Facebook has acquired Occulus VR, the creators of virtual reality headset Occulus Rift, for a reported $2 billion (£1.2 billion).
Occulus VR had a swell of consumer support, managing to raise $2.4 million (£1.45 million) on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter in 2012, with their wearable headset touted by many as the next big innovation coming to gaming.
The money and resources that will come with the Facebook acquisition has excited some as to the direction that the platform will take, but others, including Minecraft developer Markus Persson, dread Facebook’s ideas for the virtual reality platform.
Persson was developing a version of the popular Minecraft game designed specifically for use with the Occulus Rift, but cancelled those plans after the details of the Facebook acquisition, describing Facebook’s data mining as “creepy”, and not something he wants to be a part of.
We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.
— Markus Persson (@notch) March 25, 2014
Others seemingly disgruntled by the acquisition are the Kickstarter backers who put up some of the early funding for the company when they placed their pre-orders in 2012, but they will see no part of the $2 billion deal as they are treated as just consumers rather than investors.
On the Occulus Rift’s Kickstarter page, Sergey Chubukov said:
You selling out to Facebook is a disgrace. It damages not only your reputation, but the whole of crowdfunding. I cannot put into words how betrayed I feel by this.
Facebook could leave Occulus VR to their own devices, as they have with Instagram and WhatsApp, but in all likelihood Facebook is looking to make a technology platform play with the Occulus Rift, and create a new virtual reality digital space where it can dominate. Reports are already surfacing about rebranding the Occulus Rift and its software platform under the Facebook banner.