For a reported $2 billion deal, Oculus VR and their Oculus Rift project have been bought out by the American social network service.
In a post on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg personally confirmed the acquisition, claiming their mission is “to make the world more open and connected.”
The move comes as one of many for Facebook, as they recently acquired both Instagram and WhatsApp for a total of around $20 billion. Many pessimistic commentators have already declared the death of the Oculus Rift as a step-forward for gaming, although Zuckerberg says in his confirmation that “immersive gaming will be first.” He goes on to add:
“The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there’s a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform. We’re going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games. Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook to achieve this.”
This hasn’t stopped developers from jumping ship, however. Markus ‘Notch’ Persson tweeted immediately after the news broke claiming that any deal to bring his game Minecraft to the Rift was off, calling Facebook “creepy.” He went on in a blog post to describe Facebook as:
“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.
Don’t get me wrong, VR is not bad for social. In fact, I think social could become one of the biggest applications of VR. Being able to sit in a virtual living room and see your friend’s avatar? Business meetings? Virtual cinemas where you feel like you’re actually watching the movie with your friend who is seven time zones away?
But I don’t want to work with social, I want to work with games.“
Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus, went to Reddit to attempt to cool the hatred being thrown Oculus’ way after the news. Sounding awfully like PR speech, Luckey told Reddit that:
“Facebook is run in an open way that’s aligned with Oculus’ culture. Over the last decade, Mark and Facebook have been champions of open software and hardware, pushing the envelope of innovation for the entire tech industry. As Facebook has grown, they’ve continued to invest in efforts like with the Open Compute Project, their initiative that aims to drive innovation and reduce the cost of computing infrastructure across the industry. This is a team that’s used to making bold bets on the future.”
Despite being decimated by downvotes following his announcement, Luckey went on to assure fans that a Facebook account isn’t and will never be necessary to use the Rift. In the same comment he called a user’s distaste about Facebook branding on the product “not really reasonable in a literal sense.”
Regarding questions about Facebook’s purported information leaks and the prospect of it being applied to the Rift, Luckey again denied this would happen. Again, though, Luckey’s responses appeared to be nothing more than damage control throughout his Q&A with users, many informing him that their pre-orders for the latest DK2 version of the Rift had been cancelled.
Luckey also claimed numerous times that there was exciting news that proved the positives about the Facebook acquisition, just that they aren’t “public” yet. Keep on the lookout on Enter_Name_Here for more news about this one when it breaks.