Ocubook Facerift

Or, watching the neckbeards collectively shit a house.

Last week, the tech world was upended as Mark Zuckerberg announced that he had purchased Oculus Rift for $2Bn in company stock and cash.  Pretty much every neckbeard on the internet (myself included) reacted via knee-jerk, talking about how Oculus was dead now, how the product was going to be covered in like and share buttons, and how the upcoming CV1 Rift would be saddled with Facebook login limitations, etc.

Unlike a lot of the internet, I went to bed that night and woke up the following day with an entirely different take on it.  My viewpoint on the matter isn’t extremely unique, nor is this article going to shed any additional light onto the topic, so I’ll be brief:

  1. $2.4M was never enough to get the CV1 hardware out the door.  If you’re one of the people involved in the intial kickstarter, thank you for proving the viability of the market — but you’re deluded if you ever thought that $2.4M was going to be enough to produce quality hardware at an affordable price.  Also, those of you who somehow think that kickstarting earned you equity in the company, you’re fucking idiots.  You were promised a DK1, you got it, that was it.  You are not a partner in the company because you gave them $350.  Just shut up with that nonsense.
  2. If you think Oculus taking money was selling out, then at least get your facts straight — by that logic, they sold out last year when they took the $90M in venture capital.  You remember last year, when you were all grassroots VR’ing all over the place and everyone was up in arms over the $90M of VC, right?  Wait…  No, you don’t, because it didn’t happen, because you’re not upset with this based on principle, you’re upset with this because of the word Facebook.
  3. VR is not a cheap thing.  It is not cheap to get the hardware working.  It is not cheap to get the right types of displays.  Until the Facebook acquisition, the Oculus Rift was a hodgepodge of cell phone parts craftily duct taped together to form a rudimentary VR device.  The acquisition by Facebook gives Oculus the capital required to custom manufacture new equipment (e.g., low persistence, low latency displays outside of standard cell phone pixel count or aspect ratio as one example) which will ultimately cause the production versions of the product to be notably better than they could have been if they were still built on hand me down hardware.
  4. Every single person involved has claimed that the specifics of the deal clearly indicate that Oculus maintains full control over the Oculus hardware and CV1, and that Facebook will be acting as an almost angel investor — seeding money into the project, knowing that the first launch will not be profitable, and accepting of that fact.  Yes, it’s true, companies will PR all over things like this and say these sorts of things when their userbase is shocked by news of this type — but I don’t think they’re blowing smoke here.  Facebook knows that if they want to tap into that sweet, sweet advertising revenue and gather all of those great use metrics about you using their product, you actually have to OWN the product first.  So, their comment that they were leaving the hardware alone and focusing on software does not seem to fall flat for me.

Anyways, my DK2 is on pre-order, so if you still think Facebook is “TEH GREAT EVIL OF OUR TIM3!!111!!111oneoneone!!!eleventyone”, don’t order one (or cancel your pre-order so mine ships sooner), and we will all have a good laugh when the CV1 comes out and Palmer and the Oculus team are proven to be telling the truth.