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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 AlexanderSheen

At least Project Morpheus is still a thing.

Posted by Budwyzer

@overbite said:

Facebook more like fartbook.

Just change your name to Billy Madison and your avatar to Adam Sandler already.

Edited by ArbitraryWater

@jensonb said:

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.

Nah, I think the tide has turned against Google as well somewhat. All of these plucky internet startups from the last decade are now the monolithic evil corporations they originally fought against, complete with the part where they can sling around money to buy anything and everything that catches their interest.

Also, I love Patrick's method of Facebook purging and will adopt it for myself posthaste.

EDIT: oh right, I should probably comment on the actual story. Patrick is right. Kickstarter isn't an investment, it's a donation. Placing any ownership of the finished product on yourself is disingenuous.

Posted by 0xdtmx0

@acleveralias: relevance depends on the employees cut (or lack there of) from the acquisition

Posted by RonGalaxy

But success only comes through failure

This article, son.

No?

I bet you 2 billion dollars that line from Patrick is coming from that stupid Ira Glass video where he says something to the effect of all artists/creators fail before they succeed, so don't lose hope in yourself because if you keep trying, you'll eventually overcome failure.

Really inspiring. Also a bunch of horseshit. There are things people are natural at, and things people will never grasp, even through persistence. There are also people who need to try a lot before they become good.

Edited by GaspoweR

@bicycle_repairman: Yeah this is an opinion piece though. This isn't a news article anyway though GB should have a separate category to be able to place articles like this one so there won't be people who are going to complain or scrutinize that this is not a news post.

Posted by Veektarius

But success only comes through failure

This article, son.

No?

That is a crazy article. The person who wrote that is crazy and so are you if you agree with him. I still remember how to spell necessary because I got it wrong in a spelling bee. I know to make sure to double check that I have the company name right on my cover letters because of the time I sent out that one to a job I really wanted that still had another company's name on it. I know that I have to watch out for that section with mixed pizzicato and arco sections in the finale of Stravinsky's 1st because I've fucked it up so many times.

Posted by Draxyle

Jim Sterling just put up a video with a great perspective on the matter.

He makes an excellent point; Facebook has a better track record in not screwing up what it buys than.. pretty much everyone else in the actual game industry. This buyout might be the thing that saved the Oculus from fading into obscure, niche territory.

I have no love of Facebook myself, and I'm sad that the Oculus will be moving away from its grassroots appeal, but this story could have ended so much worse.

Posted by Tunnelman

@sf2733: he hasn't "invested" anything though. That's literally what's being said in the article. When you back a project on Kickstarter, like Notch did, it's a gift to that person or company. You are owed literally nothing. You are owed zero financial return, physical goods, or ownership shares. It could not be more clear. Notch calling himself an investor in the company is either a fundamental misunderstanding on his part or a self aware artificial inflation of his role.

Edited by theinnkeeper

Man. Patrick is one the best writers on the internet. Great article.

Posted by Scrawnto

@vigil80 said:

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?"

There is no part of that tweet that refers to intelligence at all. He specifically says "Not enough money to properly invest".

If Oculus needs $2 billion to do their work, $300 is barely a drop in the bucket. More than six million people would have to chip in $300 to add up to equivalent funding. Even then, a good chunk of that $300 is going to materials and production of the product and not just the R&D budget if each of them is buying a Rift rather than buying a stake in the company. You simply aren't going to get that kind of funding from the middle class through something like Kickstarter.

Posted by InspectorFowler

The problem with Facebook being the purchaser is - for me - that they make money by selling user data to advertisers. I would feel the same way if it were Google.

Although Facebook and OR can deny it all they want, ultimately, the cash they have spent only makes sense to their investors if this device results in more - more of, more detailed, and more actionable - user data flowing back to Facebook. They won't - because they can't - simply release a high-end VR set and hope it works, as though they were releasing a new set of high-end headphones. Anything that is part of the "Oculus Rift experience" will have to be part of Facebook's data stream.

Do you - as they said publicly - really want Facebook along for the ride when you make a virtual doctor's visit? I don't. Simply put, I want to purchase a high-end VR set that makes my gaming more fun, and I don't want more data flowing to Facebook to support that.

Posted by wohlf

Thanks for the great article @patrickklepek, you really summed it up.

Posted by GERALTITUDE

A very good, sane right up. A little apologetic towards Facebook, and a little critical of Notch, but a fair shake.

Personally I'm just looking to Carmack right now.

If he walks away in the next 6 months, I think we can use that as some kind of barometer to what FaceRift will be like.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@veektarius:

I'll just quote something from him:

There is one and only one bit of useful, reliable information you can safely glean from failure: “that didn’t work”. Which is wonderful, because now you know to consider maybe not doing that any more. But that’s all you get in terms of valuable, actionable, safe information.

What good will it do you to know how not to do something correctly?

That article I done dug up
Posted by ichthy

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.

If everyone sticks to their word, then I am all for this.

Posted by sf2733

@tunnelman: I agree with you completely, however, the majority of the anger is about what he thinks ownership by Facebook is going to do to the product and the vision behind the product. To dismiss his view point completely when I'm sure he's much more well informed than any of us (the writer of this article included), AND to basically shame anyone who's skeptical is pathetic and naive. I didn't know it was bad to question things, who knew?

Posted by Abendlaender

It's a well written article, but I really feel like Patrick missinterpreted the anger. I don't see anybody being angry cause they don't get any money from this, and I probably read most of the NeoGaf Thread.

Posted by patrickklepek

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.

There are sentences written here, but I'm still confused.

Staff
Posted by RuN

I really enjoyed the write-up. Thanks Patrick !

Edited by KoolAid

What makes me so sad is how alienated the general reaction make me feel. I don't distrust Facebook. I'm not quite sure why you would. It's just a company that made a piece of technology that I use. Why distrust FB but not Google? Twitter? Double Fine? Giant Bomb? (or CBS?)

I don't think Notch is a hero "doing the right thing." He seems like an asshole! Publicly flinging shit over supposed slights that haven't even happened yet. If I was in business talks with someone and they announced they were pulling out over Twitter, I'd think they were a jerk! I think it shows massive disrespect and I would personally never want to work with him because he might do stuff like that.

But it seems like I'm in the minority. And that makes me kinda sad and lonely. I'd like to be able to understand where people are coming from.

Posted by daggon55

@farkas said:

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.

I agree with the first part, as you get older you start to realize that practical trumps ideal. Practical happens.

But for the second I don't, the backers got exactly what Oculus proposed, dev kits and the chance to see them succeed.

Edited by Scrawnto

Do you - as they said publicly - really want Facebook along for the ride when you make a virtual doctor's visit? I don't. Simply put, I want to purchase a high-end VR set that makes my gaming more fun, and I don't want more data flowing to Facebook to support that.

If the Oculus comes out and it turns out that it really does phone home to Facebook with usage information, I expect we'll see it jail-broken within months if not weeks.

Posted by Monkeyman04

@bicycle_repairman said:

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.

There are sentences written here, but I'm still confused.

You're sentences.

Online
Posted by jasonefmonk

I have never backed a Kickstarter proposal. I have no idea why anyone who did would feel entitled at this point; they got theirs. I'm still deeply disappointed by the Facebook acquisition.

(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.)

Instagram is an entirely different product that does fit with Facebook's current business. It has also certainly changed since the purchase, Instagram Video being the most apparent.

While a massive cash pipe is good for Oculus development now, the sacrifice of control could cause problems later. Facebook business practices are greasy. I don't think they have anything to offer Oculus in the way developers or designers. The site preforms well for the capacity, but has deep struggles with feature creep and user experience. Setting up Facebook is more trouble than setting up a new computer.

I am glad the VR excitement has expanded beyond Oculus, with Sony and others in the running it's not as likely to flop when it hits market.

Posted by Tunnelman

@sf2733: I think it's fine for him to have his opinion on the whole thing like literally anyone else who has heard of the two companies but self proclaiming himself as an investor is inherently false. If his anger is coming from what he feels he's owed by the company he can just fuck right off. Like I wouldn't care that he said any of the things he said if he didn't call himself an investor in the company. I feel as if he was a potential developer for the product and his knowledge base of it lags behind those currently developing for the platform. Given the quick talks of the deal, made at GDC, I don't feel he's at all qualified any more than any other developer to give thoughts on the issue. I'm not saying he can't or shouldn't have his opinions or even that they're different from mine, I'm just saying he's inflating his importance to the whole thing.

Posted by Antisamitism

@fargofallout said:

What I care about is advertising, and I don't trust Facebook to not advertise through this. It's how Facebook makes money. My picture of the Rift was as a (for lack of a better term) dumb device. I saw it as a peripheral. Now that they're owned by Facebook, I don't see it that way. No matter what they say, I don't believe that Facebook won't get their hooks into it somehow.

Agreed. Maybe it was inevitable that some larger tech company would get their hands on VR tech and build it into a broader monetized service, but Facebook is the large tech company I trust the least to accomplish this in a humane way. (Okay, maybe Yahoo would be worse.) Even if Facebook doesn't think they'll make money off this for ten years, they still plan on making money eventually, and so far Facebook's overall approach to monetization of their platform doesn't give me confidence in their ability to offer a straightforward value proposition to the end-user. Maybe it's just me being sentimental, but I'd have fewer reservations if we were talking about, say, Amazon -- at least they actually sell things to people, even if they're just as invasive on the back-end. But when you're talking about lesser evils, I guess that gets pretty subjective.

Maybe Facebook will find a new model moving forward, but so far their strengths as a company are in ads and data (and, in the short term, being able to throw money at stuff (case in point)). So it's a fair expectation that, whenever they do make money on VR, how they make money on it will reflect those strengths. And if we're taking it as a given that VR will require this kind of targeted advertisement and user data-mining to be profitable at a large scale, whether from Facebook or anyone else, then that's a big asterisk to tack on the end of the "VR revolution."

Though I still think non-gaming VR will be our generation's multimedia CD-ROM -- a cool tech demo, but something that most people won't ever bother using. So in the long run, who knows.

Posted by redcouch

You're not a monster @patrickklepek. I killed a tortoise today in Far Cry 3-- I'm a monster.

Posted by pinner458

When I first heard about Sonys Project Morpheus VR I immediately thought "Ha, Occulus Ripped" I was quite pleased with myself. i'm sure others have thought it too.

Posted by Clonedzero

The Occulus Rift was never gonna be more than a cool gimmick device. Same with that song VR thingy.

People aren't going to want to wear goofy headsets.

This whole facebook thing is irrelevant.

Edited by Scrawnto

@video_game_king said:

@veektarius:

I'll just quote something from him:

There is one and only one bit of useful, reliable information you can safely glean from failure: “that didn’t work”. Which is wonderful, because now you know to consider maybe not doing that any more. But that’s all you get in terms of valuable, actionable, safe information.

What good will it do you to know how not to do something correctly?

That article I done dug up

Hey look! I can dig up choice quotes too!

If you want to succeed, to become “a success”, to achieve mastery, then you need to fail more times than Joe Blow has tried;

That sounds an awful lot like "success only comes through failure" to me. Note that "through failure" doesn't necessarily mean "from failure" just that success is on the other side of failure.

Edited by Pudge

I'd rather have the niche Oculus and the thousands of independent projects that would have come out for it than a mainstream corporate Second Life viewer with games as a tertiary feature at best. You can all rationalize the sell-out all you want, but it's not pure anymore, and its not worth my passion. To quote Bill HIcks, "I want my rock stars DEAD!"

Edited by Sil3n7

@koolaid said:

What makes me so sad is how alienated the general reaction make me feel. I don't distrust Facebook. I'm not quite sure why you would. It's just a company that made a piece of technology that I use. Why distrust FB but not Google? Twitter? Double Fine? Giant Bomb? (or CBS?)

I don't think Notch is a hero "doing the right thing." He seems like an asshole! Publicly flinging shit over supposed slights that haven't even happened yet. If I was in business talks with someone and they announced they were pulling out over Twitter, I'd think they were a jerk! I think it shows massive disrespect and I would personally never want to work with him because he might do stuff like that.

But it seems like I'm in the minority. And that makes me kinda sad and lonely. I'd like to be able to understand where people are coming from.

I completely agree. He has some sort of haughty idea of what he actually did in giving them money. He didn't invest. It was a donation. He can be displeased with what is happening, but announcing something like that over twitter makes him seem petty and demagogues the issue.

I don't distrust Facebook either. On top of that, like Patrick said, they have already had lots of money. So the attachment of the Facebook name is clearly what people don't like about this.

I also find it amusing that Giant bomb literally went through the exact same thing being bought by CBSi. Are there still people moaning over that? No cause nothing changed. Same with instagram that Facebook know owns. People who automatically think this is terrible just seem to be ignorant of facts.

Posted by csl316

Whenever I see Facebook throwing billions around, I find it crazy how a social site has become such a financial behemoth.

I'm happy for the Oculus guys. During negotiations, it seemed like they wanted the freedom to keep doing what they're doing (like Giant Bomb wanted when signing with CBSi). If they get that, the backing of a company like FB brings its potential sky high. It's exciting.

And to think, just a couple years ago we were reading interviews with Carmack from a back room, with some weird duct-taped device that played Doom III.

Edited by Turambar

@patrickklepek said:

@bicycle_repairman said:

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.

There are sentences written here, but I'm still confused.

He's saying this is an opinion piece as opposed to a news piece. I'm pretty sure that's what you were going for in the first place though.

Then again, when you embrace the title as the "news guy" at Giantbomb, you can't blame your readers to want to view your articles through a news lens. One can call that mismanaged expectations on the part of a variety of actors. Kind of like what this entire article is about, really.

Posted by Vigil80

@scrawnto said:

@vigil80 said:

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?"

There is no part of that tweet that refers to intelligence at all. He specifically says "Not enough money to properly invest".

I figured, but I wanted to be sure. I don't follow Mr. Plante, so I have no way of gauging when his text is supposed to have sarcasm.

I wondered if it might be meant like, "Oh, you have enough money for beer, but you don't have enough to put gas in the car?"

Posted by Stonyman65

I think Patrick is over thinking this too much. It's not so much that Oculus got bought out because we all knew that this was going to happen sooner or later - the problem is that it is Facebook who bought them out. The same company who has managed to fuck up pretty much every single thing they have ever done without fail. That's why people are upset. Nothing more, nothing less.

As far as the whole Kickstarter thing - What did you expect?! Did you really think that the kickstarter funding would be able to lift this off the ground and take it to market? No way in hell. It was pretty obvious that they would need outside investment from a larger company at some point. Anyone who thought otherwise is delusional.

Posted by Phished0ne

Shoutouts to notch for participating in the doom-and-gloom philosophy of people by being the first dev to pull out of occulus support because of FB. Its just a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Posted by zladko

RIP

Posted by Max_Cherry

Patrick's mom uses Facebook? My parents have trouble using push button phones.

Posted by Skooky

Hindsight-realists are boring and dumb.

Edited by graf1k

So the thing is, while people who backed this Kickstarter for Oculus are wrong for being pissed about this, I'm glad they are. Kickstarter, as it exists today, is for chumps and the Oculus Rift is the best example yet of why it's for chumps.

Clearly Oculus had the chance to go the VC route or 'angel investor' route before taking their idea to Kickstarter and either were denied or figured Kickstarter was the better option. Either way, Oculus Rift would never have been in the position to be acquired by Facebook without being Kickstarted (and if it had only been funded to the initial $250k they asked for, probably would still not exist). Now, that said, the Oculus Kickstarter proved that crowd sourcing is a viable form of funding things that are more than just niche products but also things that are financially viable as well. Take both those facts together and it becomes clear that a "gamers hedge fund" could do a lot of the good things Kickstarter does while also providing gamers a potential financial benefit from their benevolence. Problem is, why would any schmuck choose that option while free money is available from a bunch of people who have no real recourse if you don't deliver what you promise or if it's shit, and have absolutely no stake in your company if you do one day become profitable and get bought out or become the next billion-dollar IPO.

In short, if you're pissed about not benefiting from the Oculus buyout, don't back stuff on Kickstarter. If you just care about getting the thing itself, don't back stuff on Kickstarter because there's no guarantee you'll get "what you paid for". If you are super-idealistic and don't really care if you get the thing you back but think it would be cool if the thing exists one day and you get one, by all means, continue as you were.

Personally, between stuff like the Oculus buyout, Ouya being a hunk of shit, not to mention the latter selling at retail before some backers got their kits, I continue to feel pretty good in my choice to not back anything on Kickstarter ever. Because it's for chumps.

Posted by Veektarius

@scrawnto said:

@video_game_king said:

@veektarius:

I'll just quote something from him:

There is one and only one bit of useful, reliable information you can safely glean from failure: “that didn’t work”. Which is wonderful, because now you know to consider maybe not doing that any more. But that’s all you get in terms of valuable, actionable, safe information.

What good will it do you to know how not to do something correctly?

That article I done dug up

Hey look! I can dig up choice quotes too!

If you want to succeed, to become “a success”, to achieve mastery, then you need to fail more times than Joe Blow has tried;

That sounds an awful lot like "success only comes through failure" to me. Note that "through failure" doesn't necessarily mean "from failure" just that success is on the other side of failure.

Failure teaches you to watch out. It attaches a glowing red label to a set of circumstances that makes you think, "Something bad happened here and going on auto-pilot will not serve you. Turn on your brain." That's as valuable a piece of knowledge as any technical know-how in my experience.

Posted by Scrawnto

@vigil80: Nah, Plante is a pretty nice guy. Also, in a response to a response he elaborated, "The implication is the middle class has money to spend, but is not allowed by law to invest in a company like Oculus" and also "to invest you have to have way more money than what's necessary. You have to have VC. The barrier to entry is so high".

Posted by InternetDetective

I still don't like it.

The backlash to this takeover isn't baseless. there are legit reasons why people did not react well to suddenly having the words "social platform" forced into their indie virtual reality device by a soulless mega corp.

However I do feel like a lot of the anti-backlash is not sincere. I feel that white-knighting unpopular corporate moves and mergers has become a new form of trolling.

There is a reason why folks feel like large companies are out to exploit them, and that is because it is historically and intrinsically true.

Facebook is suck. Die Facebook.

(hit me up on facebook if you want to argue some more)

Posted by MrMazz

well put.

I never understood the reaction about the fact that the rift was a Kickstarter project. Pebble started out as a kickstarter and they used that to start a buisness. I keep expecting them to be bought out by Apple or Google at this point. Oculus was always going to be bought.

Now I don't really like facebook. I see it as a useful tool but it's not my social network of chocie but would people be freaking out as much if Microsoft and Sony had boughtem?

Edited by Turambar

@video_game_king said:

@veektarius:

I'll just quote something from him:

There is one and only one bit of useful, reliable information you can safely glean from failure: “that didn’t work”. Which is wonderful, because now you know to consider maybe not doing that any more. But that’s all you get in terms of valuable, actionable, safe information.

What good will it do you to know how not to do something correctly?

That article I done dug up

Because anyone that knows how to do something either experienced failure in all the other potential ways first hand, or learned it from people who learned it from people who learned it from people that failed first hand.

You don't find success until you've learned one way or another the other paths are suboptimal. Reinventing the wheel is bad, but inventing the wheel the first time took discovering that all the other shapes sucked for the job.

Posted by masterpaperlink

@video_game_king said:

But success only comes through failure

This article, son.

No?

That is a crazy article. The person who wrote that is crazy and so are you if you agree with him. I still remember how to spell necessary because I got it wrong in a spelling bee. I know to make sure to double check that I have the company name right on my cover letters because of the time I sent out that one to a job I really wanted that still had another company's name on it. I know that I have to watch out for that section with mixed pizzicato and arco sections in the finale of Stravinsky's 1st because I've fucked it up so many times.

success ONLY comes through failure, it implies an absolute which just isn't true (also it makes extra less sense in this context)

Posted by Video_Game_King

Failure teaches you to watch out. It attaches a glowing red label to a set of circumstances that makes you think, "Something bad happened here and going on auto-pilot will not serve you. Turn on your brain."

You're assuming that everything can be reasoned out with the information you do have and knowledge of what not to do (especially with that "turn on your brain" comment). Many things don't work that way.

Posted by Immortal_Guy

@patrickklepek: I think what @bicycle_repairman was trying to say is that there's a difference between straightforward news reporting and editorials/opinion pieces. I really liked the article, and I think it'd be a good read even for someone who doesn't share your opinions (I'd even go as far as to say it might convince them that you're right) - but I'd understand if he was taking issue with it being posted in the same general "giantbomb news" section. Is there some "editorial" tag that could be attached to some articles to clarify? (Having said that, there's probably no mistaking this article for a "straight" news article, so I guess the point's sort of academic. Maybe I've just misunderstood what bycicle_repairman was saying altogether...)