Oculus Founders Talk Facebook Acquisition; Gaming Still Primary Focus

Mar 28, 2014 by  

Oculur Founder Dies

In just a short amount of time gamers’ enthusiasm for the Oculus Rift VR headset went from sky high to an all-time low, and it only took one word to spur on the change: Facebook. Shortly after word broke that Facebook had acquired Oculus VR, the company responsible for the Rift headset, gamers’ enthusiasm for the device soon turned to disappointment.

However, in the face of all that negative press, the Oculus team remains confident that the sale to Facebook was a positive step towards the company’s long-term growth. They believe that, with Facebook as their financial backer, new doors will open, and gamers will reap the ultimate benefits.

It starts first with price. As Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe explains, with a huge company like Facebook supporting them, the team can now order Oculus Rift components in larger quantities, which will help keep costs as low. They also believe that Facebook will help the Oculus team establish themselves as a major player, which would seemingly help build relationships with hardware manufacturers. More importantly, though, these two changes will help keep prices for the retail version of the Rift headset as low as possible.

Keeping prices low is a good step towards winning gamers back, but there were also concerns that the device might soon start to turn its back on gaming, especially after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg touted the Oculus Rift’s utility when it comes to making daily tasks easier. But Oculus Co-Founder Palmer Luckey wants concerned fans to know that the Oculus Rift is still a gaming-focused device:

“If anything [the sale] makes us more of a gaming company. We’re going to be working on different things, but we’re going to be putting a huge number of people in gaming that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. We’re going to be able to do a lot more in gaming with this partnership. The idea that we’re going to move resources out of gaming to somewhere else is just not going to happen,”

Regardless of claims that the sale to Facebook will improve Oculus’ standing among hardware manufacturers and as a gaming peripheral, the growing resentment from gamers is hard to avoid. In fact, many are turning to Sony’s Project Morpheus as the new hope for VR, even if that device is only geared towards the PS4 platform.

Oculus Rift

Even so, Palmer Luckey doesn’t bear any ill will towards Project Morpheus. Rather, he believes that Sony‘s foray into the VR market will inevitably be a good thing. If a major player like that can validate the viability of virtual reality, then, he believes, that will help increase its profile as a whole. Even the sale to Facebook likely helped more people take notice.

“I think it’s a good thing for virtual reality when more people come into the market. Especially a big player. It shows that VR really is something that is gonna have traction. Project Morpheus is gonna have a lot of people behind it — as opposed to just some crazy thing that nobody cares about,”

Only time will tell how Facebook‘s acquisition of Oculus VR will affect the company, but right now the folks behind the Rift are optimistic the sale will ultimately be a good thing. Gamers? Well, there not entirely sold, but they will surely come around if Oculus sticks to the goals they’ve outlined thus far.

Do you think that Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus will inevitably be a good thing? Which VR headset are you more intrigued by at this point?

-

Source: Polygon, Venture Beat

8 Comments

Post a Comment

  1. Does Rift even realise that FB can pretty much determine everything about the Occulus now? They can force Rift to focus on every application but gaming, they can change things as they want to and they ain’t planning on just using it for gaming purposes. They’ll want to spread it to all the FB users if able.

    It’s true that they’ll be able to do more with more funding, but they don’t realised FB has control and can exert it as much as they want to. It’s almost like selling your soul to the devil.

    • That’s true. It’s no different than when game developers get a publisher. It nets a LOT more funding but the publisher then calls the shots and it always results in undesirable results such as DRM, rushed deadlines, and lack of creativity to appeal to the masses and guarantee sales. Facebook is essentially taking the publisher role with Oculus. Let us hope they don’t start tampering with the project and ruining it. I don’t trust a large corporation that aren’t really related to gaming funding a project FOR GAMERS.

      • noooooooo, i don’t wanna see a FACEBOOK GAMES PUBLISHING on any game case or console…

    • Yes. Palmer may want to hire 20 people to develop, say, VR Elder Scrolls in conjunction with Bethesda. He’ll say, “Whaddaya think, boss?” and Zuckerberg will say, “I don’t know, that sounds expensive and risky. Why don’t you just take the staff you already have and look into making a VR version of this Flappy Bird game I keep hearing about. You can nod your head to move the bird up & down. It’ll be great!”

      • real talk, you think Mark would do that? The guy is a nerd. He just happens to be the most successful nerd. I bet the guy would totally dig it seeing all these triple-A games on Oculus. I don’t think he’ll mess it up. I think it’ll be a little more official, if anything.

        The guy clearly knows how business works, as well as marketing. If anything, this is a good move. Since Oculus still plans on being straight up gaming, I’m sure we’ll see that Facebook backing it will push them slightly into a bigger market (which means they’ll have to accommodate) but otherwise will still remain solely gaming oriented.

        • I am sorry, but it seems you are fooling yourself. The Oculus may start off as a gaming only oriented, but that will change as soon as people start getting it. Mark seems like a schemer to me. Just waiting to put on all his fun social ideas.

  2. Correct me if i’m wrong but, aren’t financial backers and owners different? because i would call the crowdfunders financial backers and Facebook the new owners of the peripheral. I dont see how this can be good for the growth of the company when the company is now owned by facebook… it’s pretty hard to grow when what you wanna do might contradict the massive conglomerate known as facebook.

    How can gaming remain the primary focus when facebook is not a gaming company? The OR team won’t get any of the recognition now as it is a FACEBOOK company.

    no matter how you look at this the OR company sold out in a really bad way. FB is not good for the company they’re just flaunting their power by throwing an ungodly amount of money at a small company when they could just as easily design and make one of their own and for probably cheaper. this wasn’t a money making move for FB it was a “look how much power i have” move….. go project morpheus

  3. I don’t believe for a second that facebook has any interest for gamers or VR enthusiasts in mind. It’s not just about having more money to throw at it, you also have to keep the spirit intact. If it were bought by Valve or (I can’t believe I’m saying this) even EA or Activision, I’d AT LEAST feel like “Yeah that makes sense, big game publishers putting weight behind it to get a competitive edge in the coming VR war”. I may not have been happy with that (with the exception of Valve), but at least I would understand it, it fits within those companies agendas. Facebook just feels like “I don’t know what this is, but people are talking about it, so I’m buying it before someone else does”.

    Yes, it will get more exposure now, but it’ll get exposure to facebook users… People who invite me to play Candy Crush and Farmville, and boast that only people in their generation will remember playing Mario. These people are now the target demographic for the Oculus Rift.

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.