Facebook and Oculus

It’s been the talk of the town for the past week. Facebook, the company everyone loves to hate at the moment, purchased the VR technology Oculus Rift, the indie darling of the video game industry. They purchased Oculus or $2 billion. $400,000 in hard money, and the rest in stock options. Facebook is serious about this and it’s driving everyone up the wall.

For some reason, people believe they own a piece of Oculus. The company was founded on Kickstarter money though. This makes everyone’s logic flawed. Yes, they gave money to Oculus, but the only thing they are guaranteed in the return is their backer reward. When a product or idea is funded through Kickstarter, you – the backer – own nothing of the product or its parent company. You are simply giving money to see a dream come true and get a product out of it.

Despite this, everyone is flipping out that Oculus supposedly “sold out”. People are railing against Oculus for essentially doing what it promised: delivering a virtual reality device. In order to complete that device in a form that could be sold to the public, they’ll need money. The Kickstarter money could only get them so far.

One can certainly understand the appeal of an independent company breaking out into the market. Especially in this day and age, people are hesitant to trust “big companies”. That’s understandable, but no one through this fit when Veronica Mars, the movie funded by Kickstarter, was picked up by Warner Bros. for distribution. In fact there was quite the opposite reaction. Everyone was thrilled that the thing they loved would be available for more people to see.

When it comes down to it, Oculus, and the people want to see Oculus succeed, need Facebook. While people believe that Facebook will only mess things up for them, there would be no chance of success without them. It’s better to at least have a chance, no? Everything Facebook has said has only been good news. They’re willing to wait and let Oculus develop. They have no plans of sticking a Facebook client in it and rushing it to market. Now whether or not this will stay true, we’ll see. But if John Carmack, the man who left id Software because what he was doing was no longer fulfilling, plans to stick around there is hope to be had. Oculus is already putting this money to good use, pulling Valve’s top VR man, Michael Abrash, over to their side. They clearly don’t plan on squandering their newfound investments.

Yes, it may take some time until we see all the good that will come from this. But overreacting to the potential this deal has will not do anyone any favors. It’s better to be patient and wait and see. At least then if things go south everyone will have the evidence to back up their claims.


One thought on “Facebook and Oculus

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  1. You’re spot on with the article…I don’t believe Kickstarter funds were enough to allow them to really break into the marketplace & from a business perspective, it was smart to do business with Facebook.

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