Oh yes my friends, the internet is still exploding. The buyout of Oculus VR by Facebook has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. We have seen game designers insult each other, stock prices fall, businesses on both ends running damage control, and the fires of rage continue to burn. What has happened in this gigantic messed up tangle that is the Oculus Rift, social networking and the future of AR? Well we have an update for you, and it all starts with death threats.
Yes you heard right… death threats. It wasn’t enough that Oculus Rift backers have asked for refunds, and that the Facebook stock has plunged sine the buyout happened. Apparently some people think that the only rightful course of action here is punishment by death. Overreaction much?
Oculus VR president Nate Mitchell commented on the negative response to the deal in Game Informer saying that they assumed the reaction would be negative, but they didn’t expect the reaction to be so negative outside the core community. However, negative doesn’t even begin to cover it. Upset fans have gone as far as to get the personal info of Oculus VR employees in order to begin harassing them at home.
Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey mentioned this on Reddit saying, "We expected a negative reaction from people in the short term, we did not expect to be getting so many death threats and harassing phone calls that extended to our families. We know we will prove ourselves with actions and not words, but that kind of sh** is unwarranted, especially since it is impacting people who have nothing to do with Oculus."
Meanwhile, in non-death-threat-land, the Oculus VR team continues to forge forward. They have recently hired on VR developer Michael Abrash as the company’s new Chief Scientist. Abrash used to work at Valve’s VR department and will be working to help the Oculus Rift go mainstream. In his opinion, Facebook’s added support will help the Oculus VR do just that.
"We're on the cusp of what I think is not The Next Big Platform, but rather simply The Final Platform--the platform to end all platforms--and the path here has been so improbable that I can only shake my head," he said. "Facebook's acquisition of Oculus means that VR is going to happen in all its glory. The resources and long-term commitment that Facebook brings gives Oculus the runway it needs to solve the hard problems of VR--and some of them are hard indeed. I now fully expect to spend the rest of my career pushing VR as far ahead as I can."
Finally, John Carmack, creator of Doom and Chief Technology Officer at Oculus VR, says that the pairing of the Oculus Rift with another company is inevitable, specifically because VR is so polarizing. He says this technology “creates converts on contact” and that “the fairly rapid involvement of the Titans was inevitable.” He just didn’t think that it was going to be Facebook that bought the company, nor that it would have been this fast. That being said, he says that this is basically what fans want to see, a serious investment by a bigger company in the future of VR. He says that he believes Facebook, for all it’s faults, sees the “big picture.”
Senior Contributing Writer