Last week, I wrote about the new Oculus Rift development kit that was released. Well, this past week, Facebook announced that they acquired Oculus VR, the company created from a Kickstarter and the maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. This news brought more negative than positive comments across the tech community.
The day the news broke, a post about how to cancel your Oculus Rift pre-order was on the front page of Reddit. Minecraft creator Notch took to Twitter to say that he “cancelled that deal” (in reference to Minecraft becoming Oculus Rift compatible) because “Facebook creeps me out.” People who contributed $25 to the original Kickstarter, are angered by the deal and claim that Facebook owes them $40,000. Twitter was full of negative things to say about the acquisition. This YouTube video was created (warning: a tad bit of expletive language)-
However, not all reactions to the news were so negative. Chris Taylor of Mashable writes a great article on why the acquisition by Facebook is a positive for Oculus VR. He explains how Facebook isn’t going to ruin the Oculus Rift. Why would Facebook want a reputation of taking companies and forcing them to do what Facebook wants, and going back on their word of keeping the acquired companies independent? Look at Instagram. It’s a huge social media service that I forget is even owned by Facebook. Kevin Systrom, the creator of Instagram, is still very much in charge. Facebook has also not touched any user data from the recently acquired WhatsApp, even though many worried about that happening. Facebook has built a history of funding startup companies and letting them run themselves independently.
Also, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey answered many people on Reddit about the acquisition. He wrote, “I am not going to close off, I am 100% certain that most people will see why this is good in the long term. Any change at Oculus will be for the better.” He then listed three reasons why-
“1) We can make custom hardware, not rely on the scraps of the mobile phone industry. That is insanely expensive, think hundreds of millions of dollars. More news soon.
2) We can afford to hire everyone we need, the best people that fit into our culture of excellence in all aspects.
3) We can make huge investments in content. More news soon.”
So, what are your thoughts on Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR? Do you think that Facebook will ruin the Oculus Rift, or help the Oculus Rift become what it aimed to be pre-acquisition? I personally think that this is great for Oculus, because they now have much more funding to create a better, and hopefully consumer ready VR headset. Also, Facebook has a good track record of purchasing companies and letting them continue to run themselves. But, time will tell as to how the Oculus Rift turns out.