You’ve most likely already read about the whole Facebook buying Oculus VR situation. The popular-yet-hated social media company purchased the makers of the much buzzed about Rift virtual reality helmet this week for $2 Billion, much to the frustration of gamers across the internet. Fears of advertisements, casual games, and draconian practices have been running rampant in forums and editorials. So what do the staff of Cliqist, lovers of all things crowdfunded, think about the Kickstarter darlings over at Oculus selling out less than two years after raising $2.4mil from a collection of nearly 10,000 backers?
We posed a very simple question to our writing staff. “Facebook buying Oculus Rift. Thumbs up or down?” Everyone was invited to contribute, but no one was allowed to see eachother’s thoughts until the article was posted.
And remember, as with all editorials, the views expressed in this editorial are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Cliqist.com and the rest of the staff.
Oculus VR being bought out by Facebook is a huge deal. If you don’t think so, simply take a look at the social media uproar that the news caused immediately after it was announced. The devoted fanbase of the Oculus Rift fears what Facebook’s ownership will do to the company, and with good reason. Facebook has certainly never maintained a stance of championing user rights. With that said, it’s simply too early to say what this buyout really means.
For all the things that Facebook could do wrong, it could also do things right. From what little we know, it’s obvious that they desire to take the Rift beyond the confines of games. No, this doesn’t mean that the gaming medium will be pushed to the wayside. There’s already so many developers (and players) in love with the device to stop game development completely. Some developers have cut ties thanks to Facebook entering the fray but hopefully others will still view the device as a worthwhile virtual reality headset. After all, only Sony’s Project Morpheus is the only viable challenger and it has no release window yet.
My view of Facebook’s impending takeover of Oculus VR is cautiously optimistic and with reasons that at least make sense to me. If Oculus did not get bought out right now what would their long term business strategy look like? They gained serious investors after the Kickstarter, but how long would that continue? With continued focus on “perfecting” the Rift (as they just announced a second dev kit rather than retail version) they would likely lose a lot of excitement from investors. Investors funded, and basically owned, the company. Without them there would be little else to prop Oculus VR up short of another Kickstarter campaign – and that would serve as a band-aid more than cure.
For the time being, I’m looking forward to see what this purchase does for the company. Let’s hope it will enhance, rather than tarnish, the Oculus Rift name! Thumbs up.
The internet continues to spasm wildly over Facebook’s recent acquisition of Oculus. Backers have left angry messages, some demanding refunds and others publically backing out of supposed development projects. Meanwhile all the press has Oculus CEO, Palmer Luckey, doing damage control on the least damaging business move in gaming history.
Luckey built the Rift in his garage. It’s the classic story, a scrappy innovator with a dream and the skills to create a functional prototype. When he had a working model he wanted to show it off.
He turned to Kickstarter to finance developer kits. Not distribution, not marketing and not production.
The supposed idea that Oculus wasn’t for sale, that is was intended to be a small indie platform forever it not only bad business sense but incredibly naïve. The pitch video wasn’t a group of dishevelled engineers in their basement. It was a sleek, well managed media presentation. The interviewees weren’t enthusiastic small-time developers.
Luckey brought names.
We see the design director of Epic Games saying he’s a believer; the lead engineer of guitar hero makes an appearance; the co-founder of Scaleform; the president of Valve and the CEO of Unity. The biggest names Oculus could, get they did.
The Rift is being readied for the Unreal Engine, for Unity, for major gaming. Oculus wants their system to revolutionize the industry, to live up to the hype, to make them rich. A two billion dollar sale to a major corporation with the reach and power of Facebook can put the headset in every game store across the country.
Investment is good for innovation and investment is what the Rift needed, especially in the wake of Sony’s Project Morpheus.
The fear is of course that the sale will have us playing Farmville with our eyes. That custom advertisement will fill the corner of our retinas and Mark Zuckerburg will sit on his silicon throne, absorbing our brain-waves in green tights like Jim Carey in Batman Forever.
The size of Facebook’s digital hand in all this has yet to be played. That is something that only time can tell but until there is actual evidence of the Rift becoming less about the company’s plans to expand into new markets and more about pushing the Facebook megabrand everyone in the comments section needs to take a deep breath.
Oculus started out as a Virtual Reality device for gaming, but with Facebook in the mix, it will probably become focused less on gaming and more on other types of media, like movies and social media, digital lectures etc. I do think people should be looking more into those things, because as Mark Zuckerberg says “VR is the future”, but I don’t think Oculus is the one to do this. I’m afraid that after a while the focus on gaming will just become less and less, maybe even disappear. That would be such a shame.
The last thing that’s annoying is just the fact that it’s Facebook. I use Facebook every day; it’s really handy to keep in touch with people, but every day I dislike it more and more. There’s too many ads, too much pushing to like things, just too much bullshit, pardon my French. Facebook is also everywhere nowadays. This all doesn’t make me thrilled that Facebook bought Oculus; I just really don’t want to see the two connected. I don’t want Oculus to be another over advertised brand full of nonsense.
So all in all, there is a positive point, the mainstreaming of VR for other purposes than gaming, but that doesn’t get rid of the disadvantages for me. Like I said, I’m afraid the focus of Oculus will become less and less that of video games, and I’m really against Facebook meddling with too much in my opinion.
I’ve always been skeptical of the Oculus Rift. To me, it seemed like another one of those gimmicks that simply couldn’t live up to its promises. It’s also a giant, goofy helmet that makes you look absolutely ridiculous.
That said, it’s hard not to get excited about it. As a fan of horror games, the Oculus Rift makes me giddy—a game steeped in atmosphere and terror, all thrust right into your senses? Sign me up, please.
Of course, the tech has turned more heads than just those in the games industry, and rightfully so. Yes, I am all for Facebook purchasing Oculus—Facebook is a company with shaky morals at best, but the more money a project like this gets, the better. At worst, Facebook will do what Facebook does and try to ruin everything. At best, though, Facebook will funnel more money into a project that could eventually lead to some pretty crazy technology in the future.
The Oculus Rift isn’t just for video games, nor should it be. This technology deserves to hold the spotlight, and with the right push, it could change the world. Virtual reality could soon be more than a pipe dream, for better or worse; we could soon interact with each other online in ways that go beyond simply typing a message or even video chatting. Zuckerberg saw this potential, and he jumped on it—that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
If you donated to the Kickstarter and feel cheated, all I can ask is… um, why? You funded a project that could now become one of the greatest innovations the technology industry has ever seen. The developers have you, in part, to thank for that. You gave them the go-ahead. Without your donations, nothing like this ever would have happened in the first place. Instead of asking for a refund, give yourself a pat on the back for being part of something exciting—you earned it.
Let me start by saying that the Oculus Rift doesn’t really interest me much, and I don’t think that Facebook is the worst thing ever. I can’t be the only one thinking like that either; Rift centric Kickstarter campaigns fail at a staggering rate, and Facebook continues to increase in overall popularity across the world. If that negates everything I’m about to say then carry on; maybe watch this cute cat video to help center yourself.
People coming unglued about the Oculus / Facebook deal need to realize that without it their beloved VR solution was never going to be as good as they hoped; and it’s the only way they’d be able to get their hands on a retail unit any time soon. While the $2.4mil raised via Kickstarter may seem romantic and pure to backers, believing that because of them the world is one step closer to a Metaverse heaven, that money was just drop in the bucket, barely enough to get the lights turned on. A number of actual accredited investors that are certified to invest in things (i.e., hope to get something more than a t-shirt) pumped Oculus with over $100mil since the Kickstarter ended. That’s not to take away the pride that backers should feel in helping someone make their dreams come true, but your $30 or $300 is insignificant in comparison and was used to help the Oculus team raise real money.
What did they do with that $100+ million? They made a number of improvements to the existing model, making it slightly less “eh,” and hired some big name talent. During that time they apparently forgot about something called supply chain management, which let to them being wholly unprepared when one of their component suppliers stopped making particular parts. All production came to a screeching halt. That was a month ago. And now people are saying that Facebook is going to kill their dream VR product? Sounds like Oculus was already heading down that path themselves, at least now they can afford to not release anything for even longer.
What sort of long term impacts will Facebooks’ less than awesome corporate methodologies have on Oculus and the Rift? Will we see lot of corny Facebook games from an entirely new perspective? Who knows, but with that additional attention and cash hopefully it means we’ll be seeing more than the parade of horror games and ports of existing titles.
Thanks to everyone that participated! Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments.