Facebook’s Oculus Buyout – More Developers React
Last week VRFocus asked 6 developers what they made of the news that social network giant Facebook would be purchasing Oculus Rift makers Oculus VR for $2 billion USD. While the general response seemed to be positive, each one raised unique and interesting insights into the deal. They were so interesting, in fact, that this week we’ve decided to do it again.
A total of 5 more software and hardware developers have chimed in on the news, which was recently labelled as the biggest deal ‘in VR history’ by an American tech expert. Again, the response is mainly positive, although many have fascinating reservations and notes to make.
Jake Slack, developer of the intriguing VR experience Private Eye, admits that he wanted to see where Oculus would go as an indie. “As much as I would have liked to see the Oculus team succeed independently, I think that if the new injection of money helps get the best product out there, and brings more money in for devs like me, that’s got to be a good thing,” he said. “I only hope that they keep the indie spirit alive by continuing to support us little fish. It’s certainly reassuring that the guys who have taken this product so far will still be steering the ship. Hopefully we’ll see a hands-off approach from Facebook and there will be none of that ‘connect to Facebook to play this game’!
That ‘hands-off’ optimism was shared by Ed Mason, founder and CEO of GameFace Labs, the company behind the GameFace wireless VR headset. “Facebook’s track record in acquisitions shows that they are more than happy to let newly-acquired companies work with autonomy – something that is essential for the growth of Oculus VR – but it still remains to be seen what Facebook’s focus will be once our virtual futures materialize,” Mason noted.
Other developers such as Alexandre Leboucher of Epic Dragon developer Agharta Studios admitted that the idea of Facebook ownership had grown on them, stating that it could help bring more titles to VR. He noted that Oculus will now “be able to fund the most interesting projects, and make sure dev teams will be ready for launch, they will also be able to create a good evangelist team in order to bring VR technologies and knowledge to AAA studio very soon in their productions.
“With the arrival of Sony in the VR market and the Facebook acquisition, it brings a lot of credibility to VR in general and that’s obviously a good thing.”
Leboucher wasn’t the only one that picked up on Sony and Facebook getting involved with VR at the same time. “Facebook and Sony getting in the virtual reality arena is a clear indication that this is the right time to jump on this newborn market,” Untold Games’ Flavio Parenti said, noting that the studios recent successes with the upcoming Loading Human at the Game Connection America awards proved that interest in VR was growing.
“The more competition this market will face, the better the games and the experience for the end user will be.”
It was VR company i’m in VR’s Sebastian Kuntz that made some bold reassurances. “Palmer has a vision and would not have sold if he didn’t have serious guarantees that he could achieve it,” he explained. “He only has one chance. Even if the deal goes bad (which I doubt), all I know is it’s a great sign for VR in general.
“Between this deal, Sony’s commitment and probably others coming soon, it shows that VR is now a major new medium.
“We are still at the prehistory, and this week was the Big Bang!”
It’s been a week since news of the acquisition first broke. Have your thoughts on the deal changed at all in the last 7 days? VRFocus will continue to follow news surrounding the deal and bring it all your way.