Even a quick perusal of the comments in our Facebook buys Oculus VR post will tell you that gamers are none to happy with the sale. Many see the union of Facebook and Oculus as a huge disappointment, and that it will ultimately ruin the viability of what was once a really intriguing peripheral in the Oculus Rift.
However, gamer displeasure typically only goes so far, and is usually regulated to comment sections and Twitter replies. But in Oculus’ case, the vehement backlash has extended well beyond the impersonal realm and into the very personal one.
According to Oculus Co-Founder Palmer Luckey, the negative comments from gamers prior to the Facebook news were not wholly unexpected, if a bit harsh. Given how people tend to react in such a kneejerk way to almost any news, even the kind that ultimately turns out to be a good thing, Luckey figured that gamers would voice their displeasure as loudly as possible. What he didn’t expect, however, was that his team and his team’s family members would have to suffer verbal abuse and death threats.
“We expected a [knee-jerk reaction] from people who don’t have all the information we do, and will not have it for some time. 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 shit is unwarranted, especially since it is impacting people who have nothing to do with Oculus.”
While we’re sad to say that this isn’t the first time that someone in the games industry has had to face death threats – a similar thing happened when Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen announced he was taking down his game – it’s no less troubling. It’s understandable that gamers would be disappointed by the news – even some developers have changed their opinion of the Oculus Rift since the announcement – but taking things to a personal level is never okay. Luckey thinks things will settle down after the “warm and fuzzy feelings” have subsided, but, at the end of the day, these are still human beings we are talking about, and human beings deserve a certain level of respect and privacy.
For that matter, the Oculus VR team has yet to show that the sale to Facebook was actually a “bad” thing. On the contrary, they’ve actually taken great strides to explain how the acquisition will actually benefit the Oculus Rift in the long run, both for their company and for gamers.
Still, there are some unseemly individuals out there, and there likely always will be. We’d rather wait till there’s a clearer picture of Oculus’ future before passing any judgment, though.
Do you think that these gamers have crossed a line? How far would you go to express your disappointment over a design or business decision?