Oculus VR Devs Receive Death Threats After Facebook Sale

Published 6 months ago by

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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?

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Source: Reddit (via Polygon)

TAGS: Facebook, Oculus, Oculus Rift

7 Comments

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  1. It already has proven to be a ‘bad’ thing in the shape of cancellation of the official Minecraft Oculus support. For me the pairing of the ultimate virtual world game with the first true VR headset was a match made in heaven. While EV is looking amazing and I am sure there will be many more amazing original projects, its only a matter of time before more developers retract from being digested by Facebook.

    That being said this level of abuse is not acceptable under and circumstances.

    • Didn’t Notch mention in his blog post that it wasn’t going to have been a port, but a stripped-down freebie? I’d take a mod over that any day of the week. Good thing there happens to be a mod.

    • I believe Notch never intended to make Minecraft Oculus Rift compatible. It’s just how he is, he does it all the time. Just like the Mod API he’s promised for I don’t even know how many years now. Or the fact that he never even started on Oculus Rift support despite the developer’s kit being out for a while now. Or the uncountable number of unfixed bugs that have plagued Minecraft since it’s creation. Or the failure to optimize the game, which runs so poorly that you need a high-medium end computer to run it decently. “We’ll do this for to make the game better, and we’ll also do this, don’t forget this as well!”. It’s easy to talk. I love Minecraft, and I don’t hate Notch, but I don’t trust anything that he says either, and so I wouldn’t view his “cancellation” of Oculus Rift support as something that was caused by the purchase of OR by Facebook.

  2. Some people are massive bell ends….

  3. Okay, I can understand all the negative comments and backlash about FB buying Oculus VR, but to go so far as to send death threats? Seriously? Is this what society will come to?

    • society is a very broad statement when very few individuals actually did this.. yes there are bad people. they don’t make up all of ‘society’

  4. yeah i dont think many (of any kind) of game devs will want to work with a corp as big as facebook. Companies exist to make money. i dont have the numbers but i would guess it’s fair to assume that FB does NOT make their billions from games or gaming peripherals. Mark said himself that he can see a better world with oculus and gaming was no where near the top of that list. It isn’t hard to see that this won’t be a good thing :P

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