Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, was bought by Facebook for US$2 Billion.
In case you were living under a rock, this is Oculus Rift. Started as a kickerstarter project, Oculus Rift quickly gained attention from the gaming community, raising over $2.4 million thru the crowdfunding site, and over $91 million via series of fund raising. The initial “dev kit” version was shipped in March 2013 to developers to start integrating Oculus Rift supports into their games. In March 2014 at GDC, Devkit 2(DK2) was announced to begin shipping in July this year. The dream of virtual reality gaming seems to be just around the corner.
Then Facebook happened. Oculus VR was bought by Facebook this Tuesday, March 25 for US$2 Billion. The acquisition triggered a hugh backlash within gaming/tech community. Overwhelmingly, people are expressing disappointment, despite, anger, even a sense of betrayal. Markus “Notch” Persson, creator of the hugh popular game Minecraft, has cancelled the deal with Oculus VR in the light of the Facebook bought out. Here is what he said during an interview:
“Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers. People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform to better fit the social experience they were trying to build.”
So what holds the future for virtual reality gaming? It’s still too early to tell, but should Oculus Rift failed, we better hope that Sony will step up.