For $2 billion Facebook bought Oculus VR, the company that is developing the Oculus virtual reality headset. Haters are gonna hate on Facebook and Oculus “selling out” after it was funded by a Kickstarter campaign to the tune of over $2 million. The Oculus Kickstarter page is full of people demanding their money back in response the Oculus’ sale. The internet is awash with rage. As usual.
Regardless of your feelings about Facebook, its users and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has made an investment that could reap them big rewards in the long term. They are using their money while they are still able to and backing a platform that could seriously leverage itself against Google Glasses in the future. Inevitably Facebook will try to integrate it into their social networking, that’s an expected outcome, but Google Glasses will do the same thing with its services. That’s like complaining when Apple tries to force iTunes on you when you’d rather use Windows Media Player.
Developers will likely spend the next days, weeks and months considering the viability of the Oculus platform with Facebook’s involvement, including how much money could Facebook provide to speed up the development process to much more widespread commercialisation and subsequent improvements. Developers and publishers will need to look to the business viability of the Oculus project, and dealing with the Facebook management when considering their involvement with the platform. If Facebook is shown to be a source of venture capital rather than directing the progress of the Oculus, it could encourage other companies to get their foot in the door to the view of an eventual buy out. The possibility exists that in the near future we could be looking at EA, Blizzard-Activision, or another mega gaming entity eyeballing Oculus and counting out their wallet contents.
To bring this reality to fruition, it needs a mix of indy developers producing Oculus content, strong market sales, and a few brave investments by bigger companies. Think about it, MySpace was only worth the acquisition attention of Rupert Murdoch when it became a major platform for celebrities.
Who knows what will happen, but until then, this seems a little bit ironic: