Facebook Buys Oculus: Mixed Online Reactions

Facebook stunned everyone with the announcement that it’s acquiring Oculus VR for $2 billion. The Irvine-based startup makes Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset for 3D gaming, which has been described as one of the hottest products to hit the gaming scene in the recent months. Though the headsets aren’t available to consumers yet, but whoever has tried the virtual reality goggles has said “wow”!  

 Mark Zuckerburg in a Facebook post  gives an insight into the future of the device – “After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.” The Oculus Rift project was initially funded by Kickstarter, the crowdfunding website. Around 9,522 people donated $2.4 million through Kickstarter to get early versions built and shipped to game developers. The news of acquisition didn’t go well with many Kickstarter backers; some of them are demanding their money back. The acquisition has been discussed at great lengths online; we’ve rounded up some of the online reactions on the Facebook-Oculus deal.  

Oculus Kickstarter Page

“You selling out to Facebook is a disgrace,” says Sergey Chubukov on Kickstarter. Many were concerned as they think Facebook would sell data on what people viewed through headset. “I get the feeling that Oculus just committed suicide. I REALLY believed in Oculus and wanted to support them in every way I could. As a developer I was gitty with excitement, now I am kinda sad.” says Adam Fraprie on Oculus Kickstarter page.

Many users said they were going to cancel their pre-orders. In the midst of users venting out their disappointment, there were a few who were looking forward to the partnership. “We all have concerns on how Facebook is going to handle the acquisition, but it shouldn’t be as bad as most are anticipating. I’m still confident that Oculus is going to bring some exciting new hardware to the market as fast as possible and kickstart the VR revolution.” writes Guilherme Campos  


Plamer Luckey, Oculus VR founder, took to Reddit to explain the reasons behind the deal. Here’s his full post – 

 However, it didn’t pacify the followers of VR and kickstarter backers “It damages not only your reputation, but the whole of crowdfunding. I cannot put into words how betrayed I feel by this.” “Fuck you, Palmer,” says deletemeapril162014 on Reddit. Facebook haters on Reddit ripped apart Occulus ;however, some were positive about the deal as it would make the headsets accessible and affordable. “I get it.

Facebook sucks. But, as a fan of VR, not just Oculus, I’ll gladly take a Facebook-owned Oculus Rift CV1 with better, made-for-VR (not mobile) hardware, cheaper, sooner, and with more content.” says goodgreenganja on Reddit.  

News websites & blogs  

Mojang’s Markus “Notch” Persson shortly after the announcement tweeted “We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus, I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.”

He published a blog post where he detailed his view; he concluded by saying – “I have the greatest respect for the talented engineers and developers at Oculus. It’s been a long time since I met a more dedicated and talented group of people. I understand this is purely a business deal, and I’d like to congratulate both Facebook and the Oculus owners.

But this is where we part ways.” Erik Kain of Forbes writes “Microsoft should have acquired Oculus Rift; not Facebook”.  Joel Johnson who was one of the 9,522 backers and gave $300 to Oculus shares his thoughts on Valleywag “But I still feel as if circumstance removed me from an opportunity to turn my speculative belief in the future of VR and Oculus’s role in it into real money.

Their story—a genuine garage hacker does what billion-dollar companies would not—didn’t imply its eventual end: that the barefoot, teenage founder would sell his startup to a giant technology corporation before they sold a single retail product. No injury, perhaps, but plenty of insult.” He ends the post saying “I won’t be backing any more Kickstarter or crowd-funded projects. It’s not that the risk is too great; it’s that the potential reward is too little.”  Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry of Forbes said the Facebook-Oculus deal shows Mark Zuckerburg is the new Bill Gates.  

Nick Statt of CNET says “Relax, gamers. Not only will Oculus still be able to fulfill its ambitions, but the Facebook acquisition will also prove a landmark moment for the impending ubiquity of virtual reality.” E McNeil blogs on Gamasutra that there’re some good things that can come out this deal – Oculus & Facebook: Probably Not So Bad, So Maybe You Could Stop Freaking Out About It. 

Jaron Lanier writes in an email to Mashbale “Well, in the abstract, I say congrats to the Oculus team, but beyond that what matters is what they actually do,” “If they don’t make a success of this support, that would be a drag.” “I have seen a lot of cases where big ticket acquisitions seem to actually slow innovative startups down. Hope that doesn’t happen in this case. But remember, despite all the publicity, there are a lot of other VR efforts in the world, so this isn’t the only game in town. I don’t think a failure would curse VR”.  

Richard Stitselaar, Creative Director on the World of Diving, told Polygon “Oculus being bought by Facebook offers the platform a number of unique opportunities, which are potentially a snug fit with the key things that we as a studio think are offered by VR, and where we put a lot of focus for our own VR game World of Diving: its multiplayer and social elements.”  Sergio Hidalgo who is working on Dreadhalls, a horror title for the Oculus Rift said “Seeing the numbers involved, my first thoughts is that it will probably mean Oculus now has almost ‘unlimited’ resources, which I guess could accelerate the research and development process, and how fast they are able to put a product into the consumer’s hands,”  


Tweets on – whether Kickstarter backers should get their money back? Are their vitriolic responses justified? – were all over Twitter.  

 The deal recieved a mixed response on Twitter.  

 A GIF of an edited scene from “Futurama,” where the characters use Oculus-like devices to step into a virtual-reality world where they have to fight against Facebook advertisements went viral. An old quote from Oculus CTO, John Carmack, on how Oculus appeals to the “hacker/maker crowd,” with a quote from Mark Zuckerberg about Oculus is a new communications platform, fetched roughly 4,500 comments.  


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