Everyone on the internet is posting news that Facebook announced its acquisition of crowdfunded virtual reality development company Oculus Rift.
The deal is worth $2 billion dollars, with $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in Facebook stock. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that he believes that VR will be the platform of tomorrow in the same way that mobile is current hot platform.
Facebook’s less than stellar reputation on privacy and monetization is making gamers very nervous, particularly after Zuckerberg said on a call with investors “if we can make this a network where people are communicating, and buying virtual goods, and there might be ads down the line…that’s where the business could come from.”
Early adopters are not pleased with the deal. Reddit’s /r/oculus is awash in complaints and dire predictions about the deal. Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson, an early Oculus backer, stated that he had been approached by the Oculus Rift development team to make a version of Minecraft for the Rift, but is backing out because working with Facebook makes him feel creeped out.
The Facebook deal may also affect other Kickstarter campaigns, as people get jaded about providing seed money to companies only to watch them get acquired and reap none of the benefits. This may be unfortunate as not all Kickstarters are about coming up with a big payday.
Other developers are working on VR technology, so Oculusbook won’t have a monopoly on the experience. Perhaps this deal will drive them to market faster than originally planned based on the negative reaction to Facebook’s move.