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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Oculus VR Acquisition the Day After

As last night's post undoubtedly showed, I don't like Facebook's Zuckerberg or his "vision" and I think Facebook has lost its edge. It's not a service I associate with the third decade of the 21st century. As one commenter pointed out, yes, you can "like" my posts on Facebook as they are cross-posted there. But hardly anyone ever does. Most of my family, friends and associates there are not gamers nor do they really understand gamer culture. But last night's post was a gut reaction, after I'd spent the evening drinking beer with my favourite KSP-playing bartender down at the local brewery. The fact is it was a mostly drunk post and I didn't count to ten before ranting.

And while I'm on that subject on not counting to ten, I apologize CCP Karuck. My comment was too harsh. You no doubt knew more about the topic than I did last night. I am still not convinced this will be good for VR in the mid to long term, but I admit it will probably give the hardware a healthy injection of development capital. In the short term, that is a positive. In a year we will know if that carries into the future. But for now, thanks for being a cool dude.

For those who are, like me, coming off their post announcement rantosterone, there is a whole lot of good stuff over on the Oculus sub-reddit concerning the acquisition. Palmer Luckey and other's go to great lengths to talk everyone down. JD-Dragon put together a great Imgur of Palmer's responses. I found myself nodding to many of the sentiments expressed there. As to my feelings on the subject 18 hours later, I think this post by sooperskip sums up my current state of mind quite nicely,

I've read every single post ok the last day on this subreddit. I've learned all I can about the deal. Most importantly I've slept on it.

Here's where I'm at: My initial reaction was the same as many here; shock and betrayal. Having had time to think about it I find it is not nearly as dire as I had initially perceived it to be. At the end of the day Oculus now has capital backing like they couldn't have possibly dreamed of. This means exciting potential for the CK1. This means manufacturing dream panels and foveated rendering. This means the capacity exists to research and develop input devices that we unimaginable two weeks ago. More than anything though this means one gigantic accomplishment; it insures VR is actually here and will become the world changer we hoped would be. It legitimizes an entire industry. It does what none of us homespun evangelists have tried so desperately to do... It shows the public that VR is a viable vision for the near future and beyond and it puts it on EVERYONE'S doorstep. I will stand fast with my hope that Palmer, Nate and John will have the autonomy to still fashion their dream for the ecosystem... for the 'Metaverse.' I will believe that they still have control of the path that Oculus takes as they suggest. Even if they do not, even if Facebook fucks it all up, it will be too late. VR will have already become adopted by the masses. Other players will come into play and we will have choices as to how we interface with virtual worlds. By the time the Rift evolves into a dreaded data mining and banner ad device, should that be the path, VR will have become as viable a commodity as the Internet which implies that there will be countless competitors with vastly different consumer relation strategies. Nonetheless all of this, the true adoption of VR, will have been made possible by yesterday's acquisition.

I don't know what the future holds for Oculus and the Rift, none of us do, but I am choosing to believe that there dream for the future is not dead but only co-opted by an entity with bottomless pockets thus more real than ever. I am choosing not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

So counter to what I said last night when I was less than firmly in control of my emotions, I will not be walking away from EVE: Valkyrie - so long as Zuckerberg stays in the background and keeps is thin-lipped mouth shut and his greasy fingers out of the proverbial pie; so long as he leaves Oculus Rift development firmly in the hands of Palmer Luckey and John Carmack, I'll go along for the ride. And I'll grudgingly accept it will make that puerile douche bag Zuckerberg even richer than he already is. One thing you can say about him, at least he's consistent. He got rich off Facebook and that was someone else's hard work too.


  1. Check out what the maker of Minecraft said.

  2. Rantosterone? Google couldn't find any prior art,
    Trademark that baby!

  3. Ideas are born. Like children the parent is the deciding factor in how that idea grows up. A nuturing commited parent will grow the idea into something great and powerful. If the idea is sold to a step parent... well at a minimum that idea will become the child of the step parent. The newly adopted idea can become greater than it would have been or it can become less than what it could have been and only time will tell. It has been my experience thought that most adopted for money ideas become much less than what they could have been just due to the unclear path the step parent brings to the adopted idea but more often than not because the step parent does not have the singular devotation to the birth idea that the origin parent had and the willingness to drive that idea into the spectacular potential that was originally envisioned in the beginning. Occulus Rift will become something under its new step parent but I suspect it will be much watered down and geared toward making the almighty dollar for its new parents vice what it was dreamt into being.


  4. My problem with it is that all social media sites are built essentially from advertising dollars and the monetizing of the social networks they build. This usually means that whatever products they come up with are usually leveraged as far as they can go towards maximizing ad revenue and I don't think that's a good model for high quality video gaming, especially considering that the only experience with games Facebook has is the Zygna model.

    The development capital is great but it also imposes a cost. The more money invested the greater the pressure to see immediate returns. This isn't a disaster for them but it's not an option entirely free of it's own costs and problems. Some people have the idea that throwing a bunch of cash at a problem can make things better. Extra investment properly utilized can be beneficial but not if it changes the focus.


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