Oculus backlash: Why early supporters are angry over the Facebook purchase
Show attendees play a video game wearing Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets at the Intel booth at the International Consumer Electronics Show(CES), in Las Vegas on Jan. 7, 2014. (AP / Jae C. Hong)
Published Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:48AM EDT
Facebook’s latest multi-billion-dollar acquisition of a virtual reality company is causing plenty of backlash, as early adapters of the ground-breaking technology vow to pull their support of the product.
Facebook announced on Tuesday it had bought Oculus VR for $400 million cash and 23.1 million Facebook shares, plus another $300 million in potential bonuses. Oculus created Oculus Rift, a leading-edge virtual reality headset for gaming.
The deal is worth approximately $2 billion.
“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement released Tuesday. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”
Oculus owes a lot of its success to a Kickstarter campaign that in 2012 set out to raise $250,000, but ended up raising more than $2.4 million from about 9,500 backers interested in the Oculus Rift.
More than 75,000 orders for development kits for the headset have been received, but a number of Kickstarter backers have been demanding their money back after the announcement of the Facebook acquisition.
Angry gamers turned to popular referral site Reddit to discuss how to cancel pre-orders from Oculus.
Former Oculus supporters said they were worried about Facebook collecting their user data and introducing advertisements in the games.
Markus Persson, the creator of the massively successful Minecraft game, announced he was cancelling an Oculus Rift version of the game following the Facebook announcement.
"I just cancelled that deal," Persson tweeted. "Facebook creeps me out."
We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.— Markus Persson (@notch) March 25, 2014
On his blog, Persson wrote that Facebook has a history of “caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers.”
He said Facebook's constantly changing platform has proved a challenge for game developers.
In a post on Reddit, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey said the Facebook deal made sense, as it will allow virtual reality to go mainstream and impact not only the gaming industry, but a number of other industries as well.