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Facebook acquires Oculus VR (facebook.com)
1449 points by nav on March 25, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 837 comments

Damn! I don't like this.

I had hoped they jump in bed with valve.

Yes, I just really dislike facebook, so I hate to see them aquiring something i was really excited about.

Also from the article:

> 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 -- just by putting on goggles in your home.

Nah, I'd rather not, thank you. I prefer to actually visit my doctor where facebook doesn't get all the data about it.

I am shattered right now. I was so happy for Oculus VR, I wanted it to become big, I wanted it to become something truly special.

And now this happens. I'm horrified and speechless.

This is the day I stop cheering for Oculus VR and get behind Sony's Morpheus: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/19/tech/gaming-gadgets/sony-morph...

Notch on this deal: "We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out." (https://twitter.com/notch/status/448586381565390848).

Oh God why did this have to happen

>I am shattered right now.

Oh come on -- this is just ridiculous. They (Oculus) now have many many more times the resources at their disposal than before to make countless imaginative projects.

I know i'll get down votes for saying this, but if Google was the buyer, there would be much more positive comments here. Use some rational analysis here, folks.

>"Oh come on -- this is just ridiculous. They (Oculus) now have many many more times the resources at their disposal than before to make countless imaginative projects."

Honest question, do you have anything to base this idea that of "many many more times the resources" on? Have any companies been acquired by FB and immediately gone about pushing the envelope in ways that don't strictly line up the existing business of FB?

I think the concern here is entirely justified.

The Rift is a breakthrough product made possible by people who believed enough to back it via Kickstarter. Once delivered the community set about creating a whole range of wild stuff and general made those creations freely available.

Nobody wants to see their creativity hindered by some new corporate developer standards or restricted to distribution through something that sits behind a Facebook login.

Personally, I want the Rift to let me walk on the surface of the sun not allow me the privilege of paying a Facbook/NBA partnership for artificially scarce virtual "courtside" seats to a game.

Instagram has been allowed to go at their own pace since they've been acquired. Parse, also, has essentially gone on it's own and created things at it's own pace. It seems they're having the same attitude with Whatsapp. I assume, especially with Carmack coming over, that FB will be extremely hands-off with the base technology behind the rift.

Facebook is an engineering company; in the way it's run and with what it pushes out to consumers. It's a flat organization essentially run by engineers I mean shit, the CEO built the original product. The Rift under Facebook, I guarantee you, will be the best VR product in the market in five years; which would be much faster than the decade and half it would've taken on their own. Speculation I know, but again with the way Facebook is run, it seems that this acquisition will only expedite the awesomeness-that-is-to-come.

Yes, but Instagram and Parse are services that fall within Facebook's major product area and have teams with related experience to Facebook's daily operations. Oculus is not a service, just a technology; one that has no relation (nor clear route to one) to any Facebook-held product.

> Oculus is not a service, just a technology; one that has no relation (nor clear route to one) to any Facebook-held product.

Exactly. This is what diversification is all about.

At it's core, Facebook is now a public technology company, which means that creating value for its shareholders is it's primary focus.

Buying something that looks like it might be a big deal before it becomes a big deal is doing that. Killing it before it has a chance to become big, especially since it has no "relation to any Facebook-held product" (thus it's not competing) is definitely not in their best interest.

I think most of us really wanted Oculus to be an insanely great technology, not Facebook's "diversification strategy".

exactly. FB has experience with stuffing LOLCat pics in your FB feed. Not innovative tech.

>FB has experience with stuffing LOLCat pics in your FB feed

Seriously? Are you really saying that it's FB's evil plan to stuff cat pictures in your pictures? And not the fualt of those with whom you connect on FB?

It's rather sad how so many people just think of FB as a "website" and not realize the truly innovative efforts they must go through to keep it running as such a massive scale. Not to mention, they built their own servers and pushed initiatives to help the whole industry set up proper infrastructures to achieve massive scale

It's also weird how many don't see the big white elephant in the room: People hate Facebook. For about 3-4 months now, whenever I talk to a non-techie and Facebook comes up _they_ start complaining and telling me how they're trying to get away from it. They even mention other services that are connected with Facebook (Instagram, What's App)!

Is this happening only here in Germany? I was definitely surprised to be back in "the mainstream".

There could be multiple interpretations:

1) People hate Facebook in the same way I hate cheesecake: Facebook does such a good job at hooking me in and spending so much time reading content that it's a delicious evil. I hate how cheesecake makes it so irresistible and would like to eat less of it, but that doesn't make cheesecake bad per se. =)

2) Not everyone does hate Facebook, it's just the Yelp effect: you're more likely to hear about how someone hating on something MUCH MORE than you are likely to hear about someone loving (hell, even just _liking_) a product/service/etc. My buddies and I connect on FB messenger all the time and find it convenient, but we're not going to rave about it on all comment boards, Reddit, etc.

(Sidebar: I find that it's more of the exception, rather than the rule, when the Yelp effect is broken. For example, Evernote made a killing off primarily word of mouth in its early development, and people rave about it everywhere.)

> People hate Facebook

This is complete and utter nonsense.

People would not be using the site if they did.

I haven't had a facebook account in some time, but when I did I hated it. I used it because there was this fear that I'd miss something, I'd be left out of some loop.Once I left, I realized that was nonsense, the people who mattered text, call, or email me.

My dad hates facebook, but he uses it because there's some family and friends on there that make him feel obligated to stick around.

Breaking away is easier than it seems at first, but there are plenty of people who dislike facebook who still use it.

> Are you really saying that it's FB's evil plan to stuff cat pictures in your pictures?

No, FB's needy plan is to act as middleman for stuff people are doing already. If Zuckerberg had his way, checking Facebook would be the first and the last thing everybody on the planet does after waking up and before going to bed. Why and what for they're checking does not even enter the picture, it's irrelevant, mere details. Facebook shares that disease with Google, Apple and Microsoft, and probably others as well.

> Not to mention, they built their own servers and pushed initiatives to help the whole industry set up proper infrastructures to achieve massive scale

AKA disrupting what's good about the web and replacing it with centralized silos. Who needs little shops in inner cities, not to mention public parks and wilderness... let's all just go to the mall, and stay there forever. Again, Facebook didn't start that particular fire, but it certainly loves to help keep it going.

I'm sure what Jack the Ripper did was technically challenging, too. And no, I'm not comparing Facebook with a murderer, at least not first and foremost: I'm saying that something is complicated doesn't automatically make it worthwhile or laudable. What someone is doing, and why they're doing it, matters as well.

They have done some really interesting stuff. BUT! It is still just a website. Of all the over 200 million top level domains, everyone goes nuts of 2 of them: Facebook and Twitter.

They are just websites. Are they the pinnacle of human achievement?

their intentions are held in as high regards as their technical decisions

Define "Not innovative tech"

Did he not just say, "stuffing lolcats into your feed?"

I'm not much a fan of Facebook, but it's only fair to give them credit where credit is due - things like Cassandra, HHVM/Hack, and React are all pretty important technologies, and their datacenter needs mean they've built an internal competency for hardware, too.

I don't think this move makes obvious sense, but Facebook The Company (as opposed to Facebook The Product) is more than just an RSS feed of lolcats.

Well... those are not mutually exclusive, as far as I can tell.


Conglomerates have some of the thinnest margins across many industries.

Jumping into the electronic devices industry with a product that hasn't even hit market yet is a bad gamble, especially since a dedicated electronics manufacturer (Sony) is going to release the same product but with an already dedicated market (Playstation).

It would have been better to wait until OR released, because then early adopters would have demonstrated if it is a viable product.

Fair point. It definitely looks like an emotional purchase in a tough market. They're already getting creamed for it in the stock market [1]

The way things look, this is largely a win for Oculus for finding a big backer, and a risky gamble for facebook.

I think it's good that FB's putting some faith in a great team and product all the same

-- [1] http://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-shares-drop-more-t...

Diversification at the corporate level isn't a good idea. Investors typically demand a discount (the conglomerate discount) for diversified corporations because they can easily diversify themselves by holding a variety of securities. Imagine an investor that values social networks highly, but who doesn't care for VR. They'll view this as a distraction from the core business, leading to a discount of the core business and an even greater discount of the VR portion. Diversification makes companies harder to analyze and reduces management focus, and has the tendency to depress both earnings and value.

There are some exceptions around market inefficiency, for example in the case of emerging markets where companies are difficult to manage and finance, but those are becoming less common, not more. I think there may be an argument that the market inefficiency caused by the extra reporting requirements imposed by SOX is causing more companies to go public by way of acquisition instead of IPO, but I haven't really seen clear data on that point.

Publicly held companies often do things that lack vision and do not serve their best interest.

Oh come on. I can think of a hundred applications Facebook could use the technology for and I am not a smart man. Just because Facebook does a few things well doesn't mean they can't... you know... grow and adapt with new technology. Facebook as a whole is probably a lot smarter than you and wouldn't spend 2 billion dollars on something without a "clear" route.

Who couldn't think of a hundred applications you could apply Oculus to any product out there? That's why people get so excited about it!

My point is that its unfair to compare the acquisitions listed above to Oculus simply because it of sticker-price or being so high profile. Oculus is a consumer device, a market that Facebook has tried numerous times and ran screaming from numerous times. Can they do it right? I'm sure they can. Is Oculus the right choice to start? Not my call. But is Oculus a web service? No. Does Oculus, company or product, relate at all to Facebook's product line? Not really. Did Instagram and Parse? Yes. Full stop.

I believe this acquisition was also a play to acquire more engineering talent. Through this acquisition they acquired John Carmack which is a fairly famous engineer amongst the tech community. That component alone strikes me as an incredibly awesome PR move in terms of recruitment.

As far as I'm concerned Facebook is the only competitor to Google at this point. Facebook is just trying to keep pace. I assume they're going to do many awesome things in the near future that aren't necessarily aligned with their current business model in order to keep up that pace.

Carmack left iD because they wouldn't let him work on the sort of stuff he wanted to work on. I see no reason he'd stick around Faceulus as an acquihire; if he's working at Facebook in the future, it's because they're letting Oculus do what it was doing when Facebook bought it.

@ hack_edu

Contracts can be broken. I really doubt John Carmack has to do anything he doesn't want to do. It will be the canary in the coalmine as far as whether I purchase an Oculus HMD when they release.

I do hate this "winner-take-all" situation where a few tech companies in the US acquire every single cutting edge company.

An effective FTC and more widespread use of the Sherman act would be nice in the US.

This would destroy most of the business models of most of the companies on this website.

I fail to see how a social media company buying a headset manufacturer would even hint at anti-trust.

> if he's working at Facebook in the future

... beyond what's required by contract

>Facebook is the only competitor to Google at this point

I wouldn't discount some of the recent moves my Microsoft and its new CEO -- they seem like they're moving fast and trying to become the old MSFT we used to love (or at least I used to.)

Never count Bing out of the fight =)

Look at the market. Don't you see it's counter-move to Google Glass?

No. Even if they both have monitors that move with your head, they are very, very different products. One's a head-attached smartwatch. Another's a presence creator.

No relation? I can clearly see a Virtual Social Network :)

Maybe the only thing common between Instagram and Oculus is the investor (Andreessen) and the acquirer (FB)..oh and that Mark Andreessen was a board member during both the acquisitions!

"Facebook is an engineering company"

Keep telling yourself that. They've released some interesting tech, yes, but an engineering company? No. Neither is google.

They're software companies. Some people don't see writing software as engineering. I write software daily and I wouldn't call myself an engineer. The guys I work with who design electrical circuitry and my dad who worked on engine mountings and vehicle components - I would call them engineers.

Perhaps Google and Facebook should be software companies with an advertising edge?

Facebook is an advertising company with a software edge. They make something like 90% of their money selling media space. The Facebook "product" is, now, nearly indistinguishable from a marketing gimmick. The real product is the users, access to which they sell for their profits.

The same could be said of Google.

> Have any companies been acquired by FB and immediately gone about pushing the envelope in ways that don't strictly line up the existing business of FB?

I'm not sure how many examples are out there, but I continually have to remind myself that Facebook owns Instagram. The product hasn't really suffered, at least for no reasons I would directly associate with them being bought out by FB.

I say this as someone who is also really disappointed that Oculus is now owned by FB. But I'll give it a chance. If they still produce something awesome that isn't tainted by FB crap, I'll use it.

I thought that a big effect of the InstaBook deal was that FB got access to every image on the site, after an opt-out period, to use in advertisements as they please.

I don't work for FB so I don't know the full details of all their acquisitions, but I would look to the success of a company like, say, Parse for what potential could lie here.

> Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook to achieve this.

That type of thing is standard wording in an acquisition announcement - it's pretty boilerplate.

While it's possible we'll be pleasantly surprised, the history of small, innovative companies being acquired by much bigger companies does not /generally/ bode well for the smaller companies & their products.

If the Oculus product(s) is successful in any way, it would only be natural for FB to want some kind of hooks/integration, as just another surface area to push their brand/strategy/etc. Just like Google pushed "Plus" into everything regardless of whether it was really a good fit, because the parent corp is the owner/master and the subsidiary (or internal group) has to serve the strategies of its owner. It's not necessarily bad, it's just expected.

Maybe if FB weren't a public company we might expect them to be able to have a bit more of a hands-off approach, but since going public I'd say it's "unlikely".

It's not ridiculous - at all. Facebook is the kind of company that wants to control their market and their platform. The Oculus Rift was an exciting piece of tech that was untied to any platform, giving an open opportunity for software developers to explore VRUI. Now, it gives Facebook the opportunity to explore VRUI.

Of course, I'm afraid they're going to tie the hardware to their awful, invasive Web platform. I'd be upset if it were Google, but Facebook is about as bottom-of-the-ethical-barrel as it gets.

Well, not sure if bottom of the ethical barrel, necessarily.

It's just that their (creativity, intelligence, innovation, drivers of progress) / (cash they own) ratio is mindblowingly low. And this is due to both the denominator and the numerator sides.

Facebook is the new Microsoft, basically. Low on creativity and innovation, high on cash, riding to success a huge wave of demand that would have carried anybody else who just happened to be there at the right time.

> bottom-of-the-ethical-barrel

Again, this is silly sensationalist thinking -- companies aren't people capable of "good" or "evil" choices. If they were, I'd note that Facebook was one of the only companies NOT conspiring to deflate the wages of half of the people that visit this site.

(Note: I don't work for FB -- I just rail against silly hyperbolic thinking.)

companies aren't people capable of "good" or "evil" choices

Their directors certainly are. A friend's mother works in a high-level consultancy that is known for turning down lucrative-but-unethical projects. I've worked in a company where the CEO would always try to find a win-win, even if it cost the company financially. I've also worked in a company where the CEO/majority owner vociferously abused the directors when he wasn't allowed a vote when they were voting on his own payrise (the directors saying that it was illegal to do so). That company also played a lot of three-card monte with FDA auditors.

Companies can behave ethically; just because they're not an organism doesn't mean that they're not under the control of something that can make those decisions. A car is just a lump of matter. Can't do anything by itself. But stick a human into it, and it can do all sorts of things, from the mundane (collecting groceries) to the charitable (distributing meals) to the unethical (hit-and-run). A company is the same.

Add into this that Facebook has been shown to be openly selling fraudulent products, and it doesn't make it sound like Facebook is the innocent you're implying. Crack open youtube and search for 'veritasium facebook', there are a couple of videos - Facebook is essentially selling advertising with fake impressions.

Groups of people are capable of collectively "good" or "evil" choices, and we often regard collective decisions in moral terms.

I'd argue that Facebook has made a lot of decisions that exploit users in pursuit of making more money and acquiring more personal data -- and that we don't have to be happy a technology platform with a lot of promise is now tied to a company with a record of making such decisions.

I won't welcome a Facebook platform in to my life the same way I would a standalone piece of technology, precisely because of the kind of decisions made by Facebook.

I normally agree with you, but I really believe Facebook's model - hosting people's personal life in a corporate database - is wrong, flatly wrong. It'd be wrong for anybody, but they're the most active pushers. Friend lists, personal photos, relationships, messages, even though users gave them up freely, it was wrong to take them.

IT ethics means that you use your expertise to actively protect sensitive information. They don't do that, and there can be / will be / are consequences. If anybody could have pushed an effective self-hosting platform, it's them, but they haven't.

They are at the bottom of the ethical barrel.

While I tend to agree with your ethical stand point, I think it's unfair to blame them for not pushing a self hosting platform. Without first gathering the personal info of the users they would never had the clout to push anything. They had to obtain a large level of popularity in order to push anything.

That's a fair point - think of all the attempts to displace them (cough diaspora). But that's also why the onus falls onto them now, right?

Companies may be formally structured in such a way that they effectively act in an amoral fashion and merely seek to fulfill the wishes of their shareholders.

But they are also made of some less formal structures. Groups of people that believe privacy is important will be predisposed to assume that disrespecting that tenet will affect profit and the companies operating environment later. Even if this is not the case perhaps a company gains additional political capital in some area for it's behaviour and no single product is likely to be worth the loss of that clout.

If you take factors like these into account you can judge whether a company is predisposed to create outcomes you'd say are good or bad based on it's previous actions.

As to FB and the wages I do not give them the benefit of the doubt and assumed that it wasn't them acting on some outpouring of principal but purely needing the engineers as they grow more than they needed depressed wages. This may be unfair to them but their past actions do not align well with a more generous interpretation, though give it a few years with similar incidents and I'd reevaluate in their favour(I'd love to see it but I wouldn't hold my breath).

It's really not sensationalist at all.

Facebook is run by a man who got rich on selling private data to advertisers, and then used his billions to buy all the mansions surrounding his own mansion so that he could protect his privacy.

Zuckerberg is scum and this is a sad day for any fan of the Oculus.

to be fair, put in zuckerberg's position, I would do the exact same thing.

the last thing I would want is for my house to be surrounded by people who won bidding wars just to own property near me.

it's not like he bought all the surrounding lots and kicked the residents out; iirc he actually went out of his way to essentially set up a pseudo reverse mortgage for one older couple.

>the last thing I would want is for my house to be surrounded by people who won bidding wars just to own property near me.

That's hypocrisy. He's repeatedly gone on record stating that he believes peoples' lives should be fully open and shared.

But he doesn't want his own life to be open and shared?

I don't like the guy's company, I've never met the guy; but I don't think you're even trying, or even thinking very hard about what you're saying.

>I'd note that Facebook was one of the only companies NOT conspiring to deflate the wages of half of the people that visit this site

If you're referring to the fact that it was reported yesterday that Facebook refused to participate in the "no poaching" agreement between Apple, Google, and other companies, it is worth noting that Facebook's CEO is involved in a totally different, and probably much more permanent and far-reaching strategy for suppressing engineer salaries:


Doesn't that potentially raise the salaries of all non-American engineers who might get jobs?

Yes, at the expense of American engineering salaries. Not a bad thing for innovation/technology as a whole but does lower American salaries.

If someone happens to be born in a country with worse labor opportunities, should we just say "have you tried being born in the US?" Articles like the Gawker one you link to only make sense if American workers are the only ones who matter.

On the other hand, strict immigration policies themselves depress wages for every person on the planet who's not American. I can guarantee you there are a lot of people think American businesses that hire H1Bs are fucking heroes.

You've got a pretty damn shallow ethical barrel.

It seems to me that people here are confusing Facebook with companies that have their games and apps on Facebook. They are acting like Zynga has bought it.

You could argue whether Facebook is ethical by allowing Zynga and similar to use the platform the way they do, but that's a different story.

The problem is that before, Oculus was the product. Now they've sold to a company where you are the product. That's a backstab, the business model has done a 180 degree turn.

Will developers really let Facebook own the VR platform? We all know that as soon as they're unlodgable Facebook will update the EULA and start sucking in every scrap of user data they possibly can. I bet they're salivating over the eye tracking data that will eventually come. Already Oculus includes a camera that is always looking at you.

That might be OK for free apps, but it's not OK for a paid product that was until now allied with Valve who sell quality, paid content.

The community is now going to fracture, half going with the momentum, half going back to the drawing board.

There's no indication that they have changed the business model. In fact, that has been explicitly denied. The community is going to fracture, sure: crazy people who jump to conclusions on one side, and reasonable people on the other side.

> They (Oculus) now have many many more times the resources at their disposal than before to make countless imaginative projects.

An acquisition into a company like Facebook is not quite carte blanche to chase "countless imaginative projects". There are VPs and PMs, budgets and headcount, inter-departmental politics and of course final approval from Sheryl Sandberg, David Ebersman and Zuck. No matter what the press releases say, autonomy will be lost to a degree, progress will be slower and more considered, and your imagination will have limits.

Hmmm that's not quite how Facebook works -- not everything needs final approval from the C-level suite (hell, that's their selling point to new hires.) And having some structure isn't always a bad thing - as long as it's the right kind. And I think it is in this case.

> not everything needs final approval from the C-level suite (hell, that's their selling point to new hires.)

Would you care to back that up with anything (not the part in parentheses)?

Why does everything on this site need to be backed up? Am I supposed to take a personal interest in your epistemic state as a matter of charity?

If you said you had your wallet in your pocket no one would ask you to back it up. If you said you had invented a perpetual motion machine, people would.

Claiming that the C-level executives of a company don't have final say in or control of projects and budgets falls into the second category.

Except that's not what he said. He didn't say that the C-levels didn't have control, just that they don't have to approve everything that you want to do.

"Nullius in verba"

Pretty awesome policy for a discussion board. I know I'm looking forward to the next 10,000 "citation needed" comments!

Call me out of touch, but why do Facebook employ so many people? After the main structure of the site that permits you to have a wall and a feed, what else needs writing?

I don't get it.

Scaling that infrastructure to literally billions of simultaneous users, spread over the whole planet, is something that needs constant innovation and maintenance.

Just one example for "what needs writing".

Pedantic point: it's unlikely to be billions of simultaneous active users. They have ~757m daily active users, so that's around 32m per hour. Even with external requests from sites using FB services (which the daily active number may include - they don't seem to specify at http://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/ ) and several connections per page load, I'd be surprised if it was even close to multiple billions of simultaneous connections, nevermind users.

However, they are still dealing with damn impressive numbers :)

Most "daily active users" are likely to be logged in more than one hour (especially those using FBs Messenger) and on multiple devices (e.g. cellphone with the app and messenger, and on the desktop the "normal" website), so I'd estimate the simultaneous peak count at something like 200-500m connections.

Also, there's a bazillion requests coming in from every website which has FB Share/Recommend buttons or FB Login active...

But they just employ two DB administrators, as they outsource the rest of the MySQL maintenance to Oracle, as far as I knew? Do they really keep adding vast swathes of site content that needs an army of developers?

The rumour was the Sandberg wasn't consulted when Instagram was acquired. I wonder if she was consulted for these recent acquisitions.

"if Google was the buyer, there would be much more positive comments here."

The HN reaction to Google's acquisition of Nest makes me think the comments would be equally negative.

I'd be hard-pressed to think of a buyer that WOULDN'T lead to negative reactions on HN...

Apple: they'll make it iDevice-only, and also it will disappear for a year if not longer until Apple feels it's good and ready

Microsoft: they'll screw it up


I can't imagine many negative comments if Valve bought Oculus.

Valve is a gaming company who gets VR so it would make a lot more sense for their core business.

Listening to Palmer Luckey talk about how the headset won't come out before its ready makes you think they have a very specific vision they want to execute, as does reading technical stuff about their technology. God knows what will happen now with Facebook. I was unbelievably excited about what Oculus could do for the state of the art in gaming, executing their vision independently. Who knows what having a corporate owner with unclear ambitions will do. I hope Carmack and the other technical guys jump ship and execute the original vision if Facebook meddles too much.

Working with Valve products, they are so god damn open. Api for a whole load of stuff, no serious attempts to lock down their non documented api/interfaces, games built on open technologies (all Dota network traffic is protobufs etc), and serious commitments to open source tech long term

Not like there were many positive comments about Nest and Google, IIRC.

I'm unsure what FB is thinking here. Do they plan to make Facebook a VR site? Do their games need more immersion to be addictive?

Google acquiring Nest has obvious plan. Make Android based devices with highly usable GUI.

I'll make you a gentleman's bet that Facebook is thinking about eye tracking.

Google acquiring Nest has a plan: collect data on electricity usage, presence in house and have a basis for inferring what people are doing generally all day.

Could they do eye tracking with a phone's camera easily enough?

Samsung do I think, for their scrolling feature.

They could make VR services for person-to-person communication. Be in the room with someone a thousand miles away, rake in cash for in-world ads and purchases... it could essentially become a future iteration of facebook (for when VR catches up to mobile).

If nothing else they could follow the original plan and sell a standalone rift for a profit.

How would you do face-to-face if both of you have giant goggles strapped to your faces?

That's made me laugh, thanks!

"You look really good today!"

"Thanks! Nice goggles!"

At least if Google bought them, they would have had Google Goggles. The mind boggles at the goggles, it gives me the giggles.

You still wouldn't be able to hug your counterpart.

So what? Now they will have Facebook Faces? creepy....

When you hear it that way, it sounds like the spawn of the VR world called Society seen in the movie Gamer.

> Google acquiring Nest has a plan: collect data on electricity usage, presence in house and have a basis for inferring what people are doing generally all day.

OK I'll bite. What does google do with this data? I don't see anyway this helps their ad business.

It's really not that simple with google, I think. I truly can't imagine that a company with the size, reach, and leadership of google has the unambitious and unsexy ultimate goal of selling more ads.

Sure, it's one of the larger objectives of the company simply because it's their big money maker, but I think it would be phenomenally short-sighted of the decision makers at google to focus and rely on ads long-term.

I don't think the decision makers in the company spend their time thinking up ways to sell ads. Considering the massive amount of information and power they have, there must be more to it.

In the end I think it's really still what they said in their mission statement: "Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful."

Sure, their own survival is an 'automatic' goal, and ads serve that purpose. And sure, it seems that ideologically google doesn't care about privacy too much (which makes sense if you want to organize the world's information). And those are all reasons to be critical of google's operations.

Acquiring Nest seems to have no benefit at all in the context of ads; I can't think of any way to shoehorn ads into a thermostat in any effective way.

Rather, they are now getting useful information on people's behavior in their house, not to mention a team that has made a successful real product. That acquisition does not make sense in light of ads, but it does in light of google's goals, just as their mapping, street view, and glass serve this same purpose: more information to use in a myriad of (profitable) ways.

They see you're up when most people are asleep, assume you work night shifts, and then advertise sleep aids and the local 24 hour gym.

There's very little personal info that's not valuable to someone, somewhere.

I would throw them off scent by boosting the heating at night and sleeping with the lights on.

but if Google was the buyer, there would be much more positive comments here.

Not from me. Google has a history of acquiring stuff just for the talent and then shutting it down or (worse) letting it rot away. FB seems to have better luck with its high profile acquisitions (though not so much the smaller ones) staying alive: Instagram, Whatsapp (so far), Parse, Friendfeed.

I agree they've done a great job with Instagram (and on that alone I don't get why people aren't willing to give them the benefit of the doubt) but Friendfeed is not a good example. They didn't extend the product at all. They didn't shut it down but it looks today like it did when they bought it. The team was moved to other things.

In theory, the oculus team will have more resources at their disposal. However, they are now apart of a publicly traded company with an emphasis on meeting investors' expectations on a quarterly basis. Also, new layers of oversight will necessarily be introduced, potentially limiting their ability to pursue industry related partnerships unless FB management can be made to see the worth of such deals.

I'm withholding judgement until someone respectable like Carmack comes forward with a rationale for why this is ultimately a good thing.

I don't understand this logic -- simply being a part of a successful public company reduces your opportunities or chances of making a splash? That's preposterous.

Yes, there are checks and balances -- however I am hard to believe that essentially working as their own team with some layers below Zuck offsets the significant resource investment that oculus didn't have before.

I think that the most promising aspect of this acquisition is the fact that with Facebook's resources, Oculus can scale like they never dreamed. Specifically, they have such a large starting cash buffer, they might even be able to sell the Oculus hardware at a loss-leading price, and therefore jumpstart the VR space.

It's so disappointing that the discussion is in this direction. I was hoping to come in here and find speculation about Facebook's vision, theories about their strategy, etc. Instead it's just a Facebook hate-fest.

Because those of us salivating over the prospect of Oculus for gaming never wanted it to be subject to Facebook's "vision." Quote from Zuck:

"We're clearly not a hardware company. We're not gonna try to make a profit off of the devices long term. We view this as a software and services thing, where if we can make it so that this becomes a network where people can be communicating and buying things and virtual goods, and there might be advertising in the world, but we need to figure that out down the line."

That's fine and all, that's what FB does, I just don't want them to do it to Rift.

The problem with that thinking is that it assumes Facebook is unchanging and just wants to mash Oculus into Facebook as it currently is. Actually they've done quite a good job of sticking to their word on not messing with Instagram.

Zuck also talked about VR being a piece of a new computing paradigm, and threw out that quote in response to whether the business model was selling units of hardware.

Well, all I can do is go off of what they have done in addition to that quote. I don't think the comparison to Instagram is a great one because Instagram's model was already very much in like with what FB already does. I hope I'm wrong.

All you can go off is that? Palmer Luckey basically denied all of your concerns. Even that quote doesn't mean you'll be forced into Facebook's dungeon. It means they want to come up with their own software metaverse, and yes, anyone doing something like that would want to sell virtual goods and ads. It doesn't mean they stop you from doing anything else with the product -- that would be a ridiculously stupid idea.

>Palmer Luckey basically denied all of your concerns

Oh, you mean the guy who just cashed out is doing some damage control? No way! What would you expect him to say exactly?

You'd have to be utterly naive to think that Rift will be doing anything which doesn't directly contribute to FB's bottom line. FB is an add company. FB has a board to report to. They have investors to satisfy.

Of course there's nothing inherently wrong with this, but if you are under the impression that these facts will not steer the direction of Rift in the future then I don't think I'll be able to convince you otherwise as you have already swallowed the Kool-Aid.

Yeah... because Google has experience with this sort of project. It's in Google's wheelhouse, so to speak.

It's in Google's wheelhouse now, it wouldn't have been six or seven years ago.

Give it a chance, the overreactions in this thread and in general are ridiculous.

Nice use of words. Define overreaction. How about I be specific: most of the comments in this thread seem entirely justified to me.

What? Define it yourself, it's a google search away.

And I suppose that's subjective, but claiming it is the absolute end of the world for Oculus seems just a tad premature.

Facebook has gotta start somewhere. I suspect they'll keep the Oculus team in charge.

The whole thing betrays a certain lack of ambition. It's like if the early Microsoft had said: "Microsoft in every home? Nah, fuck it, let's just get acquired by IBM."

That's nonsense. Facebook is in every home. Being bought by them obviously helps Oculus to be in every home. I'm not exactly cheering over this acquisition, but if one thing's certain, it means Oculus is going to be all over the goddamn world -- assuming you guys don't ruin it with your kneejerk assumptions.

This is really a branding failure. Facebook's brand conflicts with Oculus' brand. I'm surprised they didn't see that coming. Reality is complex, but perception is usually stunted. Facebook = evil corporation who only cares about selling personal data. Oculus = good guy, cares about us, cares about VR. This is a load of bullshit, but that's the branding perception. Try to change that, and you get chaos.

I think you missed my point. I'm not saying that Oculus is now farther from their goal of "VR in every home" (I don't even know if that is their goal).

But whatever their goal was, it is now in the hands of Facebook. Sure they now have resources, but they also have a new master who has his own agenda which may be in line with Oculus' goals now but what about tomorrow? If Facebook hits hard times do you think Facebook will continue to have a hands-off approach with Oculus?

Also to address this specific point:

> Facebook is in every home. Being bought by them obviously helps Oculus to be in every home.

Facebook software is in every home. The Oculus Rift is not software, Facebook lacks the manufacturing/distribution/RMA/support infrastructure for consumer hardware products so that has to be built up anyways - all Facebook brings to the table (that I can see) is money and HR capacity. In many ways this makes less sense than an IBM/Microsoft merger back in the day because IBM was already selling computers with operating system and Microsoft could have naturally piggy-backed on that.

>but if Google was the buyer, there would be much more positive comments here.

I don't see a fundamental difference between the two. Both have the same model of scraping your data in order to further monetize their ad space.

The bummer for me here is the business model of the purchasing company. It isn't that it's Facebook per se, but it's how Facebook makes its money. It simply has a large chance of taking the product to a place I'd rather it didn't go.

They already had almost $100 million in funding, and I'm sure they would've gotten $1 billion if they needed it later on, and with a product already on the market. This is an extremely poor decision on their part. I wonder how Carmack (truly) feels about this, because he just switched from one corporation that wouldn't let him do what he wants for another.

"if Google was the buyer, there would be much more positive comments here."

Right. Probably because Google is a technology driven company with some amazing technical products and research. Facebook has great backend skills but the product is meh.

That's because people here are less likely to actively avoid Google. We use it for our search engine, and some of us for App Engine and Google Drive, or for our phones. More people avoid Facebook for privacy reasons, etc.

> More people avoid Facebook for privacy reasons, etc.

The fact that you admit deep deep use of Google and trust them with all your data tells me that there's a bit of naïveté in terms of Google & privacy (as if you're getting more privacy in one vs. the other.)

It's true. Personally, I don't want yet-another-company to have my information. There's that; and there's the whole thing around how Google doesn't have a track record of forgetting your privacy settings when they do an update to their services.

They now have only one place to get funding, before they could go up to pretty much any investor and get funding. Maybe it wouldn't have lasted if the VR turns out not as good as it's hyped to be, but for now I don't see why they need the resources of Facebook. Of course they're readying for a product launch, a product that appears to become popular, so they'll need to invest in production capacity and materials, but is a takeover really necessary and the best way to achieve that?

> They (Oculus) now have many many more times the resources at their disposal than before to make countless imaginative projects.

Their new owner has more resources available (minus the payout to the old owners). Whether those resources will be allocated to those working on Oculus projects is another mater, as is whether any of the goals/priorities of Oculus projects will remain the same.

I think what most of us wanted is to see Oculus become something like FB, Google, Twitter, etc. The team was backed by early adopters that put their own money on this vision.

Although the "more resources" statement is true, the vision, the underdog, no longer is. They will always be under FB, not the visionary entrepreneurs and team that made Oculus possible.

Thats not true, I'd be worried they would piggyback it into some crappy google glass hybrid.

And how many of those countless projects are going to open up new forms of experience, and how many are going to be the equivalent of shoehorning more ads into the facebook feed?

I would think many would not want to share Oculus usage data with Facebook, but would rather keep info private.

Because Hacker News is relentlessly pro-Google? Have we been browsing different sites for the last year?

Resources... but at what cost?

This. So many time THIS.

I'm truly saddened by this news. Oculus was THE most exciting piece of consumer tech in many many years.

I can't honestly believe that I'm now pinning my hopes on Sony for VR :(

I was looking forward to all the social aspects that Oculus would bring about, but now seemingly having it shackled to Facebook really makes me lose interest.

I am shattered right now. I was SO happy for Oculus VR, I wanted it to become big, I wanted it to become something truly special.

You might be a bit premature with that comment. Mark Zuckerberg is not an idiot. He's probably smart enough to realise that Oculus need to truly remain independent for real innovation to continue.

This is probably a long-term bet on VR tech by Facebook, that they know would be too expensive to do in another 3-5 years. My bet: this is not going to kill Oculus, rather the opposite.

Yeah, Sergey Brin and Larry Page are not idiots either, but the history is littered with great products that were killed off after they were bought by Google. It's entirely reasonable to be at least skeptical about this.

I'm really in a clinch now. Because I boycott Sony over the geohot incident[0].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Computer_Entertainment_Am...

It's the rootkit CDs that do it for me.

I remember that well. I was running Linux and didn't buy particularly mainstream music so I was alright, but all the pesky "CDs" that were released with copy protection on them so that they didn't play in ordinary CDs really wound me up. Deep Purple's Rapture Of The Deep was one of these; no idea if it was through Sony though haha. Sounded like it was recorded live in one room with microphone bleed all over the place, so no great loss eh!

I also boycott Sony.

Guess I'm not going to be getting any first-gen VR headset, unfortunately.

Jumping into bed with Sony because of the Facebook deal is like jumping into bed with Typhoid Mary because Courtney Love turned you down.

I really doubt anything would change. Look beyond the brand-name of Facebook, or the current social-network connotations.

I doubt someone smart enough to build a company like Oculus VR would've forgotten to plan how to run inside Facebook and continue delivering the vision of VR.

After all, aren't we all here to support the vision of mainstream VR, and not just one company?

You know what it's going to happen? It's going to remain free for a while, so that everybody cools down. Then little by little, they will make it their own. And since every time the change will be minimal, everybody will simply adapt and not care, like it ALWAYS happens. And in the end you have exactly the situation that everybody hated, but now everybody accepts it. The bar always moves in the wrong direction..

Who cares? By the time that happens we're either deep into companies producing high quality VR displays, motion sensors etc. and we've got a lot of competitor products, or it didn't work out and so who cares?

Seriously don't sweat it. The important part of Oculus is already done. The fact that you feel this way is the proof. Sometimes the most important part of a technology is just letting everyone know its possible. Before Oculus it was kind of a given that there was just too much lag for anything like it to be possible for the foreseeable future. It took a master of the 3d world-building craft to step up and say that this was untrue.

Now we know what we want and that its completely possible. If facebook is unwilling to to give us immersive 3d minecraft, someone else will step up. Because they know that they can.

But how many patents does Oculus have that are going to make it difficult to impossible for a competitor to deliver the same experience?

You are basically everything that is wrong with consumers, today.

A kneejerk reaction to something you cannot possibly see the end results of.

And to even support Sonys dumbed down version of VR that has to run on this mid spec'ed PC they call the PS4 is downright stupid.

When it becomes clear that Oculus does not work independently under the FB roof, then you can start your whining. Not now. Not just based on the fact you don't like the company that is now housing Oculus.

Tell me, do you also not like Nestle? I bet you do. Do you also stop doing business with every company that sits under the Nestle roof? No? huh. Must be Facebook exclusive, then. Great hypocrisy was had by all.

To the rest of us, we will wait and see how Oculus will continue to operate until we throw a fit.

In closing, you said you wanted Oculus to get big. Every thought that they want that as well and the best way to get big is to be partnered up with a big company that has reach and contacts and funds? I know, right? Weird thought. Why did I never thought of that, you ask yourself.

The difference is that Nestle sells me a product, but with Facebook I am the product. (If I had a FB that is)

I quite simply dont want hardware owned by Facebook in my home. I liked the OR, probably would have bought one. But consider the data they scrape from you on their website, compiled with data from the hardware they now have in your home, and you become the new innovative advertising product that Facebook needed to stay alive in the advertising world after _just_the_website_ didn't give their clients what they wanted anymore.

I do actually avoid all Nestle products and subsidiary products that I am aware of,and Coca-Cola etc

However...I am reserving judgement on this, but I am not overly happy initially. Will wait to see the next few months before reaching my final conclusion

Because money. More seriously, VR is the future of a lot of things, if it hadn't been FB, it would have been son either company. Microsoft and google were probably looking at it too but lost to FB (again),

I'm not sure. Why do they have to sell?

Microsoft is a minor shareholder in Facebook, there will be an Xbox tie in at some point.

Hopefully Sony will join in somehow and their "roll-on deodorant" sensor for gaming that involves waving your arms around will be joined with a massive headset. I don't see how sitting with a massive hat on can be considered great gaming.

Perhaps I will go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

I've already owned a vr headset back when it was 320x240 screens. It is pretty good but gives you neckache after a while. Judging trajectories is better, playing Team Fortress and Everquest in full 3d was really cool. But neckache.

I meant "another company".

If it comes down to having to choose between trusting facebook or sony, then we are all in a pretty bad state of affairs.

I know shit facebook cannot innovate at all 3 blunders on what facebook made. LOL check it out http://thegamingpc.webs.com/apps/blog/show/42000077-3-blunde...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_Home - with a VR headset, it'll suck just as much but with less latency.

Yeah, this one is definitely tough to swallow. Really disappointing.

I wonder how this affects the viability of VR going forward. Especially as everyone starts to associate it with FB.

>"Facebook creeps me out"

While he says this on Twitter - many of whom are ex-FB employees doing essentially the same things.

Rather it's the day I stop cheering for VR, again... back to the 90s!


My initial reaction is to hate this. After thinking it over briefly I still hate it.

I think I'm going to look to Carmack as my proxy. If he jumps ship, the whole thing is surely tainted.

I expect Carmack got some pretty shiny golden handcuffs in the deal, I wouldn't expect him to jump ship anytime soon.

I expect Carmack is the sort of guy to say "fuck your golden handcuffs, I'd rather work on interesting problems". If it turns bad he'd go.

This is why I'm astonished: it also seemed to me that Carmack is that sort of guy, you know, real programmer. idealistic, stubborn. Maker, not businessman. But whatever be all that "Mark and his team share our vision for virtual reality’s potential to transform the way we"… blah blah — I cannot really imagine why he would do so if not only for the sake of business. Well, it might be easier to make stuff when company with infinite resources parents you for sure, but still…

No, I definitely have to reconsider if that idealistic picture of Carmack in my brain is correct. Not that I ever knew him, anyway…

I would bet that yes your picture is correct.

He posted on twitter:

"I suppose I will get a FB account now, so that may lead to some writing a little longer than tweet length..."

Never signing up for FB account indicates to me that he's got as much disdain for Facebook as many people here.

He also tweeted:

"I have a deep respect for the technical scale that FB operates at. The cyberspace we want for VR will be at this scale."

Which hints to me that he's at least intrigued by the possibilities that partnering with Facebook will offer, and he sees some potential in this partnership.

Carmack has earned enough of my respect over the last few decades that if it turns out he's ok with the acquisition and stays with the company, then as much as I dislike Facebook, I'm going to trust his judgement and be confident that he's hard at work on something 'game-changing'.

Why is not having a FB account "disdain"? I realize that you have some sort of anti-FB ax to grind and does most of HN. I haven't logged into FB for 6 months, but it is because of apathy, not disdain. Why would John be any different?

What makes a "real programmer" though? Do you think he'd be programming in a hut for no money? He isn't daft.

I'd say there are certain programmers, who after reaching a certain financial security threshold, would do exactly that. Just as there are people who would happily sail a yacht around the world indefinitely, though it would bore me silly. Is Carmack one of those? Who can say. This kind of programmer can be disguised by the fact that code hermits often make money by accident! When you love what you do, what you do tends to be good.

I have met Carmack before at Siggraph many years ago and I can say that he struck me as someone who was a 'Code Troll' because he loved it. That he made money was great, but I think he has such a deep love of the technology for technologies sake.

I expect he will have a similar situation that Ray Kurzweil has at Google.

Ray Kurzweil was hired by Google's current management to work at Google. How is this in any way analogous to Carmack's situation at Oculus, now Facebook?

The similarities are they are legendary & forward thinking technologists given a large amount of capital to pursue their passion and scale their vision.

Corporate title & organizition wise, they are different. Though I doubt Kurzweil worries too much about the current Ads, Search, Email, & Android platform. I would expect his role to be more forward thinking. I get the impression Carmack has a forward thinking role as well.

Carmack is the CTO. He's in charge of the technical direction of the company as a whole. A company whose mission is pretty clearly defined.

This is very, very different from what Kurzweil is doing at Google.

True, Oculus has more focus & a narrower scope.

Though, we will see what a $2B valuation does to a "clearly defined" mission. The VR market has to be grown, after all.

Google is expanding it's efforts in new markets that require substantial technical vision. Same with Oculus.

Kurzweil is the "Director of Engineering" at a company without a CTO. Surely, there's some similarities in their roles.

Not a 100% match, but some interesting similarities.

"Director of Engineering" is a title. Google has literally hundreds of engineering directors. (I work at Google.)

I'm not sure how true this is, but I recently watched an anti-google documentary about their book-scanning business and they said sources familiar with Larry Page claim that he had no interest in Google as a business but rather was attempting to achieve advanced AI through Google.

But where are his keyboards now??????

What does that mean?

Presumably that having the resources (servers and infrastructure, devs, designers, researchers, business connections, data, etc) available at the parent company is a bigger incentive than running things yourself (even if you have the financial means to do so).

He doesn't seem like the type who would be wanting for money.

carmack doesn't need golden handcuffs. he earned fuck you money back then in the '90s.

And you are positive he still has all that money? I wouldn't assume anything these days. There are plenty of people who are worth millions who stick around someplace they don't want to be to be worth tens or hundreds of millions.

Money is a real thing, no matter how awesome Carmack is (he's an idol of mine as well), it certainly can play a role in decisions.

Especially considering how much armadillo must have burnt.

And he subsequently lost a lot of it in passion investments. He has a talk about it somewhere.

Seems like a good opportunity to revive Armadillo, no? I mean … he has not been with Oculus for too long, officially at least, despite giving them the praise that earned them $2bn.

All in all, a fair deal for Oculus, I think. Now the question is, will Facebook be able to get a ROI? To me, this looks like a lucky day for Sony, but maybe that's my geek-glasses fooling me.

I'm very interested to see what Carmack does. I hope the whole team moves to Valve or something, and this doesn't set back VR another 10 years.

Good point on seeing what Carmack will do.

Although they announced Carmack joining Oculus in August last year. Any idea how long the negotiations for this acquisition would likely take?

I too am disappointed the tech has gone into Facebook, I wonder what those game developers that currently support it are thinking, and how much integration there will be with Facebook login etc.

They've said that they formally got the ball rolling on the acquisition less than two weeks ago.

Wow.. I came to the comments page wanting to express my disappointment. I really wasn't expecting to see so many other people sharing the sentiment. I thought I was one of the last people in existence who deleted their Facebook account years ago and left it deleted. :)

I haven't deleted it, but for me the problem lies somewhere else:

The tech-sector is slowly growing into an oligopoly or at least that's my impression. I expect it to be diversified but deals like this leave me questioning and yes, they make me a bit sad. Perhaps the Oculus guys can use the resources Facebook will flow into them but...I have a bad feeling about this. Really.


The waves of patent and copyright attacks unleashed on Google are basically the giants who were born in the 70s and early 80s (Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle) trying their damndest to make sure no-one will ever grow in the shadows they cast.

I think it's going the other way. Remember that circa 2000, consumer tech was a monopoly.

Now there are quite a few big players. Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, etc.

No, it's terrible for everyone. I'm quite sad for the same reasons. The openness, the possibilities... (sigh) maybe someone else will take the torch.

Same boat here. I can't escape Facebook and Google. I use something, it get acquired by one of them. I'm glad I'm not alone.

Nope, you have the cool/hip/popular opinion. Like hating country music or Nickleback.

Indeed. I preordered the DK2, but I'm not sure if I should try to get a refund.

I'm not on Facebook, and I don't want to develop for their platform. Although, one of the ideas was to replicate DFW's "samizdat" as an art project. Something tells me Facebook wouldn't look kindly on it pulling all your friend data to entertain you to death.

I think this is what makes me hate this purchase. The most interesting part of Oculus to me was the "open-ness" of the platform. They were seemingly doing an amazing job of getting developers interested in the platform. I'd argue that Facebook does a pretty terrible job on both fronts.

I have tried to develop app for facebook. Just terrible experience.

I wrote one for allowing an external site to automatically post info to a wall. It wasn't too bad, with oauth and all that.

But that's the only reason I have a Facebook account.

I'm in the same boat, I'm going to wait a couple days, but I'm very tempted to cancel my preorder.

I already sent an emailing asking how to cancel.

If it turns out to be good I'll get one. Not bothering to preorder though. No need to risk money supporting the company now.

Same here, I've already sent an email regarding a refund. I had big dreams for this company, it just feels wrong. I'm not happy to see theses conglomerates grow uncontrolled, sucking up the spirit of innovation and openness that are so critical to our future.

Not trying to be argumentative, but is a VR helmet really critical to our future?

Is it on the same level as food and poverty and peace?

Technological advancements have a funny way of producing important side-benefits.

A change as massive as VR - we simply don't know how big a deal it is.

For example, as one of the smaller potential side-effects, imagine VR became good enough that there was no practical reason to have people travel for face-to-face meetings. That would have a significant knock-on effect (closing on single-digit percentile worldwide) on carbon emissions, global warming, and potentially catastrophic climate change.

Teleconferencing is currently very possible, including video to video or voice to voice, but this hasn't stopped people travelling around. I am not so sure that VR will suddenly be the thing to take off in this regard; if people aren't happy sat in front of a camera for a meeting, will they be happy wearing a headset?

Can you explain Shamzidat more? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_Jest doesn't have much. Thanks!

"The Entertainment" was a video tape in the book that "so entertaining to its viewers that they lose all interest in anything other than viewing it and thus eventually die."

Depending on your scholarly beliefs, it's either just a metaphor for addiction, or in addition, a critique on media and media consumption. I chose to believe the latter, in that it could stand to be a critique on how our pastimes are intentionally becoming more engaging and addicting.

I'm not sure on the visual representation, but the thing would have been a Rauchenberg-ian collage of video, text and audio, layered together and becoming more "recommended" for the user, based on physical cues from the physical input devices, as well as choices. The actual recommendation algorithm would have been relatively primitive, most likely a decision tree, or if I could figure it out, an ensemble algorithm that would have created better media recommendations in real time to show to the viewer from trending topics, imgur, youtube, that type of junk.

The samizdat refers to a film (after which Infinite Jest is named). This film is so entertaining that, once seen, a viewer will want to do nothing but continue watching it, endlessly.

(Also, IJ is a great novel.)

Ditto. I just preordered the DK2 yesterday and don't have a facebook account. Don't want to have to do anything with them. Shit.

To make matters worse, people who get this news while wearing an Oculus Rift headset can't even do a proper facepalm.

I just checked my calendar to see if it was April 1st. What a low amount of money for the purposed future of gaming.

I wonder how John Carmack will like his new freedom under Zuck's reign.

Where did you see the amount?

The Verge [0] claims the deal is for $2B (cash + stock)

[0] http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/25/5547456/facebook-buying-oc...

I would say that at the very least, we should give Carmack the benefit of the doubt. He has proven to be a visionary and able to execute on all manner of awesome tech for many years.

If he leaves shortly after this acquisition, then we know something is amiss. If he stays, then it should be for a very valid reason - i.e. that they can probably do much more inside of FB than outside.

Keep in mind he was independently wealthy before, so it's likely that he wasn't as tempted by money as say the founders were (assuming that they weren't independently wealthy - which I don't know if they are).

I think for Carmack the situation is the same as when Id was acquired by Zenimax. So for anyone curious just look what happened then. He doesn't care, as long he can work on the stuff he wants to and he left Id because he couldn't do that( work on VR ). If he leaves Facebook, the reasons will be similar.

It's in one way sad how the stupendous amount of money available to the giants in this business makes them able to acquire any potential competitors. The only ones not being acquired are those who have the ambition to be giants themselves (Dropbox, Snapchat), it seems this was not the goal of Oculus. So now it'll just become another tentacle of the Facebook Empire.

Although I guess this is how most other businesses operate too. Finding a hit product allows you to become a multi-millionaire, but if you want to become a billionaire you have to have conviction as well. (Which has considerable risk as you might be killed. I can certainly imagine myself selling out when a billion-dollar deal is on the table, so I'm not saying it's a bad move to sell out, it's just sort of sad)

Maybe this will push Valve to reconsider turning their internal VR headset into a consumer product.

Ok, so the hardware landgrab is in full effect. But... Facebook? Facebook is going to be competing with Sony? How does this line up with their competencies? With the track record they have with phones, I'm not holding my breath here.

On the other hand, would you rather Google had bought them and siphoned off their team and energy into the Googleplex as they have done with other startups?

Or - could Oculus have joined the Xbox team as a foil to Morpheus (http://techwatching.com/tag/morpheus)?

Why do they have to sell to anyone? Can't a company live on its own these days? They had everyone cheering up behind them.

For sure; maybe the saw the writing on the wall though - i.e.: its hard for an independent to compete with Sony / MSFT / whatever other MegaCos enter the fray in terms of development resources, manufacturing scale, leverage with studios etc. If you think about it, how would Oculus have been able to finance a major production push (millions of units)?

On the flip side, competing like that might have been difficult --- but not impossible. The world needs more organizations willing to stand on their own two feet and try

I'm pretty sure this sums up what Facebook is going to do with Oculus: "Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures."

Yep, it's farked for good now. I'm heartbroken beyond words right now. I was so excited for the future of VR by an indie, open company. But no... I suppose we'll have to settle with Morpheus.

I am, in one word: upset.

> Yes, I just really dislike facebook, so I hate to see them aquiring something i was really excited about.

What about Oculus VR ? They could have said no.

Are you sure? What did you know of their situation (financial, etc)?

It doesn't matter. OP was putting the blame on Facebook, where a deal has always a signature from all involved parties.

Regardless of their situation, one can always say no.

It is a matter of convictions and being able to live with the consequences.

Apparently, getting money was more important.

There's no way they could be wanting for investors. There's likely to be more to this deal than meets the eye.

I'm thrilled. This is a brilliant move designed to bring world-shattering high-quality VR to the entire planet.


Facebook has one of the largest user bases on the planet. Facebook has vast amounts of capital. Facebook has just demonstrated how important they believe VR to be.

With Facebook's users, money, and engineering talent, VR is about to arrive earlier, faster, and better than anyone could imagine.

I plan on buying Facebook stock immediately.

Considering almost everyone hates on Facebook and is sort of forced into it due to the network effect, I wouldn't call this move brilliant.

It is brilliant on Facebook's part. They know they are widely loathed among internet users. They can use this Oculus acquisition to show the world that they aren't just some evil creepy web site with no regard for anything but their own profits.

And next week Facebook buys Valve. Computers are ruined forever.

But how else will you automate the update to your Facebook page about your herpes treatment?

Sounds like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Palms waiting to happen.

There could be interesting applications of this. What if the doctors were all linked in a group through Facebook (this sounds unlikely, they have their own professional networking tools, but suspend disbelief for a moment).

The patient is a mother experiencing pregnancy complications, stuck a remote area of Alaska, in an Oculus conference with a doctor in Seattle. Her doctor diagnoses her and uses the network to find a specialist in the specific condition. Turns out there's one in Portugal, and at an appropriate time the Portuguese doctor joins the Oculus conference. The two doctors work together to make a recommendation for the patient. Like a videoconference that actually feels like a meeting (a holy grail for decades)

This is the kind of application that would be best pursued by an independent company, but is certainly more likely from Facebook than from Valve.

>What if the doctors were all linked in a group through Facebook

Fortunately, other professions hold privacy in high enough regard not to sell their clients' information to the highest bidder. And this is precisely why this announcement is so disappointin; this scenario explicitly will not happen via the Oculus product. It will require yet another round of innovation in the VR space because no doctor worth their salt would use a facebook product with their patients' privacy at stake.

Look on the bright side - now you can actually buy a stake in Oculus! Albeit at a ridiculous premium.

It's not as though the doctor and classroom ideas weren't already in Oculus's plans.

I too am wary of Facebook handling all of this data, but they also have an nearly unparalleled ability to make it happen.

This is great news for Sony's VR product. They could use this acquisition as a strategic attack towards Oculus as they did with Microsoft's XBOX One blunder.

Opening the hardware up to PC development would be one of the best moves Sony could make. Besides Portal 2 not much seemed to materialize from Sony's partnership with Valve last gen, this could be a game changer if functionality translates well between PC/PS4.

I'm very interested in seeing how all companies involved deal with this.

I can also see them creating a commerce platform. Companies create some sort of VR marketplace where customers can log in and view products. For example, you're shopping for a car. Instead of going to a dealer you put on the goggles and see models and options. Nvidia would love to get in on that; offload 3D model generation to one of their GPU compute clusters. Facebook gets either a bulk payment up front or some percentage of sales; basically like advertising space.

Just a thought.

The major line of thought here is what Facebook will do with Occulus to integrate with its current core offering. However the point that may be missed is that this can be its foray into virtual reality gaming. Hardcore gamers still maintain their distance from facebook however with an offering such as occult they can attract gamers as well and tap on to the advertising revenues. And not to mention, as far as social networking is concerned, the more the merrier.

Also : Imagine - me and my doctor can talk face to face while both wearing goggles. Sounds great! I'd rather use Skype thanks.

The first thing I usually think when I start a video call with someone is "is there some way I can automatically block the view of that person's eyes and half of their facial expression, that would make this communication experience go much smoother".

Skype haha contention land

"It definitely looks like your pixel has been infected with another pixel! I'll prescribe you some cream" (perhaps that's just the Android experience with Skype)

Everyone at Microsoft would enjoy snooping on horrible illnesses.

:) I was ignoring the privacy aspect, it was more the goggles-to-goggles, someone hasn't thought that through.

"I prefer to actually visit my doctor where facebook doesn't get all the data about it."

Unless of course the NHS sells it to them (http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-02/04/care-data-nhs...)

This was my first reaction as well, however we have to remember Carmack is there. I am confident that he will not let original spirit of Rift die. I am sure you will be able to use Rift without Facebook account and device will be quite hackable.

In any case, I think we should wait and see what Facebook does before crying foul.

What has "too long, didn't read" come to mean nowadays? Your dl:dr version is not significantly shorter than the 2 lines above and it is also not a summary.

Good point, edited the post.

I share your sentiment about facebook. They might know how to program, but their business is shady as hell.

I had such high hopes for the Oculus and now I could care less. Maybe Sony's product will be better.

I'm pretty sure Valve can make their own VR headset if they want to -- didn't Sony do just that with Project Morpheus?

There's also Avegant; their focus is different but the tech seems awesome.

For me this is a game-breaker - I was wanting to be early (as in 3DFX early) adopter of the tech but it'll have to wait until I can buy this gear off someone NOT faceborg.

Couldnt agree more! I'd I'm kind of fed up with the constant exposure... Really looked forward to oculus vr not anymore though.

Damn I just bought DK2 2 days ago, what do I do now?

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