Oculus Founder Responds to Gamers Concerns After Facebook Buyout
Image courtesy of: Oculus
The internet has been buzzing with mixed emotions following the unexpected announcement on Tuesday that Facebook had acquired Oculus VR, Inc., for approximately $2 billion in cash and stock.
Much of the negative backlash came from fans and early supporters of the Oculus Rift expressing their deep concern and initial skepticism towards the Facebook acquisition—with fears of having possible “ulterior” motives. Even some game developers couldn’t hide their discontent with the deal. Markus “Notch” Persson, the creator of Minecraft, said that he would no longer make an Oculus Rift version of his game because of Facebook.
However, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey quickly responded to criticism expressed by frustrated fans on Reddit, where much of the Oculus Rift community congregated in full force seeking answers and voicing their strong options.
“I am sorry that you are disappointed,” Luckey said in a response to a frustrated fan. “To be honest, if I were you, I would probably have a similar initial impression!”
One other fan on Reddit requested Luckey to “promise” that there would not be any “specific Facebook tech tie-ins” through the Oculus Rift, Luckey gave his word that it would not happen.
Luckey continued to defend his position of the acquisition by saying he believes this partnership with Facebook is the best fit for the long-term success of VR and the future of Oculus.
“Why would we want to sell to someone like MS (Microsoft) or Apple?” Luckey asked. “So they can tear the company apart and use the pieces to build out their own vision of virtual reality, one that fits whatever current strategy they have? Not a chance.”
One of the biggest questions many fans were left thinking was if this would result in Oculus giving up total control of their company, and losing the original vision that captured the hearts and minds of those who supported the Oculus Rift since the beginning of the Kickstarter campaign.
According to Luckey, executives at Facebook have pledged to allow Oculus to operate independently.
“We don’t have to compromise on anything, and can afford to make decisions that are right for the future of virtual reality, not our current revenue.” Luckey went on to say, “Keep in mind that we already have great partners who invested heavily in Oculus and got us to where we are, so we have not had full control of our destiny for some time. Facebook believes in our long-term vision, and they want us to continue executing on our roadmap, not control what we do.”
In a post about the acquisition, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg reaffirmed that “Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook,” and the focus will continue initially on gaming while receiving support on building out the product and developing partnerships.
In a letter to the Oculus team regarding the new partnership with Facebook, CEO of Oculus, Brendan Iribe briefly mentions a few key points for the long-term strategy:
- We’re able to tap into Facebook’s experience and backend systems for our platform services. As an added bonus, Oculus now has a rock-solid, global payments solution.
- We’ll be able to leverage Facebook’s recruiting infrastructure, including hiring engineers from within Facebook, to supercharge our recruiting.
- We can afford to always make the decision that is right for virtual reality and our customers in the long term – we don’t have to make short-term compromises.
- We’re going to invest in additional partnerships to build the best product and platform.
“No team, ever, has had a better shot at delivering on the dream of virtual reality. This will be the team that solves the hardest problems and delivers the final platform,” Iribe went on to say, “We need you now, more than ever, to go out and find the very best engineers in the world to help us deliver the final platform, the Holodeck.”
While some may still remain bitter, and unchanged by their distrust of Facebook, particularly due to its data mining, and advertising practices, the truth of the matter is, that the quest for the ultimate “virtual reality” experience that we’ve only come to imagine in Sci-fi movies, has finally reached a major milestone towards achieving that goal.
We will make sure to bring you the latest news, as this story continues to develop.