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.
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?