So the Oculus Rift is the latest acquisition by social media colossus Facebook, who has been eagerly collecting start-ups like Pokémon cards.
Here’s why it’s a big deal:
Check this shit out. This is virtual reality on your face. It was designed specifically for a groundbreaking, immersive gaming experience unlike any other ever created before. Imagine putting it on and turning your head to see a panoramic fictional landscape as you gallop through fields of clover on your trusty fire-breathing unicorn.
I get pretty excited thinking about this thing. Imagine the possibilities! If they can find a way to program it to hook up wires into my brain and let me feel the blood of my enemies raining down on my face as I slaughter them with my holy blade – man, I’d probably never take it off.
So what veteran tech company gets to take this lovely hatchling full of promise under its wing? Is it Valve, Google, Microsoft? Apple maybe?
See, the idea of Facebook buying this technology doesn’t really make sense at first. I’m going to be Captain Obvious and ask the question: what does Facebook intend to do with a virtual reality gaming headset? Let you see grandma’s statuses really close up? Or maybe it will let you create a virtual room to live in with four walls all plastered with photos of your crush’s face. I mean, they can’t possibly be thinking of using it for games like Farmville… right?
Either way, Facebook bought it, and they’ll probably not regret it. Virtual reality is totally viable as the next huge platform explosion, now that the mobile craze is settling down.
But now, Oculus is in a bit of trouble with the gaming community.
I think everyone needs to calm down just a teeny tiny bit.
You see, Oculus got its humble beginnings as a Kickstarter page. And now that it has been bought out by Facebook (which, to a lot of people, is just a giant bottomless wallet of cash), ten thousand supporters are feeling just a teeny tiny bit very much betrayed.
But other than the fact that gaming enthusiasts dedicatedly pooled their meager savings towards a company that became filthy stinking rich overnight, dissent over this acquisition comes from another source. There’s the worry that Facebook (no-good-evil-nasty-meanie-greedy-huge-conglomerate-Facebook) will just keep swelling in size, and reach out and engulf everything in its path.
To be honest, I can’t say that such a fate is unlikely. But is it necessarily a bad thing?
The more I thought about it, those of us who read the news of this $2 billion deal and reacted by saying eughh all seem to hate it for the same silly reason. We just don’t like the idea of Facebook’s name attached to it. We are tired of Facebook infiltrating everything, like nothing is sacred.
^ That is from Notch, the creator of Minecraft. He had been planning to work with Oculus developers to make a version of Minecraft for the Oculus Rift (which would have been wicked cool). But as soon as Facebook bought the company, Notch peaced out.
Unfortunately, this is now Oculus’s biggest threat: game developers who feel like Oculus is now tainted – simply by association with the Facebook brand. Less support from indie game developers translates to fewer games, which translates to sadness. Personally, while I can understand their sentiments, I don’t think it’s a good enough reason to abandon working on this awesome piece of technology.
Founder Palmer Luckey even promised to outraged Redditors that Facebook will maintain a hands-off approach, and that Oculus now has unlimited resources and opportunities to perfect their product. Oculus now has money! They can now upgrade the product’s performance, downgrade its cost, make it less ugly, etc. All good things.
Maybe we need to stop being butthurt and accept that Oculus has made a wise financial decision, and that development can now progress at a much faster pace.
And maybe Facebook can reimburse the thousands of Kickstarter donations, and we can all be friends.
~ Jenny Yang