Recently Facebook bought the Kickstarter Oculus Rift for two billion dollars in cash and shares. The Reaction from the gaming community has not been positive with the belief that Facebook can only do harm rather than bring the device to the masses.
Oculus Rift is a virtual reality head-mounted display being developed by Oculus VR. It was born from the mind of Palmer Lucky who developed an idea for an inexpensive and more effective display. John Carmack who earned fame as a video game programmer decided to work on Palmers developments and developed the software for the device.
Oculus VR originally received 2.5 million dollars via a Kickstarter campaign this was ten times the amount originally asked for. Since this campaign the Oculus Rift has gone from strength to strength with various development units and huge interest from gamers.
Now with the new Facebook buyout this can surely only push the device further than it could ever have done without them. Seemingly with an unlimited cash flow and some of the best minds in the development can only be improved and brought to us quicker. Is it gamers do not see the bigger picture or is it that they believe the evil corporation Facebook will only destroy it.
One of the first major names to dismiss the buyout was Marcus Persson who originally was working with Oculus VR on bringing Minecraft to the device. He cancelled the deal soon after the announcement citing that Facebook “creeps him out”. This does nothing to help the PR of the Oculus Rift after the buyout due to Persson’s influence in the gaming community.
Another back lash was from the original Kickstarter donators who believe that they have been betrayed by the sale. The donators funded Oculus Rift to make it the headset it is today and feel that they are no longer getting what they originally supported. They also feel a sense of ownership and not getting information blindsided them when they leaned from news reports of the sale. What has been learned from this is that Kickstarter is a donation platforms and the money you put into an idea does not mean you have any part of it.
Overall with some of the bad PR received after the purchase would have been expected from Facebook and unavoidable. A big question is what does Facebook want with Oculus Rift? In a statement from mark Zukerberg he says that the company will carry on working with developers and immersive gaming. They hope to develop more relationships to support more games in the future. After gaming Facebook plans to make Oculus Rift available for many other experiences. Some examples used were to imagine studying in a class room or having court side seats at a basketball game.
Overall there has been some negative PR after the sale of Oculus to Facebook but this was always going to be unavoidable. Time will only tell what Facebook can bring to the company but with the recourse available it can only be positive for the Oculus Rift.