Game Over? Oculus Fans Outraged by Facebook Purchase
Gamers are a notoriously prickly bunch.
But they liked Oculus: When the virtual reality firm asked for $250,000 on Kickstarter to build Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset, gamers responded with love and money, throwing nearly $2.5 million at the project.
Oculus was cool; it was scrappy, raised on crowdfunding, the very antithesis of a tech behemoth like Facebook.
So when news broke yesterday that Facebook is acquiring Oculus -- paying a whopping $2 billion in cash and stock -- there was an instant and intense backlash from the gaming community, particularly from those who had backed Oculus's Kickstarter project.
The virtual reality firm announced the news on its website, providing users with a space to vent. The Oculus Rift Kickstarter page has also been flooded with diatribes against the sale. Negative comments ranged from the simple: "DO NOT WANT," to the chiding: "It is immensely disappointing that you have chosen this course, as it clashes directly against what you have been espousing over the past year," to the, well, dramatic: "YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE THE CHOSEN ONES." Many simply expressed hope that this was all an elaborate early April Fool's prank.
By accepting Facebook's offer, many commentators felt Oculus had traded its soul for cash. ("I guess you might as well go full-evil when selling out," was a typical observation).
The general argument, shared by Minecraft creator Marcus Persson, who stated his issues with the acquisition in a blog post, is that Facebook's intentions are all wrong; a host of commentators stated their concerns that the social network will pollute what would have been a pure gaming product with tacky games and ads.
But not everyone was upset. A few commentators – although their voices were few and far between – advised everyone to get over it already. "Everyone needs to settle down about this," wrote one. "No one is saying they will stop developing Oculus for gaming. They needed money and now they have it."
Another put it more bluntly: "A company we like has some money to actually finish their project now. Whatever will we do? You know, besides buy it anyway while we continue to complain about it, just like we'll all whine about Facebook as if we're not using it."
For his part, 21-year-old Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey wrote a post on Reddit outlining his reasons for making the sale, essentially telling gamers that the acquisition will enable the company to reach more people at a faster pace.
"I’m proud to be a member of this community — thank you all for carrying virtual reality and gaming forward and trusting in us to deliver," he concluded. "We won’t let you down."