I'm a convert, and been a believer in VR ever since strapping on the Oculus Rift for the first time. After that, I tracked down a development kit to play with. In short, I'm a fanboy. I'm not alone.

It's why there's a backlash. The term "emotional investment" is key, and it's why Kickstarter has been such an interesting business tool these past few years. It plays on emotion. On Kickstarter's "What Is Kickstarter?" page, the company outlines what it means to be part of Kickstarter, from the perspective of both a consumer (better known as a "backer") and a creator. There are a couple of sentences worth pulling out more closely:

"Backing a project is more than just giving someone money. It’s supporting their dream to create something that they want to see exist in the world."

When it comes to games, there are many that would not exist without Kickstarter. Broken Age, Shadowrun Returns, Wasteland 2, and others. Several of these games have shipped to players, and some of them turned out to be really good games. Crowdfunding allows us to help make dreams happen, and that's lovely. But emotional investment is not an actual investment--it does not give you control over the company. It does not provide equity, and you are not owed anything by the creators. The ROI (return on investment) is fulfilling hope.

Which leads us to this:

"Backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not to profit financially. Instead, project creators offer rewards to thank backers for their support."

Backer. That's a problematic term. It sounds too much like investor. It implies more control than what Kickstarter actually offers. Kickstarter is, at its base level, little more than tossing dollars and cents into a tin can, and hoping the person goes and does something nice with it. When established people come to Kickstarter, we can be a little more confident something will happen, but that's not a guarantee. Every time you back a Kickstarter project, this should be how you feel: "that could be cool, I hope it works out." That's it.

Broken Age didn't have a totally smooth development. The second half isn't out. But the public learning about the bumpy road was important to our collective understanding of games.

I don't root for Kickstarter projects to fail, but it's healthy when some do. Lots of video games are cancelled every single day. Lots of video games with promising ideas turn out to be total crap. We just don't hear about those games. Those are tossed under the rug, and we focus on the success stories. But success only comes through failure, and failure is far more common than people understand. When Kickstarter projects fail, when people get angry over their investment, it gives them a better sense of how development actually works. These stories happen all the time.

What doesn't happen all the time, however, is the complete opposite, which is exactly what happened with Oculus. Oculus delivered what its Kickstarter project promised: a development kit. But people became emotionally invested in the prospect of a new, independent technology company coming out of nowhere and changing the world. The emotional investment fused with the ideals behind Oculus, a notion the company's founders stoked with press quotes that suggested Oculus had no interest in selling to the usual suspects.

Of course, it's easier to say that before a deal is in your face, and when you're being offered an opportunity to, if it works out, do everything you ever wanted and more.

At GDC last week, Facebook reportedly hashed out its deal with Oculus. Scattered chatter at GDC suggested that Facebook was not alone. I heard other companies were interested, but apparently Facebook was offering the best deal. I haven't done enough reporting to say much more than that. Perhaps the reveal of Sony's Project Morpheus forced Oculus to tip its hand, perhaps the initial investors wanted to cash out while the news was hot.

When the Facebook news was announced, Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson announced he was cancelling his deal with Oculus to officially bring virtual reality to Minecraft. Persson wrote a lengthy blog post outlining his decision, and included this line:

"And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition."

Yes, you did. Everyone did. And Oculus probably won't be the last time backers struggle with this idea.

On some level, I get it. It doesn't feel fair. You were on the ground floor, and a bunch of other people get the big money. Polygon's Chris Plante put this best in a tweet earlier today:

But how else was this gonna end? John Carmack, Cliff Bleszinski, Michael Abrash, and Gabe Newell were part of the pitch video. From day one, this was shooting for the stars. If Oculus wanted to be a company producing electronics for the masses, that was not going to happen on its own. It would be like the Pebble SmartWatch: the fuel of a potential revolution without being at the center. Oculus owes you nothing. Oculus does not have to pay everyone's Kickstarter investment back because the company just made a load of cash.

Persson's original tweet on the subject, which has been retweeted more than 16,000 times now, struck a nerve. Persson represents our ideal vision of a rich person with money. He's a self-made altruistic gazillionaire that invests his money into things he loves, and wants to see them grow. But it's called idealistic for a reason: it's not reality. The response on Kickstarter proved there was interest in the Oculus Rift, and the venture capital funding was simply a way to let the company grow its ambitions and make a move like this. It's clear that Oculus wants to be the tip of the spear, and partnering with Facebook is one way to give it a real shot.

This loud, angered reaction is the feeling our toy, our collective dream, is being taken away from us. And that leads me to what's driving most of the vitriol: a distrust of Facebook.

Persson actually touched on this part in his original tweet.

"Facebook creeps me out."

He probably could have tweeted only that and received a similarly big response. If we conveniently ignore the disturbing hot-or-not reasons that drove the creation of Facebook in the first place, what Facebook once (and still sort of does) represented was connecting disconnected people. Friends, family, lovers, ex-lovers. Hell, the whole world. Someone took part of what the Internet provides and harnessed it in a way that could bring us all closer to one another. I love that, and still love that. I got over the fact that my mom uses Facebook a long time ago because it does a better job of informing her what's going in my life than my less-than-regular phone calls. (Sorry, mom!) It's hard to imagine she will ever sign up for another social network. Facebook is it.

But as Facebook has expanded and become a normalized social commodity, it's also had to make money. The whole reason Facebook was able to buy Oculus this week is because it went public, and has access to a pool of real money (the $400 million) and funny money (the $1.6 billion in Facebook stock options). In making that transition, it's started eroding its foundation: trust.

(If we want a recent reason to feel better, Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion and seemingly remains unscathed as part of the buyout process.)

When we engage with "free" software like Facebook or Twitter, we understand the "free" part comes at a cost. Scratch that. I don't think most of us think of it that way, even if that's reality. Nothing is free. But that "cost" is companies finding ways to make money on us via advertisements, and it's hard to blame Facebook for that. What we can blame them for, however, is often dragging us there without our knowledge. How many people have spent a significant amount of time tweaking your privacy settings? You probably did it once and then figured you were good, right? For a while, that's true, but Facebook has time and time again forced its users to share more and more and more and more and more and more, often without explicit consent.

(Side note: I also think people have distanced themselves from Facebook, intimidated by how many people they have friended on Facebook. Social norms make us feel weird about deleting them. I'll disclose my method of dealing with this, but don't tell anyone, okay? Every day, Facebook notifies whose birthday it is. If you can't muster the energy to write someone a virtual happy birthday note, what are you doing being friends with them on Facebook? I've been slowly deleting people from my feed for years this way. I'm a monster.)

Did you really think I wouldn't get this photo in here somehow?

This breach of trust is combined with a common buyout tactic in Silicon Valley: talent acquisitions. Companies are often bought to bring in the people who work there, not the product they're making. If you take Facebook at their word, that's not happening with Oculus, but it's not hard to imagine the Oculus folks won't be asked to work on whatever hardware projects Facebook's making. (Facebook seems a bit like Valve, constantly tinkering with internal ideas, even if very few of them see the light of day.)

Even if we look squarely at games, how many studios did the old EA ruin by purchasing? It's a graveyard.

All of this adds up. The emotional investment, the distrust of Facebook, the cynicism we have towards companies with billions of dollars. It doesn't feel like there is much pure in the world anymore. Oculus felt pure. It was a kick ass idea becoming reality. "We made this happen, you guys! And we were going to change the fucking world!" That was, sadly, naive, and helps explains the yelling and the screaming happening today.

I listened to the conference call with Facebook and Oculus. They were saying all of the right things. Oculus will keep doing what they're doing, and Facebook looks at Oculus as an investment that might pay off in five or 10 years. Facebook doesn't intend to make a profit on the hardware, which means Oculus should get to ship the device it wants. Kotaku noticed the company is also performing some damage control, and answering concerns on Reddit. You won't need a Facebook account to use the Oculus Rift, the money from Facebook will mean better hardware and investment in cool games, and a promise there won't be specific tie-ins to Facebook technology. Facebook has also told TechCrunch that it denies The New York Times report that the Oculus Rift would be re-branded and re-designed with Facebook look and interface.

Facebook's social ubiquity means it has time to take chances on long-term gambles, and Oculus seems like one of them. They might screw it up, but also might not matter.

Oculus did start a VR revolution, even if that revolution never takes off and flounders in the same way 3D did during the last five years. But without the Oculus Rift project on Kickstarter, none of this would be happening. It's easy to be upset that you're not walking home with tens of thousands in your pocket, but that was never going to happen. You were a part of something big, though. You contributed to a dream, and that dream is about to take off. Not all dreams succeed, but, hey, we can't control everything.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
397 Comments
Posted by yoshisaur

Amazing article, Patrick! It's really hard these days to get me to read a full article, but you kept me going!

You really nailed down a lot of the ways people feel towards this problem, and exposed its understanding, but also why its the wrong way to think.

Edited by Milkman

The idea that Oculus was going to be this feel-good indie story forever was a fallacy. Someone was going to buy Oculus. I get the skepticism with it being Facebook but it seems to me that everyone feels the need to have this hard and fast reaction to news like this immediately. No one can know what happens from here. Facebook very well could ruin everything...or they could make everything awesome. It's impossible to know and people acting like Oculus is doomed literally minutes after this announcement was made just look silly.

Edited by Davvyk

Great article. The negative reaction is expected but i feel its without thought. Bottom line is Oculus have the means to achieve their goals now.

People hate his deal because they hate the product facebook offers, facebook itself. That is the wrong way to look at it. Facebook as a company is what people need to think about here, and that company will be nothing but an enabler for Oculus.

Just because facebooks primary product has become uncool and the target of much hate doesn't mean the company Facebook is a bad owner for Oculus.

I hate the modern MINI cars, it doesn't mean i hate BMW's. One company can have many products and many successes and failures.

Allot of the backlash has been to do with myth and conjecture. At no point has it been claimed you will need a facebook account to use a rift (Palmer himself rejected the notion). The only things we are sure of is the following.

Facebook will leave oculus to do what they plan to do.

Oculus can now sell Rifts at cost...No VC was going to let that happen. Facebook will play the long game here.

Oculus can now get the custom built components they wanted. This deal will lead to a better Rift. No doubt.

I've heard people say "fine, but why not Apple, or Google" Google are a wonderful company, as are apple. But both have a magnificent history of buying companies and talent stripping them. Motorolla for one.

Facebook wont do that. They need Oculus in ten years time as much as Oculus needs them now.

Posted by primalmaster

I still don't know how to feel about this, I don't trust facebook. But as a company they need to make money, and they can only make money if this thing sells. I'm sure at some point they'll do some really questionable things. But I think in the end they may only help bring VR technology to a wider marker. Which will help bring VR to the next level and maybe bring us one step closer to a true holo deck experience ( which in truth wasn't about games, it was just a fancy interactive hangout for friends )

Posted by Veektarius

Not a bad perspective on things. Can't say I feel any of the outrage involved. A major company's involvement only heightens the odds of such a device being integrated into a wide range of experiences. Facebook would not be the first company to come to mind when I think of who would bring in the experiences I would most want to have, though.

Posted by aquacadet

Thank you for this. Finally some sense on the internet about this I can point people who are having emotional reactions to.

Edited by MX

Great article Patrick, really phenomenal writing. Right now I think Oculus needs to show how the facebook Buyout is benefiting the gamer.

Edited by Harry_Tequila

You mention several times in the article that people aren't actually investing in the company and can't expect any kind of return. You also end the article by saying:

It's easy to be upset that you're not walking home with tens of thousands in your pocket, but that was never going to happen.

I really don't think that anyone is seriously saying that the Kickstarter backers should receive any money as part of the acquisition. If you truly think that part of the reason for the outrage is missing out on money then I think you have misjudged the reaction. The anger is coming from a feeling of betrayal by Oculus VR and trepidation at the prospect of a company like Facebook deciding the future direction.

It's difficult for Oculus because they began life as part of a crowd funding effort where they set out their goals and the reason why people should back them. Unfortunately, when your company starts this way then I feel like you do bear a responsibility to honour the reason people kickstarted your company. People aren't just backing your project in return for a product, it's more than that.

Edited by Hydranockz

Whatever this device becomes, there will be developers out there who love games and they will be making games for this device. Nothing so far has suggested otherwise.

Posted by Shortbreadtom

Disregarding how I feel about Facebook as a company, I still have little faith in a company who bought this potentially revolutionary device for gaming, and then in their first press release post-purchase talk about how mobile games are the platform of today and how they're looking for ways to integrate social features. These aren't great signs, but I guess it all comes down to how much sway Facebook will have on Oculus. Hopefully none, except for footing the bill.

Edited by IIGrayFoxII

Great write up Patrick. To me, this just guarantees that Oculus Rift becomes something. What that is, we just have to wait and see.

It is great to see a small project become so main stream in a mere day before your eyes.

Posted by MrHammeh

I hope it goes well. I see Patricks point in saying that the backers weren't guaranteed anything back for their backing. Thing is that with most of these Kickstarter projects I would choose to back them for the fact they aren't a big company and dreams seem to happen more with their absence. When a big company gets involved you more often than not see a total lack of integrity, and thats what scares me the most.

Posted by Yusar
Posted by Phoenix654

You're the best Patrick. Excellent article.

Agreed. Well done, sir... as usual.

I personally feel no outrage or disgust towards this (possibly because I've never played with an Oculus myself), but I can understand why people do feel that way. I wonder who the internet would have been okay with Oculus being bought by? Would anyone be able to avoid this firestorm? Microsoft or Sony certainly wouldn't (I know, Sony is working on their own thing anyway, just throwing it out there) because the fanboys of either camp would set the world on fire. Nintendo would be raked over hot coals as not being a particularly good hardware company. Activision? Disney? Apple?

No company who had the bread to make this deal would have gotten through it without the court of public opinion utterly destroying them. Maybe Steam, but that's about all I can come up with.

Posted by BigD145

Instagram has remained unchanged because Facebook and Instagram do much the same thing. Facebook didn't need to change them. Facebook just wanted to be a bigger Facebook. The Oculus is not Facebook, doesn't have to be Facebook, but it will now.

Posted by Jensonb

It stuns me that people are so quick to assume the worst of Facebook, when they are so quick to assume the best of Google.

Posted by freewriter55

I am grossed out by the situation because of Facebook. I deleted my account on that service and every service owned by them a year ago now, and have not looked back.

The quote from Notch's post that resonated with me is this one:

”Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers."

I haven't seen evidence that Facebook cares about anything but expanding and money. When Zuck got pissy about NSA spying it was only after the revelations had potential to disrupt their business. They've done nothing to earn trust, and that's reason alone to be upset about this deal.

When one talks about the future of technology and says Carmack is on board, I have some trust in him as an individual, but if he works for Facebook it's not enough to trust that company.

Posted by ALavaPenguin

You know, the way I see it is facebook buying this gives it a much greater chance of being successful, but also I see it as having potential of making it a worse, but more successful product. However, it may turn out quite well for all we know I will be interested.

Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

So in short, NEVER become emotionally invested in anything because in the end it will just break your heart.

Posted by Robopengy

@christaran: I'd say a bank, or a global chemical company, or a million other companies are a lot less trust worthy than Facebook, an optional service.

Edited by pyrodactyl

@ocelotfox said:

Really, this highlights the fundamental problem with Kickstarter: you get emotional investment with no hope of ROI. Now, many people will say that they are just giving the money to seed creative ideas, which is a perfectly legitimate exercise of charity. But until the new SEC rule kicks in later this year, there's been no way for the small group of people who want to push the new idea forward with crowdfunded financial support to receive any sort of return for their faith and support. Instead, VCs get to come in once the idea is "marketable," and financially support the idea until it's bought by a big company. The VCs, already possessing more capital than any small backer possesses, gets to make a windfall off of their investment, while the backer ultimately gets a small token of thanks and none of the reward for helping the idea go from the drawing board to production. It's why I've never used Kickstarter, and will continue to avoid it until I can acquire some interest, minimal though it may be, for my support.

It won't, ever. Kickstarter is a really popular service and with its terms of services creators can retain 100% control over everything they make. Why would they want to give up shares of their company or futur profits to backers when they can get the money for the promise of a product or project?

The only way creators give up the control over is for BIG money. The kind of money that will never be available in crowd funding.

Yeah, capitalism, it fucking sucks.

Posted by Ozzer

Great article, Patrick. Thank you.

Posted by SikSlayer

Thanks for such a concise, well-written article. That's what I like about you Patrick, you're still the same focused kid I saw on The 1Up Show way back when. Keep it up.

Edited by CrunchbiteJr

Great article Patrick.

Posted by Fobwashed

The easiest response to seemingly misplaced anger, especially online, is to just ignore it. Kudos for taking the time to write up something that should alleviate some of that anger on the interwebs. Here's to hoping they take the time to give this a proper read.

@qblivion said:

Kinda grossed out that someone as immature as Notch has so much sway with gamers.

I've felt the same way about Mike from Penny Arcade. Last I heard about him, he was attempting to make amends though so hopefully that pans out.

Posted by DrDarkStryfe

@brocknrolla: The problem with this mindset is that the whole "Funded by the crowd" was that Oculus secured tens of millions of dollars from the private sector via venture capitalists. They already had to answer to a corporate overlord. The thought that Oculus would "go public" with an IPO eventually is insane.

If there is one thing that the enthusiast gamer fails at it is grasping the business side of the industry. NPD and sales data are such a small piece of the overall business of the industry, and yet it escapes those that absorb as much information as they can about it.

Posted by 0xdtmx0

facebook...skynet...eww

Posted by Mafuchi

@ocelotfox: My thoughts exactly, Kickstarter and its ilk operate for projects were the creators hold all the keys, and for whom only the the rich can profit (i.e. VCs). I don't see how these systems can be sustained without the possibility of return on investment for the non-super rich.

Edited by GaspoweR

A lot of people like Notch are being completely dismissive and that's fine. I'll wait and see what happens if this actually kicks off and not flounder in the coming years. Hopefully, everything will turn out just fine with Oculus.

Posted by Mercer

I was rolling my eyes pretty hard at all the knee jerk reaction. Just because a company is invested in or "bought" doesn't mean the company investing is going to take full control of the product.

Contracts can be written up to ensure that there is minimal outside interference. And I would hope that Facebook wouldn't be stupid enough to start sticking their noses into the development of the OR since that would be disadvantageous as well.

In other words, there was no way the Rift would be going anywhere with just small investments and backing from Kickstarter. So people need to calm the fuck down.

Posted by a_randay92

Excellent article Patrick!

Edited by Brendan

I'm not an engineer but to produce this product in a big way, issues such as yield could very well sink a company without massive money to spend, right? All those 1080p screens come with defects and it's not hard to imagine that when placed against large competitors such as Sony, Oculus could have a very difficult time being profitable or competing on price if they couldn't order production on a large scale. Without this purchase the lone wolf road could have simply led to a situation where the Oculus is derided upon release as being more expensive than customers wanted (relative to competition).

Another point, that the two other well known technology Kickstarters, Ouya and Pebble, have both gone no where past their initial Kickstarter hype. Looking at history, and the realities of the tech industry, it seems likely that selling consumer technology on a wide scale isn't really possible without a large amount of money for support.

Edited by FrenchFriedFool

This is probably your best article I've read yet, Scoops, that said I haven't read all of them. Your Facebook deletion method is both monstrous and ingenious, however. Now to apply it myself.

Edited by Marokai

The whole "No one really knows how this is going to turn out, let's all stop the kneejerk reaction thing" goes both ways, here. People freaking out about how this is decidedly the end of the Oculus are being idiots, and people who are blindly declaring this this a great thing within 24 hours after it became public knowledge are similarly placing some sort of bullshit bet based on blind, naive faith. There's no evidence aside from lip service in press releases that this is going to suddenly become an amazing acquisition that does nothing more than give Oculus endless financial resources.

I appreciate this article's tone and everything, but I feel like it's zooming in on an incredibly minor portion of the outrage; this adds almost nothing to the actual conversation. People are upset because they don't trust Facebook, think Zuckerberg is kind of a scumbag, and are worried about how the Oculus will be monetized and eventually integrated into Facebook's ecosystem. If the entirety of the positive scenario rests on Facebook not interfering with Oculus in any way, shape, or form, then you're going to be disappointed if you seriously believe that's going to happen.

I don't like all the doom and glooming, but there's more reason to be skeptical and uneasy than there is to just be optimistic for no reason, given the quality of services that Facebook tends to attract, the kind of games Facebook hosts, and the fact that something like 90+% of their revenue comes from ads; particularly mobile ads. Their entire business model is "expand the userbase at all costs so we can put up more ads." All of this legitimate pessimism is getting swept under the rug by yet another round of "I bet it won't be as bad as you people on the internet think it will be." After last year, I think I've heard that about ten too many times.

(I also think the argument that "So what if it provides all these other experiences and services? It'll still be about games." isn't very comforting. The Xbox One is a great example of a product that purported to be about games... and a bunch of other stuff. Despite insistence that focusing on other efforts wouldn't detract from the gaming experience of the product, that happened by necessity. Splitting the focus, meeting a bunch of different demands and needs, stretching their attention to the dictates of corporate. There's every possibility that Facebook could compromise Oculus and its strongest aspect; its purity of vision. That is also entirely legitimate, and anyone upset about has reason to be.)

Edited by Vigil80

Thought-provoking. But...

But without the Oculus Rift project on Kickstarter, none of this would be happening. It's easy to be upset that you're not walking home with tens of thousands in your pocket, but that was never going to happen.

Could this be a bit of a misinterpretation? I'm sure there are those who are angry for this reason, but I don't think it's the main driver. I'm guessing it's a mistrust of Facebook, period. The reaction is similar to what I imagine if Oculus had been bought by, say, BP or Monsanto. But if Oculus had been purchased by Valve, on the other hand, the backlash would not be anywhere near as fierce.

OcuBook is just another reminder that the middle class has enough money to pre-order $300 toys but not enough money to properly invest

— Chris Plante (@plante) March 26, 2014

Is Mr. Plante saying that the "middle class" are too stupid to invest, or don't have money in sufficient amounts to justify use of the term "invest?"

Edited by officer_falcon

I haven't seen evidence that Facebook cares about anything but expanding and money.

How about their github projects page where they regularly update and develop open source code?

https://github.com/facebook

Edited by Bicycle_Repairman

This article is great if you agree with most points, its not if you disagree with most points.

That's no journalism Patrick, that's punditry.

Be careful not to confuse them. They have a different value. One is dry facts, the other one opinion.

Posted by sf2733

@feller13: Pretty much. I love how all of you who have zero clue about any particulars of this deal are so quick to dismiss the opinion of a man who has invested 10,000 dollars into the company, and had real BUSINESS, keyword: business, meetings with said company and is positively more aware of what this deal entails than any of you, Patrick included. Talk about "knee jerk reactions".

Posted by GaspoweR

...

Despite all my rage,

....

Oh man....this is bringing back memories of a s- OH BILLY CORGAN WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?? WAIT, NO! BILLY CORGAN ARE YOU GOING TO SING THAT SONG OH NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO PLEASE NOT THAT SONG AGAIN BILLY CORGAN NOT THAT SOONG OH GOD NO PLEASE BILLY NOOO GAAAAAAAAAAHHH-


Posted by acleveralias

Great stuff, Patrick. Would be great to hear some of the opinions of Oculus employees on the matter—a sort-of "other side of the coin" piece when compared to those members of Irrational that spoke out on its closure.

Posted by Farkas

This reaction couldn't be more similar to the punk rock/major label uprising of the early 90s.

Consider Oculus as independently focused and intelligent. Consider Facebook commercially driven and a time vacuum of dumb. When your heralded vision that you've nurtured since its inception aligns itself with something you consider suboptimal, you become stompy and outrageous.

Realistically, if you owned a company and a multi-billionaire knocked on your door and offered you the money, resources and freedom to build your dream AND set you up financially for life, you're going to say no because you're steeped in punk rock ethos?

I understand backer outrage. I'd hope Oculus takes care of you with a free commercial unit (at least). Otherwise, us plebs should realize this will aid the R&D outreach and put Rifts on faces faster.

Posted by Farktoid

I'd be more concerned about Morpheus. Sony's been doing VR stuff for years, the Rift was a big enough threat to force their hand and invest more. Depending on what Facebook does with the OR will also affect a lot of what Morpheus will end up doing.

I'm getting a Holodeck out of this some way, dammit. And I'd rather it not be laden with advertising.

Posted by MrGtD

Patrick's Facebook deletion method is...diabolical.

Posted by milhous

If Oculus wanted to be a company producing electronics for the masses, that was not going to happen on its own.

We don't know that that's true, for one, and second, that's not what Oculus told people. This is a huge part of why people are having this reaction that I think you're underplaying in this piece.

As Jeff Atwood tweeted today:

"I was going to change the world with VR and try to change humanity forever, but here's a number."

Posted by Hero_Swe

Hah! Take that naysayers! More money for Oculus is only a good thing and Notch is an idiot, why pull out when he could cash in even more on Minecraft VR

Edited by masterpaperlink

An incredibly exciting project with the potential to revolutionise all forms of visual media, backed by thousands of fans (mostly gamers), lead by what seemed to be very idealistic/ intelligent people, (gamers?) whose major concern was videogames and their eventual improvement, have been bought by a publicly held social media company whose primary concern is money and/or social networking.

You don't pay 2 billion for anything and not have plans for it, I am entirely sure that in the long run, facebook has no interest in pushing VR past what is merely acceptable.

also, facebook having a good track record after only acquiring other social networking services is meaningless, those services were probably bought because they were somewhat inline with what they were already doing.

Posted by McDayman

The Rift does seem cool, but honestly, my initial reaction to hearing the news was "2 billion dollars? Really? There's no way this thing, with no guaranteed content, is worth that much." Seeing that the majority of the payout is in "funny money" it makes a little more sense now.

Edited by Bjorn

I find it hilarious how people are shooting this down. Oculus always needed capital, I was just waiting for someone to come and scoop them up. And I feel there were much scarrier options out there, like MS, Apple and Sony. But when that is said, this is fucking boonkers! I find this extremely funny and I cant wait to see hos this turns out. I guess I am alone in feeling this way?

Posted by Wikitoups