Facebook is buying Oculus for $2 billion and I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. I was hoping that VR tech would make it into the hands of developers and consumers before being snatched up by the tech giants. I was imagining the possibilities of having FOSS based social development around VR that could bring in more innovation and creativity without the interference of the existing giants. Imagine IRC with VR chatrooms created, hosted and moderated by individuals or tribes. When combined with PrioVR we could have some seriously fun and interesting worlds to explore. What if Facebook decides to lock down the device so that it can only be used for social purposes through some kind of Facebook API? That would make them the gatekeepers to our virtual reality. Will those that do not want a facebook account be locked out of the VR experience as well?
If I was a backer of the Oculus Rift Kickstarter I’m not sure how I’d feel about the the company I backed selling out before they’ve even shipped the product I sponsored. When you sponsor a project on Kickstarter you are also buying into the vision of the creators and I think I would feel ripped off if that vision get absorbed by a larger corporate story before I even get my hands on the device. On the other hand I feel that I can trust John Carmack and Michael Abrash and if they think Oculus is still worth supporting then that makes me feel slightly less concerned. Let’s just hope some competitors arrive in this market to keep it more open and transparent. If someone wants to start a FOSS VR headset on Kickstarter I’d gladly be a backer!
You can read more here:
I’d especially recommend Peter Berkman’s tumbr post, Wrong and Right Reasons To Be Upset About Oculus, not just because of the article itself but because John Carmack personally responded to it in the comments.