News of Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, is not being greeted as good news by gamers or developers. Also Read - WhatsApp Multi-device support confirmed, public beta rollout begins in two months: Mark Zuckerberg
Following the announcement of the $2 billion deal on Tuesday, fans of and developers for the virtual reality headset took to the company’s site to post increasingly negative comments. A number of developers have threatened to cancel their orders for the next generation of Oculus Rift, while a number of others in the gaming community have been highlighting concerns that Facebook’s focus on advertising could mean that their data is mined while gaming.
But as well as anonymous comments posted under Oculus’s official announcement, some very well-known and influential figures in the gaming world have expressed their dismay at the acquisition. None more so than Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft, who took to Twitter to say “We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.”
The open-world immersive 3D game would have been a perfect fit for the virtual reality headset. And thanks to the acquisition, though Facebook claims the company will be left alone to continue developing its products, some fear that a consumer-ready Oculus Rift (it is still in the development stage) might take longer to come to fruition, especially if developers are threatening to walk away from it — without games, apps and other features, its appeal will be limited.
However, John Carmack, the equally high-profile developer behind “EVE: Valkyrie,” the game that Oculus itself sees as the Rift’s eventual killer app, has confirmed, also via Twitter, that the deal changes nothing for him. “For the record, I am coding right now, just like I was last week. I expect the FB deal will avoid several embarrassing scaling [crises] for VR.”
Some other indie games developers have also welcomed the news as a massive financial investment is what virtual reality needs to go from sci-fi to retail.
Facebook sees Oculus and its products as something more than an immersive gaming experience. “After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home. This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures,” said the company’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
And while that is potentially the future not just of social media, but of all digital platforms, it will be the early adopting gaming community that will help create the initial foundation upon which future uses are built.
And, if the once Oculus faithful go through with their threats, there’s every chance that they will head over to Sony. The company is enjoying somewhat of a resurgence in the gaming community at the moment thanks to the PlayStation 4 and, during this month’s Game Developers Conference, revealed Project Morpheus, its Oculus Rift VR headset rival. And there’s a version of Minecraft for it in the pipeline.