This piece was originally appeared on Screenrobot.com which you can find here
A full year after his death Micheal Winner is still the most calming man in Britain
We gamers are a polarised bunch. Having grown used to the anonymity of the internet, it’s easy to instantly judge something as the best or the worst without fear of backlash. There has been a predominantly negative and hugely emotional response from the gaming community surrounding the acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook. Whilst understandable, the issues appear to be based around two key facets: the first being that Facebook is an evil, evil corporate giant that makes money selling personal information, and the second being that VR will no longer be a future gaming platform due to Facebook’s meddling. Let’s all take a step back and look at five reasons you really shouldn’t be as annoyed as you are.
#1 Facebook has resources
The true inventor of the Oculus Rift: Benjamin Franklin – Image: Wikimedia Commons
Facebook generates several billion dollars of revenue a year. Granted, the Oculus Kickstarter made 10 times more than it needed to fund the project, but that still pales in comparison to what boons Facebook can grant the device.
The sheer power of capital means that the Oculus Rift team can buy the best staff and the best tech, so logically this would suggest that the Rift will either ship to retail faster or be a better product overall. At this years Mobile World Congress Zuckerberg was asked about Facebook’s recent acquisition of WhatsApp, he responded:
“If they [WhatsApp] did this as an independent company they would have had to focus on how to build the company out, to scale it, but now they can focus on how to connect the one to two billion people.”
Zuckerberg understands that Facebook has the ability to nurture new and upcoming tech companies and that Facebook has the ability to share it’s wealth to improve a product overall.
#2 John “I invented Doom” Carmack
Slavery in American is to music what John Carmack is to video games – Image: Wikipedia Commons
John Carmack, the chief technical officer of Oculus Rift, is one of the most influential people in gaming. He helped develop Wolfenstein 3D – the first ‘true’ FPS, Doom – the first time ‘deathmatch’ as a term was used, and Quake – the first FPS with online multiplayer. The game engine that Carmack helped develop for Quake was used to make the Half-Life and the original Call of Duty. John Carmack is directly responsible for what we know as the First-Person-Shooter today.
Carmack understands games – the fact that he quit id Software (which he co-founded) to focus solely on the Oculus Rift, and the fact that Facebook are keeping him as Chief Technical Officer for the Rift should fill you with confidence. Carmack even addressed the issue on Twitter saying:
#3 A true second life (without the flying dicks)
No thanks mate, last time I did pills I thought I was leading the human uprising against the machine overlords – Image: Paul Dineen via Flickr
Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement: “This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”
Unbounded spaces? Entire experiences and adventures? Imagine ‘Facebook: The Game’ where profiles were not pages but actual structures to explore with a TV playing a video you uploaded/posted or your favourite Spotify playlist coming through virtual speakers.
We’re not talking the Matrix yet but in terms of actual Virtual Reality Facebook is arguably as close to the Rift in terms of “player immersion”. The Rift brings the tech and Facebook brings the data and player base.
#4 It’s not just about games anymore
Oculus Rift has allowed the Navy’s “Giant Hand” weapon to be launched, coming to War Zones near you – Image: Navy Page via Flickr
Facebook’s acquisition of the Rift has given the technology a huge publicity boost and the platform to promote VR to a wider audience. This means that we could see other practical applications for the hardware in the near future. Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post: “After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face.”
Zuckerberg clearly has big plans for the Rift that go far beyond gaming. His statement suggests that he sees the Rift as a new way for humans to communicate, interact and consume media.
#5 The keyboard warriors come out to play
Marcus “Notch” Persson has never overreacted about anything EVER – Image: Daniel Jurena via Flickr
The immediate and sudden vitriol spewing from keyboards and onto screens is amazing. Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift has turned the Rift into a pariah in the gaming community. Most notably is Marcus Pearson, of Minecraft fame, pulling out from developing Minecraft for the rift because: “Facebook creeps [him] out”.
Here are some facts:
- The deal just happened
- No one can predict the future
Similarly Facebook’s track record of giving autonomy to companies it buys is solid. Despite being an industry behemoth and having some controversial opinions on privacy, Facebook is still a new company and appears to understand that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Zuckerberg said: “Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate”. Similarly Palmer Luckey (Co-founder of Oculus Rift Inc.) said: “Very little changes day-to-day at Oculus, although we’ll have substantially more resources to build the right team.”
Look at Facebook’s involvement with WhatsApp and Instagram. WhatsApp and Instagram have stayed autonomous but with the addition of more man power and financial resources.
Just take a step back and have a think about the situation before rushing to judge. And when all is said and done I’ll come find you in your virtual home, stare into your virtual face, smile and say: “See? I told you it’d all be OK.”