Science and Tech


Facebook’s Oculus VR Buy Leaves Gaming Community Skittish

Not everyone is happy Oculus VR is now under the Facebook umbrella.
Posted at 12:18 PM, Mar 26, 2014

A great disturbance in the Force rattled the Internet Tuesday night, as news broke of Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR.

It’s good news for Oculus’ production schedule and could mean big things for the interactive potential of Facebook, but for one corner of the Internet, it only meant one thing:

“You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness.” (Via 20th Century Fox / “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”)

Obi-Wan’s line flew fast and hard on Twitter and Reddit, and it wasn’t just a joke: some in the gaming sphere are already walking away from a Facebook-controlled Oculus Rift.

Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft, announced he’s canceling a planned port for the Oculus Rift, despite his earlier support for the platform.

“I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.”

But for the moment, Notch leaving could be an anomaly among developers. CCP Games, for example, told Engadget it’s still looking forward to launching Eve: Valkyrie in VR-vision.

And Oculus CTO John Carmack — of Doom fame — eventually did try to reassure the community.  On Twitter, he sounded hopeful Facebook will help give virtual reality the scale it needs to catch on.

Besides, as a writer for VG24/7 points out, this was something of an inevitability.

“Oculus VR was clearly formed to be sold one day. It was, until last night, still very much a start-up without a clear, commercial strategy.”

“The most important thing for me is that the Rift remains an open platform,” says a staffer at PC Gamer. “I think it will—licensing and exclusivity are potential revenue streams, but limiting the number of developers who can work with an experimental system isn’t the way to get it off the ground.”

And Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey himself braved the less-than-hospitable waters at Reddit to say:

“I guarantee that you won't need to log into your Facebook account every time you wanna use the Oculus Rift.”

Oculus VR showed off its latest prototype earlier this month at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. It has not set a release date for the consumer version of its headset.