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Facebook acquires Oculus VR (facebook.com)
1449 points by nav 1191 days ago | hide | past | web | 837 comments | favorite



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.


>Diversification

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:

http://gawker.com/mark-zuckerbergs-self-serving-immigration-...


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

Etc...


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!


Same.

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.


Slowly?

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.

Consider:

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?


I just finished reading "Masters of Doom" last night. The book is about id software, the company that made Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake and that pioneered 3D gaming. The book primarily follows John Carmack and John Romero, two of the founders of id. Carmack was responsible for developing almost all of the 3D engine code.

After finishing Quake, (what I believe to be) the first fully 3D PC game, Carmack wanted to work on a 3D virtual world inspired by the Metaverse from Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. The book at least makes it sound like Carmack believed that a 3D virtual world was the next big thing. Despite Carmack's wishes, the rest of id decided to stick with making first person shooters and other video games.

Carmack is now the CTO of Oculus VR. Keeping in mind Carmack's virtual reality ambitions and Zuckerberg's mission to "connect the world", this acquisition makes a lot more sense than it does thinking of Oculus VR as purely a gaming company.


> Despite Carmack's wishes, the rest of id decided to stick with making first person shooters and other video games.

Really? I actually just finished MoD, coincidentally, and it seemed to me that the rest of the team wanted to do things other than the repeated Quake/Doom re-hashing, and Carmack basically refused. He wanted to work on his engine.


This was more a recent development and not covered in MoD and is the reason he left id. He wanted id to focus on VR but he couldn't get bethesada to buy in to the idea.


I'm currently reading MoD, and I agree with this analysis. I'm not thrilled about the purchase, but it does make sense given the ambitions of the players involved.


Very interesting theory. Anybody have a link to an actual source for Carmack's interest in virtual "worlds" instead of just games? Everything I've found from searching is talking about Oculus' Palmer Luckey, not Carmack, wanting to do that, and it specifically name-checks the Metaverse. (e.g. http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/gaming/oculus-...). There's a lot of Google hits for "Carmack Metaverse" but they're pretty much all “I am thrilled to work with John on building the Metaverse", which is Luckey talking in Oculus' announcement of hiring Carmack. (http://www.oculusvr.com/press/john-carmack-joins-oculus-vr-a...)

This still makes sense as to why Oculus would want to get in bed with Facebook, but it sounds like the motivation is coming from Luckey and not Carmack.


His ultimate goal is to make the holodeck.


Yes - for those curious, more on MOD from coding horror here: http://blog.codinghorror.com/you-dont-need-millions-of-dolla...


This is the first thing I've read about it that makes sense. Thanks very much for sharing it.


One other important take away from MoD, Carmack gives zero fucks about what he says publicly. I'm excited to hear his take on this whole deal, especially since I imagine it comes as a bit of a shock to most of the Oculus team.


Descent was full 3D a year (March 1995) before Quake (June 1996).

I'm sure there's some subtle point I'm missing as to why Descent mysteriously doesn't count but even nearly 20 years later I'm failing to spot it.


Interestingly, John Cash, another Quake programmer, went on to lead the development of World of Warcraft, something much closer to a shared VR universe.


As a game developer that's interested in doing some work with the Oculus, I could see this going one of two ways:

1) Facebook could stay hands off, giving the company the company the breathing room and capital to absolutely revolutionize gaming, and then on to other fields.

2) Oculus as a "communication platform" is attempted too soon and the core team is drawn away working on pet projects resulting in a drastic lack of focus, which would kill the product (momentum is key here).

Given that Facebook is the acquirer, I'd lean much further towards #1. If it were Google, I'd bet money on #2 (see the GAE thread today).

I don't think the privacy stuff is going to be a big deal, by the time this turns from being an interface device to an integrated product like Glass, the market will have matured and there'll be plenty of competitors offering the former.

So, it'll either good or bad. You read it here first, folks.


>Facebook could stay hands off

No, they could have made a sizable investment without having a controlling stake in it. No, they Acquired it. You don't do that unless you want to change something there. My best hope is that the Zuck sees something cool going on with the Oculus and wants to try his hand at something new. My worst fear is that they will develop the 'Oculus API' as a wrapper around the original API and Facebook. Now Facebook can ad ads featuring your friend's faces in games... and free 3d games if you just watch a 15 second ad for every five minutes that you play...


My god, the tinfoil on HN has become unbearable. Are you even listening to yourself?


Facebook is a company whose revenue is entirely based on advertising spend. They pitch their network's services based on the fine level of control you can have over market segmentation - the more information Facebook has about people, the better they can promote these services.

It's reasonable to speculate on the extent to which Oculus can resist being assimilated into the already-existing business model. It seems less reasonable to speculate that Oculus will become Facebook's flagship product and not just some sidekick to enhance their current revenues if possible (or if that doesn't work, consigned to the dustbin of history).

Since all of this is speculation anyway, what do you think is going to happen?


Are you even listening to yourself arguing with nothing but a baseless ad hominem AND still having the gall to ask someone if he's listening to himself?


I can't hear myself because my tinfoil hat is deflecting not only thought-reading beams and sunlight, but also my own sound waves, due to being shaped like an inverse sombrero.

I think. Or maybe I am hearing other people's thoughts and the sombrero is working as a beacon??? I'll give Dr Xavier a call.


> Now Facebook can ad ads featuring your friend's faces in games

Facebook doesn't run ads for the sake of running ads...it requires money to run a social platform that's completely free for a billion+ users. It's unlikely they'll be handing out Rifts for free so they can rely on sales of the devices to generate revenue from the Oculus division.


Except that hardware has very slim margins, & all the woes associated with shipping a physical product. Ad revenue is cheap & easy.


Hardware is how you deliver eyeballs. It's why android was bought. Oculus will be a medium for delivering eyeballs as will Google Glass.

If there was an alternative to google search Apple would default to that search engine. They don't need the billions they make from Google search being in iOS.


> Now Facebook can ad ads featuring your friend's faces in games... and free 3d games if you just watch a 15 second ad for every five minutes that you play...

But that might be fairly easy to compete with, perhaps, and so people would, if the situation you described came to be, just think "this is ridiculous" and maybe not buy an Occulus Rift. Sony's working on something similar.

That said, my interest in the project also just took a severe beating. I'm kind of done with Facebook, I don't want to be a part of it but I should keep an eye on it. Maybe Facebook will allow the product to become what its makers are intending. Or, maybe they'd require you to have, say, a Facebook account for, some reason, in which case I wouldn't really be interested in the product.


No need to buy it if the device is free or very low-price and has capabilities.

Free headset, just sign this agreement that gives Facebook all your eye tracking data that shows exactly what you are interested in looking at at millisecond resolution.


It's still a $300 visor. Ads would be ridiculous unless he can find some crazy scheme to make it count as a mobile phone for Verizon.

Oculus is still predominately a relatively small hardware and low-level software centric company. I wouldn't be surprised if he were trying to leverage his company's app-making experience to create a suite of new functionality for it outside the realm of video games and gimmicky proofs of concept.

Also, Facebook uses video. Facebook will need 3D integration once the first 3D video feeds start coming down for this thing. Is 2 billion worth it to have early access to the most important emerging technology in Zuck's new favorite space? Yes. Yes it is.

That said, I have no idea how 3D video chat will work with a giant screen strapped on top of my face.


As soon as this whole shebang turns out to be good or bad I'm going to point to your comment, reitzensteinm, as having called the result first. People will extol your prescience from misty dale to cloud-tipped mountain top.

Three cheers for the ambivalent future of Facereality and Oculusbook!


Sorry to have to ask, but which was the GAE thread? I tried searching for it and havent found it. A link or the rough title regarding it would be helpful - thanks!


The reason why people haven't commented yet because we can't find the words. I have no immediate idea what can FB do with Oculus VR, even if I read Zuck's comments.


This is the first indication, to me at least, that Facebook is going to be pursuing the "Bell Labs" style strategy that Google has been. For example, self-driving cars and robots are great new technologies and industries but have less than obvious connections to Googles core business. Facebook now would seem to be doing the same.


That was my thought as well. Just like Microsoft long ago diversified into hardware and services, and Google is doing Calico, self-driving cars, etc. FB sees value in the diversification strategy. I'm doubting they'll be doing Facebook logins or "post to your timeline" stuff with this anytime soon, if ever. Facebook is trying to get more fingers in more pies, which makes perfect sense.

As far as Oculus goes, this probably takes a whole heap of pressure off of them. Now they can act like one of the units of Bell, and just work on the thing, rather than worrying about pleasing investors or turning a profit anytime soon. Assuming FB doesn't do anything crazy, this will only help them and the tech.

Edit: the thing that should be worrying both companies is the potential developer backlash. Not everyone loves FB, as the comments here attest. Perhaps an investment rather than an acquisition would have stirred up less vitriol.


I don't think they're "great new technologies" so much as "pie in the sky" goal-spread diversification that shareholders like to see. There is a cultural aspect of the stock market where a range of goals is seen as more stable than, you know, getting real good at search and ads.

I suspect this in Facebook-OVR. FB might ruin it, a la Yahoo-Flickr, or leave them alone, but Facebook isn't really making headlines these days, and OVR is, so now every OVR story will now have to mention Facebook. It may not turn out this way, but there's no reason why the pairing has to be tightly coupled.


I actually had the opposite impression of stock investors, that they vastly preferred the "just getting better at what you do" than "pie-in-the-sky", but that's just an impression.

Tightly-coupled Facebook-OVR would shock me, definitely.


The problem with that strategy is that Facebook doesn't have the same firm financial foothold that allows Google and Microsoft to burn cash on moonshot projects. Facebook is profitable but ~$7b in revenue leaves less margin for error than Google's ~$59b or Microsoft's ~$77b.


I view this more as eBay buying Skype - no clear synergy (at least yet - I'll keep watching), unlikely to yield any. To me, this is a silly acquisition - if I was a shareholder, I'd be angry that they spent $2b on this. Of course, after you spend $19b or so on Whatsapp, anything smaller suddenly seem reasonable. :)


> But this is just the start. 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.

> 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.

This seems like the money quote. Basically they want to have everyone share virtual experiences together within your network.


> Basically they want to have everyone share virtual experiences together within your network.

Over proprietary facebook-only protocols, on their proprietary software, using proprietary device drivers, with systemic data collection, and virtual reality advertising.

Yeah, no thanks. Occulus was poised to be revolutionary because it was going to be bigger than one headset, it was going to be an open platform for an entire generation of VR tech. Now, it is only facebook tech, and that is a shame.


What is the wonderland you live in that makes you think an insanely expensive platform (yes for the average person the Oculus is crazy expensive) with expensive to create content and little use outside a static environment would be open forever? Can you name anything massively successful with wide adoption that has those features?

If it wasn't facebook it would have been Google/Msft/etc...

The vitriol to this announcement is really staggering given the whole hacker ethos around here. Both of these two CEOs are by this community's standards the most hacker of the hacker.


I wouldn't have hated this deal much if it was Microsoft.


I think that is just a sign of the times and has nothing to do with any real fundamental differences.

Hackers HATED MSFT only a decade ago - and many still do - and they do just as much shady crap as facebook does.

The whole hate here is irrational in my opinion.


There are few reasons, Microsoft is not bad in gaming. They have Xbox/Kinect and they understand gaming. They are also not making money from user's data by tracking them by whatever means necessary. I also respect Microsoft Research that does some cool tech research that does not necessary get into their products. Social network companies are simply creepy because they make money off of your behaviors and Facebook is doing it as their primary business.


Remind me what did they do for (and with) PC gaming in the last 10 years.And how do you know they aren't making data of tracking you? What do you think Bing is about? Or their massive push towards the POWER OF THE CLOUD? Or the extremely closed Windows Phone platform?


To be honest, this announcement made me realize how much what I was expecting was unrealistic. Sometimes you believe in miracles.

For the other company that I wouldn't have minded buying them, I'd say Valve getting back their CTO, Sony ready to provide the only VR platform of the market and using Oculus as a test bed, or even Samsung or Intel.


> Occulus was poised to be revolutionary because it was going to be bigger than one headset, it was going to be an open platform for an entire generation of VR tech. Now, it is only facebook tech, and that is a shame

Oculus was and is a hardware company, with plans to expand their content marketplace (share.oculusvr.com). I do not see how Oculus was an open platform for VR tech, that's giving them too much credit.


What's to prevent more open initiatives to also benefit from a possibly huge uptick in development on VR now that Facebook put it's weight behind it?

Don't get me wrong, I'm just as upset about this news as most people here seem to be, I'm just trying to see different perspectives, as I'm not quite cynical enough to think that Oculus VR only did this for the money...


> What's to prevent more open initiatives to also benefit from a possibly huge uptick in development on VR now that Facebook put it's weight behind it?

Probably Facebook patent trolling. That is the problem with modern innovation - if you are late to the party you get shut out and crushed by the legal bullshit. Any new player would somehow have to navigate around any patent Oculus / Sony / Valve / etc has on similar technologies.


Hmm, yeah, that could be a serious issue.

Would there be a chance that Oculus included in the deal some stipulations about this?


I'm not a huge fan of FB either, but IMO, actually looking at it that way is kind of exciting. Imagine Oculus VR + Project Tango = "experience" physical places you otherwise might not. Or if it could be used to shop Amazon Fresh as a regular grocery store (sometimes I don't know exactly what I need/want, and I like just walking through the aisles to see)? There's a lot that this could potentially open up if used as a connectivity/communication hardware; but I agree, that they should nail down their core competency first before pursuing other use-cases.


Except Tango didn't come from Facebook.Facebook has never made anything new aside from new standards in marketing and scummery. Google at least sometimes toy with the idea of things being open and is heavily investing in R&D other than just "where to place the ad so that it's always seen".


The irony for me is that interacting with other people is the last reason I want a Rift. I want a fully immersive total escape from reality. When I play games, the last thing I want to be is "social."


I'll hazard a guess, though Zuckerburg more or less lays it out. They'll create the Metaverse (as described in Snow Crash), but they'll own it. You will meet virtually with friends on the Facebook platform, and they will own it all the way through to the consumer hardware.


Just like Caprica.


Definitely. Just put on your holoband and enter the V-Space. Brought to you by Graystone/Facebook Industries.


Or Second Life...


Facebook knows that Facebook.com is toping off. It wants to spread its reach. I really don't think there will be any crossover between Oculus and Facebook, just like there isen't any crossover between Windows and XBox.


There isn't a crossover today. There will be, if/when Oculus-like devices replace television viewing, and other shared vicarious experiences.


Facebook needs to move to Oculus, not try to tie Oculus to what Facebook currently is. If they're thinking more that way, there's hope. I have very little faith in them allowing anything remotely awesome to come out of this, though.


Social gaming on Facebook -> Play VR games with Facebook friends.

I bet rules that limited other social games from promoting themselves on Facebook won't be as stringent as for Oculus games.


Windows and XBox have a strong crossover in DirectX


Not to mention that XBox is powered by a modified version of Windows.


I can control my Xbox from my Windows PC.


Best early random guess is this is defensive against Google Glass. Basically the world is going to stay mobile but the form factor will move from phones to glasses. FB won't be caught lagging this time (like they did from Web to Mobile).


This was also my first thought. The value proposition is basically, "Google Glass."


I don't think so, for two basic reasons:

1. Despite similarity in the fundamental form factor, Glass and the Oculus Rift are trying to solve pretty different engineering problems. Rift is all about trying to be low latency, capture motion accurately, and be sufficiently high resolution to make an experience feel immersive. Glass is about battery life, hardware miniaturization, and a display that you can see in daylight without it obscuring your vision. While, if both products were successful, they might eventually start to converge towards each other, owning one does not really help you solve the challenges of the other.

2. Facebook is threatened by Google Glass now? Glass has really, really failed to take off and become a big thing. It's hard for me to imagine that Facebook felt the need to do a multi-billion dollar acquisition to position themselves defensively against a product whose main accomplishment is coining the term "glassholes." Facebook manufactures its own opprobrium in house, very successfully. They don't need to acquire it.


Google Glass's proposition is fundamentally "wearable Facebook". I don't think this is a defensive move; it's a "Oh, it's obvious in hindsight; why aren't we doing that, too?" response. Oculus Rift wasn't competing against it, but a Facebook-owned Oculus Rift is a lot more likely to.

In effect, Facebook is asking for the second mover position. There's an old saw about how the first mover in a new market actually fails because he runs into all the problems, but the second mover succeeds because he learns from the first mover's mistakes. That could easily be happening here.


right, that's why pure software companies now need to get into hardware, just like, erm, who exactly? do they want to be the next apple?

hardware is such a different skill and mindset than software, it's not even funny.


I don't understand your point. Were you railing on Google when they bought Nest?


I said: "well, stick in a fork in Nest then." Does that count? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7053838


Yes! As long as you're consistent.


I think its about the fact that very few software companies can simply birth a hardware engineering division like Google. Its arguable that even Google struggles with it at times.

For a software-oriented company such as Facebook and a fairly new one and not the greatest on the balance sheet, its undoubtedly much harder for them to enter the hardware space than Google.


Have you no IMAGINATION!? Can't you picture a Farmville where you can actually see the teats on the cow right in front of you? See the corn waving in a virtual breeze? Best of all, see a beautifully rendered image of your money go up in flames each time you make an in-game purchase!


Well it only got posted 8 minutes ago. Still, there's no shortage of garbage comments in the thread here already.


They have some of the best engineers and VPs in their space, huge hype, mindshare, and by all accounts a kick-ass product.

Forget why Facebook is interested, I don't get why Oculus would even consider selling for 10% of a WhatsApp. Their star was rising if anyone's ever was.


Star rising vs star risen.

WhatsApp was already a star. It had millions of users and was the "go to" app for communication in many countries. We forget that here in NA. Oculus, as cool as it is, still doesn't have a huge customer/user database.


WhatsApp was something essentially fungible with things we already had and things which can be built relatively easily. Decent-quality consumer VR was not that.


I don't see how you're really addressing the point, the idea is that Occulus Rift's star risen would be way way more valuable then WhatsApp ever could hope to be. We all know they still have a journey in front of them, but the idea is they could have kept going on their own, and you know, had a star risen moment vs getting acquired before a general consumer product was released.

But, you get a couple hundred million users that make next to no revenue and will be incredibly difficult to monetize and your star has risen. Pretty hard to compete with that rock solid proven model I guess.


I tend to disagree. Facebook is worth billions and they created a business of sharing photos and status updates. WhatsApp allows you to do this as well, but on the mobile platform that has escaped Facebook's grasp. WhatsApp is a hugely successful piece of software that fits within Facebooks portfolio very nicely. It also doesn't come with huge overhead, something like 20 engineers keep WhatsApp running. You don't have to speculate that WhatsApp (and it's 1/2 billion user base) is worth money.

On the other hand you have a hardware startup with no customers and an unproven product. Sure they have sold a bunch of dev kit's, but those are far from being ready for the consumer market. In addition to not having a customers, they have Sony building a similar product and remember that Sony already has hardware in millions of homes and therefore roll out would be much easier. Occulus might build a great product, but competition is going to be much harder given Sony's pursuit. I would argue that Occulus has proven to be an innovative and smart company, but in no means have they proven to be a successful business and therefore their "star has not risen" just yet. Speculation on future value is much harder with Occulus and has too many "ifs" and therefore, currently, Occulus is not worth anything close to the $19B paid for WhatsApp.


[deleted]


The value proposition and technology growth for Oculus seems far more valuable than WhatsApp,

In not so sure. I don't doubt that Oculus Rift will dominate the first wave of rich, western virtual reality headsets. But there's no guarantee they will continue to do, and its going to be a long time before virtual reality is accessible to a vast number of people around the world.

WhatsApp was as valuable as it was because it runs everywhere, including cheap feature phones you find in Africa and India.


Also, WhatsApp replaced something that many people hated on several levels - Ridiculously overpriced, phone company sponsored text messaging. Rift combats no such villain.


No kidding. Their name is Oculus. They are, literally, eyeballs.


This is extremely disappointing. This technology had the potential to be much bigger than Facebook. The Occulus was poised to create an entirely new industry. They were pioneering a technology never before seen, with a legend like John Carmack pushing the state of the art.

I cannot think of a more colossal mistake to make as a founder. Palmer Luckey has shown he has absolutely no faith in his ability nor that of his team. Occulus had nothing but success in their future. They had investors beating down their doors with money, developers begging for their latest and greatest, and consumers itching to grab hold of their product.

Facebook is the antithesis to Occulus. They have never created any technology, they add zero value to the the real world, and have no future potential in the long run. Occulus selling to Facebook would have been like Tesla selling to Proctor and Gamble after they released the Roadster. A company with a technology so radical it can change the industry, succumbing to weakness and cashing out to an old money company that has no expertise in the field, in exchange for killing their product.

I am filled with sadness and disappointment. I believe Palmer Luckey will regret this decision.


> Facebook ... adds zero value to the real world

Do you really think that? I use it every day and maintain connections with people in geographically diverse places on every continent that otherwise I would not share my life with. I am watching the children of friends grow up. I feel more connected to more people than ever in my life. My childhood friends I thought were in my past are now with me every day. Facebook brings me enormous real world value. I'd probably even pay a monthly fee to use it, if it was so.


I'm not excited about this news either, but let's say Oculus doesn't do this. What if, in two years, Valve have a similar product out there, with more convincing immersion and their existing community and game contacts. And Sony have Morpheus pushed to PS4 fans and their existing developer contacts. And for those two years, Oculus have moved along with their existing community and existing funding.

Maybe they wanted the certainty (from almost anyone) that they could ramp things up and make sure they were strong and first out there?


If Occulus didn't do this deal, they:

- Would have had access to unlimited VC money by being one of Kickstarter's hardware darlings, having John Carmack, and putting out an series of critically acclaimed products in the form of dev-kits

- Would have been able to grow their open platform, which allows direct access to developers from all markets, not just FB/Sony/Valve or other closed systems

- Would have the power and autonomy to guarantee developers that they were all equally important, and that their needs would be the company's top priority

- Would have the potential to create an ecosystem leading to an entirely new industry, not unlike Tesla Roadster, the iPod/iPhone/iPad, etc.

Now? They've destroyed their reputation with developers by guaranteeing they'll be second class citizens to FB's financial interests, by sacrificing all of their autonomy. They've exchanged all of the future potential of their company for $2B.

Look at it this way, Snapchat declined $4B for their trivial messaging app. Yet Occulus, which has so much potential, folded at a measly $2B?

It's just a damn shame.


Maybe it's the AAA developers that are worth all the money and not the rest? Maybe their Series A and B investors changed their mind about looming threats and were keen to get cash fast?

Also, remember that Valve's technology is apparently excellent and they also have the ear of developers.

(Don't get me wrong, I don't like this development at all. DK1 owner, but I don't use Facebook.)


>>I believe Palmer Luckey will regret this decision.

Absolutely. He has lost all credibility he had gained with such a cult following. I don't think he would be able to repeat it with the gamers and supporters again.


Devil's advocate here:

Which is bigger, the gamer and supporter group you speak of, or the facebook user base?


There is a difference between a fan base and a user base.


Why on earth would Oculus sell at all, least of all to Facebook? What possible reason could Facebook have to purchase a company so far removed from its core competency?

People in the /r/oculus reddit are already expressing strong feelings of betrayal - eighty comments in under ten minutes, none positive.

What a bizarre move.


"Facebook is the biggest name in social media." -> "Google, another tech powerhouse, is trying to push their social media offerings." -> "Google has 3 things that Facebook does not: Email, Youtube, and Glass." -> "Facebook is comfortable with the first two, since they have been there for years, but Glass is threatening to them." -> "Facebook needs their own 'Glass', in case Glass pans out."

My prediction: Glass will not pan out for Google, and Oculus Rift with languish with Facebook as a result. Facebook may put out some half-hearted "Use a Rift to view your friends 3d panoramas of their vacation" nonsense that nobody will care about, and the industry will be put off VR for another half-decade at least.


This speaks to a fundamental misunderstanding of the two products. Oculus Rift is about bringing hyper-immersive 3D to the wearer, Google Glass is about moving the Google interface to the eyeball. It's like comparing a 4k TV to a Chromebook. Both are outstanding products, but there's little actual value-proposition overlap. I would hate to think that the Facebook board was equally ignorant of the differences and didn't just buy into "Google has a thing for the face, we need a thing for the face! We're Facebook after all!"

I'm less worried about folks being turned off of VR - That Oculus has such great traction means that other big tech manufacturers won't be too far behind emulating their display technology and coming out with competing products at lower pricing than the VR. At least one of them will actually be decent enough to sell well.


I completely understand the difference between the two products. I've used both, though own neither.

They are two very different products but I maintain that they represent two different approaches to the same problem, pushing us past our current understanding of what I/O devices are. Google Glass is a push into the unknown, Facebook may not agree that it is in the right approach, but you are kidding yourself if they aren't looking at Google and wondering why they are not pushing I/O bounds as well. They're both looking for "the next smartphone", trying to determine what that will be.

The industry has been turned off of VR in the past by botched executions, and I am afraid it can happen again.


In the future, both will be important and will likely merge. If someone can make goggles which can switch between immersive VR and AR, they will do well. I think approaching this from the VR side rather than AR could be tougher and best in the long run.

Oculus has will be the thing that teenagers use to hang out online in the future. Something like Second Life will replace Instagram which replaced Facebook which replaced tying up the landline talking for hours each evening with the BFF.


I also think that the technologies will eventually merge, but due to current physical limitations in display technology I am not convinced that this is imminent. I'd guesstimate it at 15+ years. Adding and subtracting to incoming light, and doing it so that you can convincingly blend the two (allowing you to convincingly overpaint something that is bright in the real world with something that is dark in your virtual space while also allowing you to overpaint something that is dark in the real world with something that is bright in virtual space) is a difficult problem to solve. Probably some sort of hybrid LCD/AMOLED tech could do it.. but I haven't even heard of prototypes for this yet.


So Facebook has a search engine ?


> "Google has 3 things [relevant to social] that Facebook does not: Email, Youtube, and Glass."

Facebook also doesn't have their own GAE or self-driving car program, but those aren't particularly relevant to Facebook's core business.


You can't be saying that a search engine wouldn't be relevant to "Facebook's core business" which is data gathering. Can't you admit that you forgot something ?


Agreed it's bizarre from Facebook's perspective.

But completely logical from Oculus' perspective -- if someone offers you $2B to cash out before you've even launched, you'd be silly to say no.


Now that is the mentality that's killing companies.


Say that to Elon Musk. Imagine the inventors using this money in the same way Musk did. If they do (or at least try) I'd say humanity comes out on top - even though this killed our dream of VR in the near future.


It's Carmack. It's possible he'll use the money to restart Armadillo, doing pretty much exactly what Musk did!


How many Elon Musks are there? Most billionaires seem to spend their money on fancy yachts and high-profile charity projects that make them look superior to their peers. Few are deploying their resources to push the technological envelope.


Although I don't agree with you about their motives (wrt just trying to look superior to their peers), I won't argue that point.

But even if you think their motives behind the charity are selfish, don't discount the effects.

How many Einsteins, von Neumans, Ramanujans, or Musks (pick your genius of choice, really) are stillborn in the developing world because of malaria or HIV? How many never achieve their potential because of malnutrition or polio?

If the Gates Foundation eradicates malaria and polio, and we get a few more world-changing geniuses out of it, they'll have done much more to push the technological envelope than any other endeavor.


I'm not going to argue that eradicating malaria is a bad thing, but it's inaccurate to infer that the only thing preventing the worlds extreme poor from being leaders of industry is good health.


> Now that is the mentality that's killing companies.

So Paul Graham selling Viaweb to Yahoo and starting Y Combinator is an example of "killing companies"?


What's Viaweb?


The company PG co-founded that was acquired by Yahoo (giving PG the money to eventually become a VC) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viaweb


Well, this is the mentality that's allowing somebody have 2B in cash now…


I can't say I'm the type of founder to say no but I'm glad they exist. They're the ones who disrupt entire industries.


Does it really always have to be about money? This is just stupid.


Try having none for a while. It's hard to stand by "principles" when you aren't eating. A lot of people are very, very afraid of stuff like that, even if they have not suffered in a long time or never really, truly suffered but maybe their parents grew up hungry and instilled in them terror of doing without.

I mean, some folks stand by their principles. But, seriously, it's not easy.


Oculus wasn't exactly starving for cash, and even if they were investors would have beaten each other to death for a chance to pour some cash into it.


Google is also investing heavily into stuff thats far from their core competency, like robots and self driving cars. I just hope FB don't mess with it too much in the next few years.


Maybe this is my personal bias showing, but surely Google is more of a general technology company than Facebook could hope to be.

Google has a long-term, sustainable business that continually makes huge strides in new markets - from revolutionising search, to speeding up the evolution of the internet through projects like Chrome, smashing up the smartphone market with Android, and so on. Facebook on the other hand is a pretty good social network that seems to have hit its peak and is difficult to monetise, where the only strides that are taken appear to be buying companies with overlapping userbases in order to cling on to relevance.

Okay, that's definitely my personal bias showing.


Google has been around for 6 years more than Facebook. Facebook will become more of a general technology company.

Expect more acquisitions like this. It only makes sense to diversify.


The only part of Google that's ever made money is their ads. Chrome and Android are purely defensive.


Facebook has a lot of talent and can easily compete with Google on new technology sectors


> What possible reason could Facebook have to purchase a company so far removed from its core competency?

yeah, what's next? zuck buying spacex so you can visit friends on the moon?


> What possible reason could Facebook have to purchase a company so far removed from its core competency?

I would imagine Facebook feels under pressure to build up a core hardware engineering team. It's pretty clear that embedded and wearable computing is going to be a huge industry at some point in the future, and Facebook is going to need to get into that industry unless it wants to be indebted to and reliant upon hardware manufacturers.

So really, this acquisition makes sense for the same kind of reasons Google acquiring Nest makes sense - neither company has strong expertise or experience in consumer electronics hardware, and they need it going forward.


After the shock from this announcement I'm starting to drum up how and what Facebook are going to be doing with VR. Secondlife-esque world hub for all your freemium games; experience a "friend's life" through interactive media generated based on user data; a step above video-conferences by use of VR - challenging Skype, Google Hangout, et al., with a killer feature?

I think this may for the best for the future of VR. We know the gaming industry will use VR at some point and we know how they'll use it for the most part. It's a discussion well established in our popular culture. The potential innovation of VR as a medium would more likely happen with a company like Facebook rather than one like Valve.


Maybe they see the rift as being a disruptor of the gaming industry, which is increasingly social (which has been very profitable for Facebook), and...oh I don't know. It's confusing.

I don't know how I feel about it, from a personal standpoint, and I don't understand it from a business perspective. Oculus don't really have an idea of how big/small the market is for the product yet, even.

Bah. I still want a DK2, and I still love what Oculus have done for VR.


I'm assuming that Facebook, given its size, has at least some leverage over the W3 standards committee. Imagine VR integration inside the browser (at least for positional tracking and latency mitigation).


I think Notch of Minecraft fame just cemented the folly of this in a Tweet a second ago:

> "We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out."

The guy literally just visited Carmack (whom he admits is his idol) and the Oculus team less than a couple weeks ago, and kept mentioning how excited he was to start working on new VR games. I think this says a mouthful.


How much does Notch have to do with Minecraft these days? I thought it he was working on his space game.


Notch is a founder and owner of Mojang, the company that owns and produces Minecraft.

And his space game has apparently been on hold for months.


Right, but from what I last heard, Jeb has been the maintainer with full creative control of Minecraft.


Notch isn't developing, but it's ultimately his IP. He's made over $100M in licensing deals on the brand alone. I'm sure he's going to be the shotcaller (if not just a providing a massive influence) for any large-scale potential deals involving it.

Even with that aside, he's a massive figure in the game development community. A lot of people respect him and look up to him for making out huge in the Indie game in industry pretty much of his own accord. His opinion is pivotal.


Yes, Jeb seems to be the technical lead on Minecraft these days.

But I believe that Notch and his partners still make all the calls for the company at large. While his declaration seems a bit brusque, I think the Mojang guys have quite a bit of pride in being an independent company that has done well and may wish to clearly make their corporate philosophy known.


I'm starting to think that fb thinks their stock is overvalued, and that they should buy as many things as they can before the price drops.


Yes this is exactly what's happening. They are turning into a holding company, this is just even more diversified than WhatsApp. FB's business model cannot justify the FB stock price, they are effectively using money people thought (wrongly) they were investing in social media and deploying it to better use because they know FB's revenue model is not going to live up to investors expectations long term. I can see the Bloomberg tomorrow stirring up excitement for FB's retail investors so they won't take a hard look at the numbers they actually invested in.


What would you do if you were FB? As people have said, they may just be pulling an AOL, which sucked for TW's shareholders but was great for AOL's.


Their PE ratio is ~106, they'd be crazy not to take advantage of that.


They should buy Time Warner. Or merge with AOL (oops).


Oops, sorry, didn't mean to downvote


From Facebook investor relations, looks like the price was $2B, $400MM cash, $1.6 stock, with options on $300MM more.

> Facebook today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Oculus VR, Inc., the leader in immersive virtual reality technology, for a total of approximately $2 billion. This includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (valued at $1.6 billion based on the average closing price of the 20 trading days preceding March 21, 2014 of $69.35 per share). The agreement also provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones.


So they don't even have the money yet and have already lost 1.6 / 69.35 * 64.5 billion = 112 million.

Good start.


Who doesn't have the money yet?


This is probably the most forward-thinking move that Facebook can make. I've personally been kicking around ideas about what society will look like in a post-VR revolution world, and it seems that Zuck et. al. have come to the same conclusion that I have, namely, it will change what it means to interact socially with others.

Imagine a 10 year high school reunion that exists not in the old gymnasium, but in a virtual space where you can catch up with them.

Imagine sitting in the front row of the next presidential debate, where you can see the sweat forming on the candidate's brow under the lights. You can look over and talk to your friend sitting next to you without disturbing the action.

Imagine being able to tour a facebook friend's new apartment without leaving your chair.

This is super duper exciting, but I hope that Facebook doesn't kill it.


> Imagine a 10 year high school reunion that exists not in the old gymnasium, but in a virtual space where you can catch up with them.

Why do people keep saying stuff like this? It doesn't sound good or exciting at all. It sounds about as exciting as video calls, QR codes, and NFC payments. Which is to say, utterly lacking in creative vision and not of benefit to humanity.

VR has a real shot at transforming part of the gaming landscape. That's where the exciting stuff will happen — and it won't even change all of gaming, just a small and focused subset.


Or Zuckerberg's examples: seeing an avatar of your doctor in 3D, or your classmates in a classroom. It's got the whole "imagine a fridge that can tweet you when your milk is about to expire!" smell of having to work far too hard to come up with something interesting-sounding.

I think the reason people were excited was that this could have be something transformative - a new sensory conduit into our brains. And I think the disappointment is to have that be replaced by something so mired in the same-old same-old. A stereoscopic rendering of the world as it already is, by a player that's practially a figurehead of lack of innovation (other than in ops management and revenue models).


> Imagine a 10 year high school reunion that exists not in the old gymnasium, but in a virtual space where you can catch up with them.

And you offer one of them a hug and then pause and realize, "Oh yeah. I'm just sitting at home by myself again. Just like high school."

> Imagine sitting in the front row of the next presidential debate, where you can see the sweat forming on the candidate's brow under the lights. You can look over and talk to your friend sitting next to you without disturbing the action.

And now I have no hope for American democracy. It is dead.


> And now I have no hope for American democracy. It is dead.

I know HN has a natural tendency towards wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I don't understand this reaction at all. Why would watching a debate from a virtual auditorium be any worse for democracy than watching it on TV?

Sometimes it feels like comment threads on here are secret competitions to see who can have the most extreme negative reaction.


> I know HN has a natural tendency towards wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I don't understand this reaction at all.

That's fair. I didn't bother explaining it since the details of implementing a democracy is a hobby horse of mine and dropping a couple paragraphs seemed... beside the point. But,

> Why would watching a debate from a virtual auditorium be any worse for democracy than watching it on TV?

It's not the act of watching that I'm criticizing here.

It's the fact that it's being venerated as remotely important. The mere suggestion that seeing a sweat drop on a presidential candidate's forehead is even passingly relevant to anyone is profoundly disturbing to me.


Presidential elections have been a "looks good on TV" contest since the first televised debate in 1960, when Nixon lost. 54 years later, there is no sign of that changing. Humans are humans - the soap opera is more important than the policies.


Why would you expect it to change? No one is trying to change it.


The real joke here is equating watching the debates with American democracy.

Almost nobody watches the debates, and if they do, it really doesn't matter, because they're constructed to be a mere smokescreen designed to sound good while committing to less than a gust of wind in the autumn.

Remember the last however many SOTU addresses where we were promised change and reform to our ever-crumbling empire?

Remember all the things that have changed for the better?


Imagine going on an epic ski run from your sofa. Or wheelchair.

Imagine jumping out of the Stratos like Felix Baumgartner, from your desk.

I wonder whether GoPro is working on a stereo vision headset (with microphones) so extreme athletes can capture what desk jockeys will play back on their Rifts, Walter Mitty style.

Edit: Imagine what playing Madden 2016 could be like.


Sorry to nitpick, but when you write "Imagine going on an epic ski run from your sofa" I have to wonder whether you've actually had an epic ski run. If you had, I think you'd agree that the primary senses that make it so incredibly enjoyable are kinesthetic and touch (feeling and responding to the texture of the snow), not visual or sound or anything that could be captured by a VR device.

This isn't to say that a recording like that would have no value, but it would only be a small step above watching a ski movie. And wheelchair users aren't excluded: paraplegics can use sit-skis to experience the real thing.


I've gone on mediocre ski runs, so I'll accept the nitpick. Here's another; My hunch is that the simulations will involve standing, leaning, hopping, etc, so the runs probably won't happen on a sofa.

I've certainly been amazed by the paraplegics I've seen on the slopes. I still think that more people will be able to afford the VR gear than will be able to afford traveling to slopes, buying lift tickets, real gear, $10 sandwiches and $3 apples.


My goodness all of that sounds so depressing. Exactly what kind of handcuffs are you going for here? Either way, you end up f$&#ed.


Oh, whatever. What I really want is a teleporter, this is the next best thing.


Wow, I never saw Jon Carmack working for Zuck. To be honest, they aren't even in the same league. This makes me a sad panda.


Suck has a hundre John Carmacks (of various fields) working for him


Which is sad because in the end Facebook is all about showing ads to people who don't want to see them.


Rather the opposite - Facebook want to show adverts only to the people who want to see them. Anything else is just stupid, why on earth would anyone pay to advertise to people who don't want to see my adverts?


Does anybody actually like seeing ads when they are browsing around Facebook? Who thinks to themselves 'I feel like buying something, let's log in to Facebook and maybe a random ad will come up for something that I want'. If people want to spend money, don't they just search for it or hit up Amazon? I wonder, if given the option to show adverts when you first sign up - how many people would select it?


Wrong. They show adverts based on personal information (groups, friends, events, etc.) used incredulously to target folks of interest. That doesn't mean that person wants to see an ad regarding a band they have on their profile.


Not anymore.


Well just think of Facebook's next product. They make everyone wear VR headsets, then sell "in your face" ads.

They will make billions :(


Can you name 5 of those 100?


But there is only one guy who created Doom :)

That game entertained and inspired (arguably) an entire generation of future geeks like most of us.


Google does, but Facebook? Names?


Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Now with the new "Live your friends life timeline feature, you can virtually live anyone elses life being projected right into your own set of VR goggles!"

Ok so that is the dystopian view :-(. I really don't get this move yet, much to process. I suppose 'hang out with your friends in a virtual bar'? concepts?


There is much more money to be made in 'dystopian' tech than there would be with 'utopian' tech.



I am astonished. I wonder if John Carmack could have ever imagined he'd work for Facebook.


I'll be surprised if John stays on past his golden handcuff period. The amount of money he stands to make after joining Oculus less than a year ago is certainly large.


He's in the lucky position of being able to pick pretty much any project he wants to work on and be accepted. From what I know about him, the thing he really cares about is pushing the tech forward, and as long as Oculus VR can do that, he'll stay on board. If he gets too stifled there, he'll probably jump ship over to another VR project.

I sincerely hope this is a good thing for Oculus, but it could definitely go badly too...


A virtual reality game console deeply integrated with facebook? What could go wrong there?


How about a Snow Crash-style Metaverse?


Already exists. It's called Second Life.


And this is excellent news for the potential resurrection of Armadillo Aerospace, perhaps..


I'm guessing he wasn't really lacking funds before that either.


Installing Oculus VR USB drivers...

Please login using your Facebook account to continue.

Email: ________

Password: ________


This, absolutely this. I just can't comprehend why anyone with such a great buzz around their fledgling product would get into bed with FB, dooming their work to ad-riddled nonsense.


Yeah, like Instagram has become.


Resources, existing userbase of billions that are already familiar with the parent.


That was my exact thought. I had been waiting for the consumer version; now I'm thinking I'd better get the unencumbered dev kit.


I don't want a "general-purpose VR headset". There are already many devices described that way (that work well enough for that purpose.) I wanted something built exclusively for the extreme requirements of gaming, and I feel this acquisition is going to distract the Oculus team from that. Facebook has no experience whatsoever in that domain, and the only way I see Oculus benefiting from this is the huge cash reserves they'll have access to once acquired. Truth be told, I was really hoping they'd get acquired by Valve - that'd strengthen their existing partnership (which I'm sure will cease to exist post acquisition), give them a good team to work with wrt. videogames and VR in general, and put them in an environment where their core focus is the same as that of their parent company. In this case, if the "experiment" fails, Facebook will almost certainly dump the project. Every time someone says "... we're going to make X a platform" before they actually have X, a kitten dies somewhere. There are still technical issues with the Oculus headset, and I'm afraid Facebook's "platform" focus is going to draw attention away from that. In short, I don't see this working. If fact, if Oculus fails, it might set the entire VR industry back several years. Luckily, we still have some hope in the form of Valve.

What a waste. I hate Facebook for doing this. And I'm not too happy with Oculus for accepting this either.


Facebook has no experience whatsoever in that domain, and the only way I see Oculus benefiting from this is the huge cash reserves they'll have access to once acquired.

There's a lot of infrastructure that a gaming company needs in 2014 that doesn't have that much to do with Oculus's core gaming focus and that Facebook has very direct experience with. Look at how long it took Sony to get remotely competitive with the Xbox's interface; look at powerhouses like EA and Nintendo embarrass themselves year after year. System UX, payments, network scaling, "social", building a customer friendly game marketplace. I don't think these are the areas Luckey, Carmack and company can't wait to work on in the morning, but they're perfectly suited to Facebook.

In a better case scenario, I can see Facebook (or Apple or Google, to be fair) helping Oculus build another Steam competitor years sooner than otherwise imaginable. Imagine if there were two brilliant companies competing to push the envelope on Linux gaming.


There doesn't seem to be that much difference between a good general-purpose VR headset and a good gaming-focussed one though. The refresh rate, positioning accuracy, latency and so on have to hit a certain high standard or you simply have a bad, non-immersive and likely sickness-inducing VR headset. (So the situation is very different from monitors: 60Hz and high latency is "good enough" for general-purpose monitor use but poor for competitive gaming.) If anything non-gaming applications may be more demanding when it comes to resolution: games can manage with 1080p but it's not really sufficient for reading text, viewing photos and so on.


I think this bothers me the most. Us gamers had our shiny new toy and then it got taken away so everybody can play with it now. I bet Facebook will figure out a way to subsidize this to get it in all of their user's hands and then gaming will take a big backseat to the Facebook Experience (TM).


Here is John Carmack's response from twitter:

> For the record, I am coding right now, just like I was last week.I expect the FB deal will avoid several embarrassing scaling crisis for VR.

> I can't follow the volume of tweets today, so if you want a real answer to something, try in a couple days after things die down.

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

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


Surely the fact that he didn't have a Facebook account yet says something.


I just saw his twitter account as well- the HN/reddit reaction is awesome.


Facebook is today what Microsoft was in the '90s. With a soaring stock price and a solid, if somewhat staid, core product that enjoys a near monopoly in crucial markets, the company looks for nebulous long-term innovation by buying interesting startups in various fields and promising them near-term independence.

Microsoft's shopping spree included companies like WebTV, Hotmail, Softimage and Bungie. Maybe Facebook will also splurge on a game studio soon.


Someone shared this with me with the words "RIP Oculus."

Can the megacorps please stop eating our young? Microsoft has a terrible history of buying up companies and then killing the project for some reason. Posterous got bought (I don't recall by whom) and killed. These big companies tend to not develop this stuff. They just eat it.


I completely agree with the sentiment.

However, if FB screws this up, it leaves an even more wide open market for other new start-ups to dive in and make a big dent in virtual reality. The technology is ready, there's absolutely nothing that can stop what's coming, whether FB screws them up or not VR is here and it's primed.


I don't think it's fair to blame the megacorps and not the companies that are selling out. All these startups talk a good game about being cutting edge, disruptive, a passionate place to work etc. but it's all BS. Engineers work their asses off working on something they believe in and the minute some megacorp waves a big check in front of the founders they sell out. They might be passionate about their product but they are still more passionate about giant piles of money.

It's stuff like this that makes me not want to work for a startup. These guys had a great business. Everyone loved their product. Even the people who got physically sick from using it still thought it was cool and wanted them to succeed. They had a perfectly viable company that could have been very profitable on its own. But hey who wants all the responsibility and work of having your own profitable company when you can just sell out...

Let's not even get into how unethical it is to use something like KickStarter to get you started and then turn around and sell out for billions a couple years later before you even ship a consumer product.


My comment elsewhere in this discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7469426

Not justifying it. Just saying if you are David, Goliath can be awfully hard to stand up to, psychologically, especially if Goliath is offering you money rather than looking to kill you (even though, long term, the result may be the death of your company).


Posterous got bought by Twitter, I believe


OcculusVR is dead. Can someone make a new Oculus VR that focuses on video games and not enabling Facebook to control everything you see. Get on it.


Sony's "Project Morpheus" is supposed to be on par with the current Oculus kit and it's explicitly intended to pair with the PlayStation 4.


People who have had the opportunity to see both the DK2 and the Morpheus have almost all thought the Morpheus a better device. I think Luckey et. al. saw the handwriting on the wall and sold for the best deal they could while they still could into a market where they won't need to compete with Sony, MS, and Google directly.

They have no magic and they know it. Sony will trounce them technologically. Not getting to market before Sony is a fatal shortfall. I think they knew all along that they'd fall short going toe to toe with the big guns. There is something about Luckey that has always said huckster to me.

On the other hand, games are but the miniscule tip of the tip of the VR iceberg and the new placement with respect to the larger market could benefit grownups like me why could give a rat's a about games and social but see endless passive entertainment possibilities. Of course, Sony is there to beat in those domains as well.


>"People who have had the opportunity to see both the DK2 and the Morpheus have almost all thought the Morpheus a better device."

Do you have any reputable links to support this?


With the current Oculus kit? You mean the dev-kit 1? Because I have one of those and aside from playing around developing games on it for when a real version is shipped, I wouldn't pay $25 for it. Now I'm super worried that Sony is going to ruin VR by giving us a shitty version that makes everyone hate VR again.


What I heard was that the display is on-par with the second dev kit. (My mistake calling it their current kit; that was misleading.) 1080p, smooth head tracking, no noticeable lag.


Too bad Sony is chucking everything not in their core business model overboard so they don't sink. That includes gaming.



This sounds like what Valve and Sony are working on.


Sony is doing that, and Valve should really be doing their own VR headset now. They already have all the research they need.


Ah, I get it! SecondLife 2.0 now with facebook integration.

Which may not be a bad idea on its own, but I don't think people would be that interested in it for a long time... (quicker/better/easier mobile integration is what people would appreciate imho) I may be completely wrong though, maybe it's the new thing.


I think that people would have been happier if it had been acquired by North Korea. I was seriously excited by OR, but for me personally its now DOA. It says a lot about a company that Sony is now the preferred alternative.

Everyone expecting an instant turn to the dark side are naive. This is going only one way:

1. Facebook will say "We're hands off".

2. They'll persuade Carmack to stay and they'll burn cash to make it dominant and in no way corrupted by FB or data capture.

3. Once dominant they'll slowly remove privacy from it and other things geeks and people who care hold important. Carmack will quietly move on to something interesting, and few will notice.

4. The rest of the population will stay with it as they don't know/care, and geeks and everyone else will need to use it even though they really would prefer not to.

Classic frog boiling situation.


Sony has a pretty good record when it comes to supporting gamers and not trying to get one on them at every chance... cough MS cough


Fuck. This pisses me off for some reason.


Same reaction here. I'd say more about my opinion of Facebook and Zuckerberg business capabilities and behaviour, but it would add nothing to a civil discussion...

EDIT: for some laughs have a read of the Kotaku thread on facebook : https://www.facebook.com/kotaku/posts/10102759696153589 people are not happy


Palmer Luckey (founder of Oculus VR) just wrote a statement[0] on the Oculus subreddit:

"I’ve always loved games. They’re windows into worlds that let us travel somewhere fantastic. My foray into virtual reality was driven by a desire to enhance my gaming experience; to make my rig more than just a window to these worlds, to actually let me step inside them. As time went on, I realized that VR technology wasn’t just possible, it was almost ready to move into the mainstream. All it needed was the right push. We started Oculus VR with the vision of making virtual reality affordable and accessible, to allow everyone to experience the impossible. With the help of an incredible community, we’ve received orders for over 75,000 development kits from game developers, content creators, and artists around the world. When Facebook first approached us about partnering, I was skeptical. As I learned more about the company and its vision and spoke with Mark, the partnership not only made sense, but became the clear and obvious path to delivering virtual reality to everyone. Facebook was founded with the vision of making the world a more connected place. Virtual reality is a medium that allows us to share experiences with others in ways that were never before possible. Facebook is run in an open way that’s aligned with Oculus’ culture. Over the last decade, Mark and Facebook have been champions of open software and hardware, pushing the envelope of innovation for the entire tech industry. As Facebook has grown, they’ve continued to invest in efforts like with the Open Compute Project, their initiative that aims to drive innovation and reduce the cost of computing infrastructure across the industry. This is a team that’s used to making bold bets on the future. In the end, I kept coming back to a question we always ask ourselves every day at Oculus: what’s best for the future of virtual reality? Partnering with Mark and the Facebook team is a unique and powerful opportunity. The partnership accelerates our vision, allows us to execute on some of our most creative ideas and take risks that were otherwise impossible. Most importantly, it means a better Oculus Rift with fewer compromises even faster than we anticipated. Very little changes day-to-day at Oculus, although we’ll have substantially more resources to build the right team. If you want to come work on these hard problems in computer vision, graphics, input, and audio, please apply! This is a special moment for the gaming industry — Oculus’ somewhat unpredictable future just became crystal clear: virtual reality is coming, and it’s going to change the way we play games forever. I’m obsessed with VR. I spend every day pushing further, and every night dreaming of where we are going. Even in my wildest dreams, I never imagined we’d come so far so fast. I’m proud to be a member of this community — thank you all for carrying virtual reality and gaming forward and trusting in us to deliver. We won’t let you down."

[0]: http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/21cy9n/the_future_of...


I read the following

'allows us to execute on some of our most creative ideas and take risks that were otherwise impossible. Most importantly, it means a better Oculus Rift with fewer compromises even faster than we anticipated'

and that for me sums up why Oculus took the offer.


It's like that new guy in the high school, that you teach him around and bring him with your friends so that he is not alone. Then he befriends the popular kid, and stops to join you.

By the way, I just remembered this: http://i.imgur.com/NnXPRks.jpg (video: http://goo.gl/AMgjsC)


Except he hasn't stopped hanging out with you. Maybe he will in the future but that remains to be seen.


Wow. He is getting demolished there.


Yikes. "Fuck you, Palmer." What the fuck? Folks, this is why creators on the internet have public meltdowns and abandon their communities and/or projects. (See: Phil Fish, TotalBiscuit, and many others.) Simply despicable how these so-called "fans", who have no idea how to run a multi-million-dollar business, can turn on a dime and start slinging vitriol at the person they claimed to idolize just a day earlier. How about, you know, giving the fucking guy the benefit of the doubt? You know, just for a bit, instead of tearing his fucking throat out?

The older I grow, the more I feel that people need "internet cards" that can be forcibly revoked until they at least develop a base amount of empathy.


They never had any problem taking money from these fans, though. Now they sell out to Facebook (yes it is a sellout), and fans get angry, you want to "revoke their Internet card"?

No, they don't get empathy for getting acquired for $2Billion.


1. We don't know anything about the acquisition. We don't know why it happened. We don't know the terms. Nothing is clear yet.

2. People have a right to be angry, but what kind of hubris and egotism must a person have to tell Palmer Luckey to go fuck himself and to call him scum, right to his face? Do people really think this man went from passionate inventor to greedy businessman overnight? I think the top comment in this thread as well as Notch's response demonstrate the healthy adult way to respond to this news. Personal attacks are the lowest of the low, and yet sadly they're the norm on the internet.


1. We know enough, and we can make reasonably informed guesses. Palmer has been giving out enough information on his sub-reddit. In their own words: "nothing will change!", but we know that it's not true. Facebook is acquiring them, not entering in a Partnership with them, regardless of the PR speak.

2. Eh, while I agree that personal attacks are bad, they should have (and probably did) seen this coming. They're smart people, who got a great jumpstart because of a community. They were most certainly aware of what this community thinks of Facebook. They entered into this anyway. If anything, this was a slap in the face of all those people who have supported them from the beginning. The people who gave their money to support their vision.

> Do people really think this man went from passionate inventor to greedy businessman overnight?

Umm, yes? It's not that hard to believe, to be honest. I don't know if I would have turned down the deal with so much money on the table either.


Hmmm until you're presented with multiple $billions (BILLIONS!) of dollars, probably money many of us will never see, and you have to make a choice between your product or probably an early retirement, it's impossible for us to judge a person and call him a "greedy businessman." I might have made the same choice.


"who have no idea how to run a multi-million-dollar business, can turn on a dime and start slinging vitriol at the person they claimed to idolize just a day earlier."

As someone who does run a multi million dollar business and that supported the Oculus Rift buying ten of those in a kickstarter I would tell you something:

Nobody idolized Mr Palmer, they loved the vision, not the man. The vision is way more important than the person.

Specially when they asked for your support, and you support them, and then they change their vision, you have the right to complain, like I do.


May I ask, what happened with TotalBiscuit?



Wow. I wish I could give you ten upvotes for raising awareness about this. This is probably worth submitting to HN directly (go for it) because it's both newsworthy in gamedev circles and will help people in a similar situation come up with ideas to cope with the stress. Thank you!



It's because they are children. Even if they are 35, they have the maturity level of children. It's why most discourse on the internet is so bad.


Can't say I'm surprised. Mentioning "Facebook" and "open" twice.... champions even!


No joke. I hope he's thick-skinned, this kind of verbal abuse from hundreds of disappointed techies would at least leave me feeling very exposed.


hell, you think us neck-beards are taking it hard? The tweens on /v/ are threatening suicide and asking each other "where were you when video gaming died?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgmyw0yqPPE

This is it /v/. I'm killing myself. No, I'm not an attention whore, I will be killing myself now. Facebook fucking ruined everything. Everything I was looking forward to in life is now gone because of corporate greed. We will never have real VR gaming and waifu games. We will never, NEVER FUCKING HAVE IT. Our fucking DREAMS were taken away from us. There is no point in living.

This will get 404 because of mods but I'm sure one of you will see this. I hope this will make some people actually fight against Facebook. I won't be around to see if it will.


Wait, don't kill yourself, we can fix this.

The release of Oculus will result in a halo effect around VR-quality hardware in the electronics market. This will make it much easier to create OpenVR (open hardware, no corporate control). Oculus have dropped the ball, but we can still fulfil the vision you dream of. Wouldn't it be better to turn your frustration into a creative force?


Just to clarify, I was quoting a message board. I'm not personally intending to do anything ridiculous like that... especially not over a VR helmet.

I have seen waves of VR come and go. I'm not under the impression that Oculus Rift is much better than others.

IMO, the dreams of VR were not about helmets, but about 3-d graphics. 3d is here now and it's having its effect. Helmets are a niche product.

I think Jeri Ellsworth's CastAR will be stronger product.


The comments on that reddit are insanely hilarious; The hatred is palpable.


Yesterday, they loved the guy. Say what you will about the deal, but Facebook has generated a lot of negativity in a lot of people. Not only did the Kickstarted future of VR sell out, they sold to Facebook. That subreddit has interpreted it as follows:

    The dream is real, take my money! (during Kickstarter)

    Shatter the dream.

    Take a dump on the scattered pieces.
They are not happy.


I don't know how anyone can be mad. I mean. I understand why they think they should be mad. But it is not like Palmer lucky is not going to deliver on the promise. He's just doing it under a different corporate structure.


"Take a dump on the scattered pieces"

Why would defecating on shards of broken dream damage them further? You could just wash them and glue them together again. Imagine all the egg on Humpty Dumpty when he fell. Perhaps they couldn't glue him together again due to the egg residue.

EDIT: Somebody downvoted me. I don't know why. I felt for Humpty Dumpty.


It has been a laugh to be honest. I asked a friend of mine, who had very recently pre-ordered his second kit, last night if we was excited for the ability to poke people in virtual space. . . . Made me giggle.

Seriously, though. The hatred is very plain, and very understandable. The reason people loved the Oculus is because they felt they had some control over its future. They felt a part of it from the beginning, and were excited to be able to say that they were there to help. Now, though, it appears from the outside that they were used to front-fund a giant acquisition to make a very few people very, very wealthy.

So, essentially, those that I've spoken to are pissed less that it's Facebook, and more that it's any company at all. (It just happens to be Facebook, which is seen as the devil by 20-35 year olds)


Here's an excellent visual summary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTKhOvBNakM


To think that he actually believes any of what he just wrote is... difficult. I dunno what Facebook pushed in front of him, but to me Occulus is now nothing more than a footnote in the quest for immersive VR. How disappointing.


"As I learned more about the company and its vision and spoke with Mark, the partnership not only made sense, but became the clear and obvious path to delivering virtual reality to everyone. Facebook was founded with the vision of making the world a more connected place"

Anyone whose a soccer/football fan will recognise this speech from anyone who transferred clubs for a bigger salary. All that's missing was "As a child is was my dream to one day work for Facebook"


That child would be really young. Bit of a sad dream to work there too, surely?


Palmer responded to some of the criticisms on reddit http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/21cy9n/the_future_of...:

----

"I am sorry that you are disappointed. To be honest, if I were you, I would probably have a similar initial impression! There are a lot of reasons why this is a good thing, many of which are not yet public. A lot of people obviously feel the same way you do, so I definitely want to address your points:

> The appeal of Oculus (as compared to Sony, for example) is because it is on a PC platform, and thus allows us, the developers, freedom over what we want to do with it.

None of that will change. Oculus continues to operate independently! We are going to remain as indie/developer /enthusiast friendly as we have always been, if not more so. This deal lets us dedicate a lot of resources to developer relations, technical help, engine optimizations, and our content investment/publishing/sales platform. We are not going to track you, flash ads at you, or do anything invasive.

> The Rift is absolutely targeted towards the gaming population, which tends to be teenage to early 20s/30s, which is the exact population that Facebook is currently losing. By partnering with Facebook, you are gaining access to a massive userbase of people that the rift is not targeted towards, which people might feel is a very bad move.

Almost everyone at Oculus is a gamer, and virtual reality will certainly be led by the games industry, largely because it is the only industry that already has the talent and tools required to build awesome interactive 3D environments. In the long run, though, there are going to be a lot of other industries that use VR in huge ways, ways that are not exclusive to gamers; the current focus on gaming is a reflection of the current state of VR, not the long term potential. Education, communication, training, rehabilitation, gaming and film are all going to be major drivers for VR, and they will reach a very wide audience. We are not targeting social media users, we are targeting everyone who has a reason to use VR.

> What we fear is not that Oculus will be partnering with Facebook, but that you are selling out the company to Facebook and no longer retain control over Oculus. I can say that I, personally, support Oculus because I believed in the goals and visions that you had.

This acquisition/partnership gives us more control of our destiny, not less! We don't have to compromise on anything, and can afford to make decisions that are right for the future of virtual reality, not our current revenue. Keep in mind that we already have great partners who invested heavily in Oculus and got us to where we are, so we have not had full control of our destiny for some time. Facebook believes in our long term vision, and they want us to continue executing on our own roadmap, not control what we do. I would never have done this deal if it meant changing our direction, and Facebook has a good track record of letting companies work independently post-acquisition.

There is a lot of related good news on the way. I am swamped right now, but I do plan on addressing everyone's concerns. I think everyone will see why this is so incredible when the big picture is clear."

----

and also http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/21cy9n/the_future_of...:

"We have not gotten into all the details yet, but a lot of the news is coming. The key points:

1) We can make custom hardware, not rely on the scraps of the mobile phone industry. That is insanely expensive, think hundreds of millions of dollars. More news soon.

2) We can afford to hire everyone we need, the best people that fit into our culture of excellence in all aspects.

3) We can make huge investments in content. More news soon."


> We are not going to track you, flash ads at you, or do anything invasive

I've seen this movie before...


> This acquisition/partnership gives us more control of our destiny, not less!

It's the first time I read a statement by Palmer, it overall seems reasonable, but this one line feels so much like BS business talk.

As I interpret it, being in a situtation where they had less controled that under Facebook means they had almost no control going forward.

Would it mean Oculus was going nowhere, they were seeing a strong competitor entering the market but no clear vision of how they could go on, so their destiny was basically a dead end, and getting into Facebook gives them at least one or two survival paths ?

Also, I'm sorry that you are disappointed...really ? Perhaps this guy at least is a really good fit in the facebook culture.


They had investors focused on profits as soon as possible.

Now they don't.

Of all the criticism you can level at Facebook, one thing you can't say is that they're driven by short term need for profits.


I think he meant that Oculus now has money to do things that they could not do before.


Money is not control. They sold the control they had for money.

Whether that works out for them or not is all up to Facebook now.


"My foray into virtual reality was"

Note the 'was'. As in past tense. He's got his exit.


The sentence "I’ve always loved games." makes it clear that he's talking about the past, so past tense in this case says nothing in itself about his future.


Not sure if I've ever seen such a PR disaster this fast and upfront.


I'm actually so pissed that I almost downvoted your comment after reading that. Disgusting PR speak.


Wow, down voted into oblivion..


Is anyone else reminded of this passage from the prolog to Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age?

> You could get a phantoscopic system planted directly on your retinas...You could even get telaesthetics patched into your spinal column at key vertebrae. But this was said to have its drawbacks ... it was rumored that hackers for big media companies had figured out a way to get through the defenses that were built into such systems, and run junk advertisements in your peripheral vision (or even spang in the ... middle all the time - even when your eyes were closed. Bud knew a guy like that who's somehow gotten infected with a meme that ran advertisements for roach motels, in Hindi, superimposed on the bottom right-hand corner of his visual field, twenty-four hours a day, until the guy whacked himself.


$2 billion in total value [1].

$400 million in cash.

$1.6 billion in facebook stock.

Plus "$300 million earn-out in cash/stock based on the achievement of certain milestones."

1. http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140325-912577.html


This is an ideal time for introspection. Here on one side you have the company you hate the most - Facebook. On other, one of the hacker culture produces - Oculus Rift.

And Facebook buying Oculus makes you mad to the point of blood boil.

Think it through. See what angers you. Analyze it. Then destroy it and move on.


FB gets a lot of hate on HN, but I think this is a really important strategic deal for them.

Consider:

* No one really knows how wearables will play out yet

* It is within the realm of possibility that as headsets get better (end goal: stylish), they will enter the mainstream. This means more content will be consumed there (cellphones are an obvious analogy)

* FB pays to play in this space with a world class team which has shown an ability to produce and iterate on hardware in relatively short time.

* This also gives FB more consumer h/w chops, something it will need as FB integrates with devices that are ever more personal in nature.

It shows that FB is playing offense, working to invent the future, not just resting on its laurels.


I guess I'm in the minority, but I think Facebook is a fascinating parent for Oculus.

Oculus has a technology head start, but that only gives them maybe a couple years on the cheap duplicators. In order to gain a strategic foothold their real competition is in their "app store"/content portal aspirations. They're in a race to see whose virtual space you start in when you put on your VR headset.

But in that realm they are competing with Sony, Microsoft, and Valve, all of whom have large user bases already using their portals. On that battle Oculus is at a severe disadvantage. By joining Facebook they have a network of users they can plug into, and a much bigger one than their competitors at that.

Second, Oculus is run by hardware and software engineers. They have an extraordinary team in that regard, which has allowed them to hire and expand in those areas very fast and still keep the talent bar high.

In order to build a compelling portal in a totally unmapped design language, they need world class UX and social designers. Because they are so engineering heavy, I don't think they would have an easy time identifying and integrating those people as an independent company, even with Andreesen/Horowitz pulling strings for them.

Facebook already has some great, productive, battle hardened UX teams, and I suspect they have many of the best social designers in the world. By selling to Facebook, Oculus is taking that huge question mark off the table.

In exchange they've taken on the question mark of possibly fading into obscurity in an indifferent parent organization. That's a roll of the dice. But the worst care scenario for them is they quit and start over with a LOT of cash, a rockstar reputation, and a knowledge of exactly what their acquired ghost company is organzationally incapable of doing.

And lastly, I don't think Palmer cares if HE wins. He wants to pull as much resources into the VR project as he can. Full stop. He'd happily sacrifice his company to do that. If Valve wins and he quits Facebook having failed to make it work there, he'll boot into Steam VR with a huge smile on his face knowing that he won.


I'm surprised people even think Oculus Rift will catch on beyond the early adopters.

It's just another 3D TV technology - sounds cool, is cool, but not in a long term way. Nobody cares much about 3D TV anymore because in practice it wasn't all it cracked up to be. It was hype.

When you strap a display to your head and replace your mouse with your own neck muscles, suddenly you are more limited than before. You can't rapidly spin 90 degrees to face an opponent in a fast-paced action game for example, without hurting your neck.

When you're sitting at a normal computer screen, you can look away for a second, out the window, to think or pause. Can't do that when the monitor is strapped to your head.

When you're typing on a keyboard, sometimes it's helpful to quickly glance down to target a specific key. That too, is gone with a monitor strapped to your head. There's a bunch of other limitations that will render any VR tech, no matter how advanced from what we played with back in the 90s, as just a cool gimmick... like the steering wheel controller with pedals. After awhile you sell it on ebay because it's not a long term thing.


You should try one of their latest prototypes before you write off this technology. The sense of presence is something that is addicting and doesn't wear off. People will want this over and over again.

Fast first person shooters aren't a good match for VR.

And keyboards - yes they are not well suited for VR either.


Hmm , they could have added two frontal camera to it , so that when you paused a game or just wanted to think or have time for your self. you could just press a button and the on screen display would start displaying what ever was in front of you.


Hah... yes good idea. But the screens should instead or in addition, flip up or fold out of the way for normal sight, while still keeping the headset on.

It will be a special occasion thing for mainstream Facebookers, and people in general. People like their "secondary things" too much I think. Those things we miss if they're not within reach -

- sipping a beer - patting your cat - talking to someone in the room - Seeing with your own eyes - glancing at TV in corner of room - people watching/ people in your house watching - checking phone messages - looking at different distances to give your eyes a break. - multi-tasking - heaps of other things we do while using normal screens. VR makes it hard to continue doing those things in parallel.

Basically, these VR toys need to be flickable with very little effort, to get them off your face real quick! 2 billion. Funny.


No! Please, please, please no!!! I've actively avoided Facebook for several years and now Oculus is making me choose between awesome tech and not having a facebook account?! REALLY?! What.. why!? What could Facebook be doing with this that they want it. I just. Why? No. No no no no no.


I'm pretty certain you won't ever need a Facebook account to use Oculus Rift.


I don't even like the concept of associating with Facebook in any way. I don't want to have to justify myself when I go and buy an Oculus Rift ( "The money is going to Facebook, but it's okay because they have really awesome technology, even though I hate everything they stand for in every other market they're in" )


Ok, if you're so full of hate for Facebook then I understand why you don't like this deal on an ideological level.


Let's think about the priority Oculus will now give to supporting random games that aren't connected to Facebook's business interests.


That's what doomsayers usually say about these kind of deals but I have yet to see it happen. Let's see if you're right this time. I don't think you are.


Zuck is buying his way into the next generation of consumer digital consumption.

Trying the Oculus for the first time was one of those "this is going to be huge" moments in my life akin to seeing the first iPhone demo.

FB's entire business went to mobile, and pre-IPO there was a lot of discussion around if they were going to figure mobile out.

Now they own arguably the best team and technology that's going to be in front of the next wave of consumption.

Palmer & the early Oculus team deserve the huge success, but man I hope they stay hungry and keep innovating given the brilliance that they gave us with the 1st Dev Kit.


Wow, that was unexpected. Interesting, but unexpected. But not sure if I won't cancel my devkit.

What I find interesting in Oculus' blog post (http://www.oculusvr.com/blog/oculus-joins-facebook/) is that they write about an open connected world, but Facebook is everything but that.


That's because you're viewing "open" and "connected" through technological terms, as in how other technology can connect with Facebook and how open the Facebook platform is. If you view the words instead in terms of people -- opening people's lives to friends and connecting people around the world at a level that was almost impossible before the rise of social networks -- then it makes complete sense.


Guess this is now the most successful kickstarter ever.


And also the one with the biggest share of pissed off backers.


Indeed...

The problem with Oculus kickstarter project was that you were buying a dev kit, not a final product. So now they sell the company and you have a dev kit for a facebook product... and the final usage of the Oculus may be now very different than the one you thought it was going to be when you purchased the dev kit...


I don't know, I think 'Clang' will forever have that honor.


[deleted]


Whatsapp wasn't a Kickstarted project, was it?


Something I think people are completely missing is FB's opportunity to gather eye tracking data using the headsets. Eye tracking is one of the next obvious steps for Oculus to implement in their headsets and it's an extremely valuable prospective source of data for Facebook.

Facebook is all about gathering ever more intimate user data. They can already put together a reasonably complete record of all the sites you are visiting anywhere on the net using their +1 button loads. Now they can go beyond clicks to see things you even thought about, actually even things that you weren't even thinking about yet.

For example, Facebook could easily detect if you were gay by looking at where your eyes went during a session. Maybe you haven't even admitted it to yourself yet, but Facebook already has that information ready for advertisers or whoever has an interest in 10 years.


I am pretty sure Jeri Ellsworth (AWESOME) had worked with Valve and is now working on a somewhat competing platform to Oculus. Perhaps they could use some attention in light of this? http://venturebeat.com/2014/02/02/technical-illusions-aims-f...


Jeri Ellsworth ‏@jeriellsworth 41m We're doing the VC roadshow in the next few weeks. So happy for all the excitement around VR/AR these days. https://twitter.com/jeriellsworth/status/448665150568951808


Interesting... Is this a play against Google Glass ?

I'm not sure how Facebook could benefit from Oculus VR unless they're starting a completely unrelated business (never mind what Zuckerberg says in the post).


Well, if Google's going to be a robotics and AI company, it's not irrational for Facebook to go into telepresence as a kind of next-gen communications property. They've got the cash to go big, and their dependence on a single, easily-substituted service as their source of revenue is about as big an Achilles' heel as any company can have.


It seems like it would be an odd play against glass, because of the differences of VR vs AR. With VR you're in another world, and that doesn't seem like facebook's goal, which would be to add facebook information with the rest of the world. So it seems unlikely unless they're planning to completely overhaul the project and make it AR instead of VR.


I guess this probably means I'll never get to use it since I don't have a facebook account


What's with the negativity? What exactly do you think will happen that's so bad?


Virtually anyone else with the pockets to buy them would have been better.

Microsoft for example have to be kicking themselves right now. After last weeks PS4 VR headset announcement I honestly expect them to buy Oculus immediately. I'm shocked they didn't or got out bid.

I wonder if Carmack was in on the talks... he couldn't have possible left ID to cash in like this... he's got to be pissed off.


Carmack has always wanted to build a full VR world/universe, if that's Zuckberberg's vision, they actually might fit. Crazy though.


That's a very good point.

And that might well be Zuckerberg's vision. He probably read "Snowcrash" when he was about 10, after all.


Looking at his Twitter feed he seems to be happy and I don't see why he wouldn't be. The internet hacker crowd hates Facebook and loves Carmack but that doesn't mean that Carmack hates Facebook. No, he's probably way more pragmatic.


Microsoft would of broken up the company and integrated it into their own products. Facebook allows Occulus to stay Occulus which is probably a huge motivator for the people there.


All I know about Carmack is that he likes the 'metaverse'. It's quite possible that he thinks he has a better chance of building it with Facebook than without.


At last for me Oculus and Facebook where on opposite ends of the coolness scale. I wanted a Oculus so badly, and avoided facebook like the plague. I have the feeling facebooks spoils this. Instead of Half Life in vr i now expect "skype 3d" and "candycrush vr".

Oh yeah, and i expect facebook to watch me while i game, something that makes me seriously uncomfortable. Zuckerberg babbles something about this "open and connected" i do not want to be part of.


Well, I seriously doubt this will lead to Oculus becoming Candy Crush VR or Facebook looking at you while you play. It's just unrealistic and if that's your concern I don't think you have any reason to be worried at all.


It's most likely the association with opposite realities, one direction of whom is associated with passionate research, and the other, profit-based production for the masses.

And this is not far from reality, in a way. Carmack is a true innovator who's never thought about money, and shared his product with humanity - his writings are amazing -, Zuckerberg... well, "dumb f*cks who trust me".


Well for me its the fact Facebook is an overbearing controlling experience which abuses it market position for its own interests above those of its users (both paying and free).

Its also a very narrow sighted company that has moved into the clone or buy instead of innovate cycle that most big companies evolve into.

That sort of mindset in the upper ends of management would kill the potential of something like occulus, especially when occullus have essentially been trumped by Sony (standing vs sitting, supporting accessories, and a massive user base) in the last week and will be playing catch up... and no doubt the MS power house will be on full roll as well rolling out headsets in the same market space... so its market share is drastically shrinking before its ready for launch.

Theres no way Facebook management will be able to handle the company intelligently enough to prevent the product from faltering. IMO it's pretty much a death blow for occulus.


The fear is that they'll alter the product into something none of us care about, since Facebook does nothing like it.


It's one of the greatest visionary companies around being bought out by by Facebook who hasn't launched anything relevant but more ads for the last 5 years.


I don't know, maybe the same thing that happens to almost every other rising star that gets grabbed up by a behemoth.


Not being able to use an Occulus Rift without a Facebook account.


From the people who brought you Doom and Facebook...

This could go either way, Facebook could leave it on the path it was on and just act as a parent company and the Oculus will be as awesome as we had hoped it would be.

Or

Facebook brands itself all over the Oculus, closes it down to Facebook's proprietary software and opens it up to ads, killing what some view as the catalyst of the VR bump recently, then Sony takes over as our best hope. I love Sony but I want to see VR on more than just the Playstation Brand.

Here is to hoping that Facebook stays as uninvolved as possible with the Oculus.


Regardless of how this goes with Facebook's meddling, developers have left the platform.

Ask Ouya what happens when no one is developing for your hardware...


Has anyone considered that the Oculus team was scared by Sony's Morpheus project and decided to cash out while they were still relevant?

I've not experienced either device, but I consider this at least plausible. Maybe Sony had already figured out solutions to problems Oculus was still toying with.


I was going to say the same thing. At GDC last week, the general feeling was that Sony's tech was more than competitive and seemingly much closer to an actual consumer product than anything from Oculus.

Fear makes people do unexpected things.


As long as they don't turn it into Facebook Glass (which it sounds like it may eventually become) it may not be the worst thing. I think with Facebooks cash the Oculus team might be able to get a quality consumer headset for gaming out a lot faster than as a "startup" without having to worry about multiple additional rounds of funding. The founders also probably couldn't say no to $2b...I wonder if they'll bounce when they can or who even is going along with the acquisition.


I believe all the negativity here is as though David (Oculus VR) has partnered with Goliath (Facebook). What I don't understand is why HN users are already able to rationalize why Facebook is the antagonist here and why Oculus VR might not have a strategy bigger than gaming.


Facebook has already proven to be a huge antagonist in many many ways. We can, however, give Oculus the benefit of the doubt; they might have ended up doing nasty things even if they hadn't gotten acquired by Facebook, sure, but Carmack's past actions were never even close to the nastyness of Zuck's actions. It's just a matter of analyzing the past and making a hypothesis on the future based on that. I don't see what's so difficult to understand.


Well that's too bad. Deep down I was really hoping that Elon Musk would buy Oculus VR so that one day I could jump into my Tesla, put on an Oculus and enjoy a VR enhanced driving experience on my way to the Space X flight to the Mars colony.

But seriously, of all companies that Oculus could have sold to Facebook is the least innovative, and I'm skeptical that they will be able to pull of anything nearly as interesting as other companies that might have wanted to but Oculus VR, such as Google.


I'm not sure this is really all that big of a deal. Mostly because I don't really see hard evidence from the oculus guys that they have solved the two main problems with VR headsets. Resolution and latency. Sure, they talk about it a lot. http://www.oculusvr.com/blog/the-latent-power-of-prediction/ but the resolution is still low, and the frame rate numbers don't appear any better than what I remember from my days at the university in the 1990's playing around with high end SGI's driving simulation systems.

Back then people talked about those problems too, even with systems getting 60FPS @ 640x480. I was a test subject for a number of studies being conducted and overwhelmingly it was an unpleasant experience. It was impossible to suspend disbelief because even tiny (I don't have the figures handy) frame lags, especially during rapid head movements were extremely noticeable, and gag inducing.

Mostly, I think people shelved the systems because the technology wasn't ready, the estimates back then IIRC was it would take a 4x resolution and 4x frame rate bump before it was worthwhile.

Both are probably possible, but the latency numbers are harder than it seems because of the fact that framerate != frame latency due to pipelining in the sensor and graphics systems. The resolution numbers are probably a matter of cost. LCD's providing 1080p in a couple inches are also probably significantly more expensive than the cost target needed to make these things mainstream.


My relationship with Oculus VR were just merely following the threads on HN and even I have this disturbing feeling of betrayal.


It is really astonishing the amount of anti-Facebook hate in this thread.

Yes, this isn't part of Facebook's core competency. They still bought it. Could it mean Facebook is attempting to diversify?

How about lets wait and see what happens before we vilify the Oculus founders.


I think it's because FB is basically a modern day white pages, whose core mission is mine user data and deliver ads to people who don't want to see them. I think much of the disdain is in the fact that a company like this can manage to gain so much valuation in the first place.

Not saying I necessarily agree with that, but I can at least understand how it does leave one with the impression that priorities in the tech industry and wall street are completely out of whack. Instead of solving 'real' problems (energy, medicine, education, etc.) we disproportionately value some rather inane activities.


A quick question about the valuation:

Six days ago [1] we got an article where the most popular comment was this:

"I'm amused by it. It's a transfer of wealth from shareholders of those companies to founders and VCs. These are also the companies with dual class shares designed to keep control in the founders' hands. They all say it's to be able to focus on the long-term, but really it has bred empire building and poor stewardship of the shareholder's capital."

Since is Andreessen is in the board of both companies [2], do you think we are seeing an example of this problem?

(In finance-ish words, the problem would be that Facebook is doing "empire building". Usually the board is the defense against this, but if the directors own large interests in the potential targets, that may not happen)

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7430152 [2] http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2014/03/25/marc-andrees...


This is a very smart move. The big tech houses now are basically just curators of the next awesome technology. This is no different from Google buying Nest or Deepmind or Boston Dynamics. Who cares if there is a direct link to their current business? Also, imagine how much more they can do with all the resources of Facebook at their disposal. This will surely accelerate the adoption of next gen VR hardware.


wow finally someone who gets it


Oculus has been one of the most forward looking companies to hit the scene recently. This acquisition shows that Mark is well able to look far into the future. Personally, I find this as a very good sign, since we now have Google and Facebook as two giants unafraid of taking the lead. The more, the better, because it seemed for a time with Apple out of the game, it would be Google alone at the forefront.


The comments on here are starting to look like a Facebook post.


Huge mistake from Oculus. They had the potential to become a multibillion company and a true giant of the likes of facebook itself...


I have a bit of a feeling that this will be a point that people in 20 years will consider a turning point in the bubble that we're in now; it's too premature to say whether this is good or bad though.

That said, I can't come up with a roadmap for FB and Oculus here that involves the facebook.com and doesn't make me slightly uncomfortable...


Everyone in this thread is being ridiculous. Since Facebook bought Parse the service hasn't been tainted whatsoever. Facebook is just buying promising businesses and startup because - gasp - hitting home runs is hard! You may dislike Facebook the product but hating Facebook the company is short sided.


"One day I'd go out and buy all the pants in the world -- every pair of pants -- and just... burn them. Fuck everybody. No more pants. Start over with making pants."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO9PwbtlOIU#t=39


Add another person that was formerly excited about Oculus and is now walking away from it. Yes, I dislike facebook and their business practices enough that I'll turn my back on a very promising bit of technology I was looking forward to. I'm also looking into canceling my devkit2 pre-order.


Pissed about this? Just wait until MS buys Valve...


I'll just shut down my computer and be a goat farmer if that happens.


You'll still need steam ;)

http://www.goat-simulator.com/


Wouldn't world be a better place if these huge, hungry companies did not exist? Their greed makes the world a sadder place. Reckon me a zealot, but I really wish Facebook and alike die out of the hunger that makes them the greedy animals they are. Everything one might get excited about, gets sold to a stupid trust, and die of lack of enthusiasm and nonchalance of those companies. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, this, that and whatever. Just, why would these companies not do their own business, but want to own all the f..king world?

Albeit this comment is accompanied by many other similar ones in this thread, I just could not keep myself from posting it.


This is a bit of a WTF.

I don't think Facebook would necessarily "ruin" Occulus (although it likely will) but I don't really see the fit. Courtside seats at basketball games -- OK totally doable technically speaking, but the hard part would be licensing.

If VR ever takes off in the mainstream it will probably end up becoming a "FRAND" kind of deal, where a bunch of key players pool their patents. Occulus will be a player, but hardly the only player.

I could see Sony or Microsoft wanting to sew up Occulus (although I think it would be a mistake to sell to either). Facebook just doesn't make much sense. Maybe it's just Zuckerberg really likes the technology.


Here's the thing, if FB really wanted to do the 'courtside seats' thing, they should have licensed being able to stream the feeds through the FB web site - In terms of revenue stream, they'd make a boatload more $$ off of charging for that than they will by attaching it to a $1500 piece of headgear that you're not going get away with slipping on in your office to sneak a quick game.


The point is that to stream video from an NBA game you need to license it (you can't even carry pro photo gear into a professional sports venue without the appropriate credentials, let alone hook it up to the internet and stream video out of it). So this is totally pie-in-the-sky above and beyond the technical side of it which is perfectly feasible with off-the-shelf stuff today (Occulus would simply be a nicer HMD than most).


The NBA has heard of Facebook. The NBA probably had not heard of Occulus. They certainly have now. These are the kind of things that once the technology has matured a bit the Facebook association will really help out with.

The idea that brands like NBA/MLB/NFL won't want to get in on selling people VIP VR Experiences is crazy. VR is going to be absolutely huge, it's the next truly disruptive technology.


This is the most terrifyingly awesome technology acquisition I've ever seen. Facebook chat in two years: put on a headset and get teleported to a room in a virtual world where you can talk to your friends' avatars. Skype and Google+ Hangouts suddenly seem very 20th century.

I've always found Facebook's stock to be a ridiculously risky long-term investment since their entire growth plan is predicated on monetizing an already established customer base, where a single event that causes people to switch en masse to a more private/secure social network would destroy the company. After today's acquisition I no longer think this.


That acquisition just doesn't make any sense, even when reading facebook's reasons:

- Who are going to use the Oculus outside of gamers? Just selling a smartwatch is already a tough sell for anyone but technologists, I just can't imagine my dad or my mom putting on a VR headset or anyone not a hardcore geek.

- And even if they would (which is dubious) the move to mobile mean it's just impossible technical wise for a long time (considering they said VR would bring a high end PC to its knee quickly)

- On top of that Facebook brings what? Money? They could already get that with investors, having a lot of users doesn't bring that much to the table.

No really I don't understand.


It's maybe irrational, but I don't trust Facebook and I certainly don't want to use Oculus VR for my private life.


It is amazing how Sony has turned things around in the last 18 months. Mostly because their competition (xbox, nintendo, oculus) is simply clueless about treating a community well.

As for Oculus itself, I doubt they would have been funded in kickstarter if they used any of these words in their original pitch - social, communicate, Facebook, etc. Now it feels sad to see them speak a very different language.

Imagine if the iPhone, after being sold for 600$ to early adopters, sold out to Microsoft in 2007. That's how bad this feels for some of us backers and developers.


Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo :'(


Can someone please explain to me how you can just go on a spending spree and spend $21 Billion in under a month with no one going:

'Hey, umm guys, I know we really like the company, but lets have things cool down a bit after spend 19 billion.'

In the Whatsapp acquisition thread someone made a comment about FB thinking their stock valuation is overpriced. I'm curious to hear what the split (cash/stock) is. If it's stock heavy, I'm almost certain that person was right.


Whatever brings us closer to the (hopefully not as dangerous) reality from this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Deadliest-Game-Net-Force/dp/042516...

I understand the frustration I'm seeing in a lot of the comments here, and I don't know how things will play out (I was definitely surprised when I saw this announcement just now), but let's hope that good things will come out of it because Oculus has a good team and Facebook sees the possibilities such a platform could bring to the world...eventually.

In the Matrix, I'm not quite sure if they ever showed whether or not time was 1:1 inside/out of the Matrix.

If it was, then it makes me think of all of the things that happen within our dreams and how much we seem to be able to do within those sleeping hours. Maybe in the future we'll figure out a way to go into a virtual world that fully mimics the rules in the "real" world and be able to accomplish the same amount of work in a fraction of the time because time will be slower (or our ability to process information will be faster in this virtual world, however you want to look at it) so we can spend part of the time in there and more time out in the real world :-).

Anyhow, I'll try and be positive that Facebook will be able to do the right thing here and be able to earn the trust again of those that currently "creeped" out by the acquisition (plus, I sort of have to be anyway...I still have quite a bit of IPO stock I purchased and been holding onto :-).


I distinctly remember Oculus's hiring page once touting "Help us build the Metaverse!"

Then they turn around and blatantly disregard one of Stephenson's most fundamental virtues/warnings from the novel (don't want to spoil it for anyone, but yea, eerily similar to joining L. Bob Rife). Straight PR garbage. And a slap to the face for anyone who actually believed them.

I can't remember the last piece of tech news that made me so disappointed.


I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened...


That's it; Oculus is lost, we need some kind of non-profit working on virtual reality instead of private ventures otherwise this shit is never going to work.


What other acquisitions by Facebook resulted in that product falling apart? Instagram is still doing its own thing, also Parse as well.

People need to get over whatever negative emotions they have towards Facebook. It's like they hate Facebook for reminding them of a bad breakup.

Congratulations to entire Oculus team, that's an exciting acquisition and I look forward to what this infusion of cash will do to the future of an already incredible product.


This is really disappointing. I've been thinking about buying the dev kit for the last couple of weeks, I guess this news has made the decision for me :(


Pretty sure they're going to ruin it


I think what will be really interesting to see is how Valve will react to this acquisition. Presumably, they've been hoping to make $$$ from selling Oculus VR games via Steam.

With Facebook now owning Oculus they have the resources to completely circumvent Steam and create their own game distribution platform and get a cut of the sales-- they've already started down this path with the App Center.


I'm trying to calculate the valuation of Oculus VR. Obviously I don't know anything about calculating valuation :)

They have 70 employees [1], funding of $91 million [2], headset sales of 50K for DK1 [3] (although claims sales of 75K). Unknown IP, unknown partnership deals, unknown real-estate cost, unknown inventory, molds, and hardware assets.

I suspect that the valuation isn't entirely for their assets, but I cannot arrive at the 2 billion number. Do my 'unknowns' listed above complete the 2 billion mark?

[1] http://www.oculusvr.com/company/people/ [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oculus_VR, 2.5m kickstarter + 75 series B + 13.5 m unknown [3] http://www.gamespot.com/articles/oculus-rift-suspends-shipme...


I'm also thinking of the same thing.. I doubt you can get at this number by usual means since everything is about their growth potential

By the way, there is an alternative hypothesis, that the valuation is just not there: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7471471

Do you think it makes sense?


I'm kind of speechless here... Certainly did not see this coming.



My prediction about further buys Facebook will do: 1) Mind control tech (like those headsets that control Betawaves) 2) They will buy some big cloud-music provider (Spotify maybe even) 3) They will buy Tesla 4) They will buy an OS startup and rebrand to FaceOS-1 6) They buy something like Ripple for currency tech.

Then they have all the stuff covered.


I imagine the only way they acquire Tesla is over Elon's dead body.


I imagine Facebook can arrange that.


Facebook is starting to act like a Corporation. When you have $171b market capitalisation you can expect some diversification in its corporate holdings.

Their big problem is that they perceived as the cashed up bogans of the corporate world. Buying companies with tangible products or services is the only way they will shake that perception.


Oculus has had several competitors coming to prototype recently. Now they have lost their following. I personally think facebook just bought a dud. Oculus just dug their own grave.

Additionally, this is a gaming device. Having utopian visions for a device that hasn't even hit the market for its intended use is not a good PR strategy.


Honest, naive question -- what makes human data worth so much? Is it speculation that it will be worth more in future that drives the feverish collection of it, or are there already concrete uses/buyers? It feels bigger and more urgent than to simply help brands sell their merchandise more effectively


Not really, it's having the ability to hack on human behavior, to make large amounts of people do things. Buying things is the obvious example, but there are other things (like giving X some attention, push a political cause, convince them of something ...)

And yes, you're of course right that things like this wouldn't convince X. That's not the point. The point is that 0.1% of facebook's audience is one massive group of people.


Today Oculus is just a display and a controller (sending head movements to the computer). I really, really hope it will stay this way. It would be so unfortunate if Oculus became sophisticated, stand alone device with Facebook controlling software stack on it. Display + controller is a way to go!


Sudden urge to read Snow Crash again. Reading this makes me feel like they want to take the first step into making a Metaverse[1]. That way they can control it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash#Metaverse


I am really disappointed. Don't know why exactly, but it just doesn't feel right. I have had really great hopes for the product.

Have you noticed that the giants work relentlessly to prevent any small player of growing with golden handcuffs - thermostat guys, whatsapp, now OVR ...


Damn, and I was just getting myself psyched to put an order in for the new dev. kit ...

Well, I think I'm gonna hold off on that for a little while and see where this story leads.

I don't really want an advertising company inserting itself as an intermediary in the data-stream an inch in front of my eyes. (Yeah yeah, Android mutter mutter mutter ... but at least that's a somewhat more open platform).

If FB make Oculus a hardware-only device, or, even better, an open platform, then I'm probably gonna be cool with it. If, on the other hand, they lock it down so that they can monitor and/or influence and/or control what appears in front of my eyes, then I'm gonna be tempted to stay away from that particular party.


As a rule, I don't much like the Fascists from Cupertino, but right now "iGoggles" seem like a rather better prospect...


There's a live call right about this right now:

http://www.shareholder.com/visitors/event/build3/stage/stage...


The most exciting consumer technology this year... DOA. On the bright side, I hope Facebook continues this cluelessness and burns through the rest of their bank roll buying decent companies.

With privacy being a huge issue, thanks to the NSA, and kids not wanting to belong to the same social network as their parents... it's over. I think these companies they're buying won't survive being tainted by their association with FB.

I'm aware that 2 billion is a drop in the bucket, but I'm hoping Zuckerberg goes on a buying spree, pisses through enough money purchasing, and eventually trying to bail out, once decent companies, that it quickens the demise of the company.


I'm not super thrilled by this but at least it's better than GM acquiring Tesla.


me: mind, stop going down thought-threads about facebook empire building

mind: fu

me: okay, don't panic. facebook sees the potential in the upcoming VR industry

mind: yeah, they also see the VR marketplace wars coming and want to own it

me: marketplace wars? like apps built for VR accessible from within the headset [1]?

mind: yeah, so (c)blocking Steam from exploiting valve's influence with Oculus, and instead push Facebook as the marketplace for VR content

me: interesting.. mind?

mind: yeah?

me: you're just making up shit to explain why Facebook would buy Oculus VR aren't you?

mind: yeah :(

[1] http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/19/5524336/new-oculus-rift-dev...


The only sensible interpretation of this is that Facebook is looking at this as a hail-mary diversification. They've got trouble monetizing and they know it. Having an actual hardware wing, in something new that might be on the verge of finally becoming big is a smart move.

Though if I had to fathom a plan, if Facebook buys some telepresence/robotics people then I'd say they might be thinking about how you could monetize global telepresence via virtual reality. Gaming is one app for the Oculus, but it's got an unknown market dimension. Whereas something like that - you could sell it to everyone, and they would actually pay for it.


Well, after getting over the shock of this, it seems like a good move by Facebook. Ever since I first heard about Oculus the majority of applications that I'd seen people interested in were gaming alone. Based on Zuck's post it looks like they aren't going to change that at all, and it will be the first thing they ship with it, but they'll get a head start on turning it into a social / communications platform.

People here seem shocked that it sold to Facebook, but really I think this means that everything that was expected of it will still happen, but even more interesting things will be done with it at the same time.


"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die" -- Cersei Lannister


Gaming is - at its best - a social thing, so this makes _some_ sense. But it only makes sense to me execution-wise if Facebook is lining up an acquisition of someone like Unity, or even (gulp) Valve, to bootstrap an ecosystem.


I have no idea why Oculus would sell at this point. It feels to me like this is just the beginning of their story and of this technology. Did they just get scared about Sony's Project Morpheus and decide to get out early?


> I have no idea why Oculus would sell at this point.

Money?

> It feels to me like this is just the beginning of their story and of this technology.

That's probably the point, for any technology firm, where the "work done" to "money received" for selling out is the highest.

When it feels like the end of their story and technology, they've missed the ideal time to sell.


2 scenarios:

If all they care about it money (doubtful), they just locked down a vast amount of money in 2 years time vs the long hard fight in the marketplace against several serious competitors (Sony etc). A bird in the hand is worth more than in the bush.

If they care about the technology, and bringing their vision to reality, then they now have Facebook's resources to make their dream come true, which is important given the size of their competitors' budgets.


There is a crazy amount of money involved. I understand the whole not in it totally for the money thing but at some point the massive figure being offered becomes hard to ignore.


Device comes into market. Gets played around with by devs and early adopters creating hype. Device dies from lack of support/apps that do anything useful.

Device comes into market. Gets played around with by devs and early adopters creating hype. Device gets bought by a company with a proven track record of stable up-time with immense amounts of data(that is constantly being updated and replicated) about real-world objects and the cash to implement interesting use cases.

Not saying it's gonna happen but i'm cautiously optimistic. A connected social experience is the future. I'm just hoping for AR instead of VR.


More details at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/facebook-to-acquire-...

"... for a total of approximately $2 billion. This includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (valued at $1.6 billion based on the average closing price of the 20 trading days preceding March 21, 2014 of $69.35 per share). The agreement also provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones."


This is a big step in the direction of data collection. Imagine gaming with the goggles on and FB is tracking your eye movement, monitoring your heart rate and how you react to certain visuals. Say you are playing DeadSpace or some other jumpy game and they see that when you get "scared" your heart beat becomes abnormal. They could then use that data to insert an ad for a local heart specialist or some fancy new heart medication. I'm not against new tech but people should always be informed on what data is being collected and most of the time that is not the case.


Once you build the immersive virtual reality where we can live, think of the opportunity for the outdoor and indoor advertising that follows.

An infinite landscape, where every advert is 100% tailored to the person viewing it.

Yeah, I hate it too.


Cancelling order now.


well that's a lie.


What next? "Ebay acquires Skype"?


Actually, this is the glimmer of hope. eBay bought Skype in 2007 for $2.5 billion hoping for "synergy". It left a lot of people scratching their heads. When they sold Skype to MSFT for $8.5 billion 5 years later then it didn't seem like such a bad idea. It didn't ruin Skype. Hopefully Facebook will hold on to their new plaything for a while, then sell it off.

Question is: will we like the next buyer more? Does it even matter?


I have just glanced over the comments on the FB post, am i the only one who is amazed at the "thumbs up" comments and general elation by the 45,000+ people liking the 'news' ?


It's Facebook.

Every 'like' is probably someone who:

- likes Oculus Rift

- likes Sony VR

- likes Google Glass

- likes 'I hate VR'

- likes 'luddites'

- and likes 'Lawnmower man'


Not sure why you are surprised. Joe-sixpack thinks facebook is A-OK.


According to sources close to the situation, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg started his quest to buy Oculus VR, the maker of the nifty Rift virtual reality headset, several months ago, before wrapping up the deal this past weekend. It was signed this morning.

http://recode.net/2014/03/25/in-googles-shadow-facebooks-zuc...


Smart move by FB, honestly. I think its safe to say that VR will be a large part of the way we consume content in a couple years. Acquiring Occulus puts them ahead of the competition...for now.


I don't understand facebook hate. While it is a bad platform in its current state (for me) because of all the noise, it is also a great platform for many people to stay connected.

Their engineering team also seems to deliver some great solutions and plays well with OSS community.

As for this deal, I do not understand how they are going to integrate it into their platform or even what they are going to do with Oculus. I would like to think it is a long term diversification strategy because they feel they have great technology.


Are these types of purchases primarily defensive in order to prevent new social networks from appearing that are simpler, more private or somehow more appealing?

I always thought it was inevitable that a solution will eventually evolve that allows individuals to communicate directly with each other and manage their own online social networks without intermediaries like Google or Facebook. Slowing down that evolution seems like a correct strategy for companies that stand to lose from it.


Facebook is obviously making calculated grabs for data, I get it. But the premiums they are paying seem Ludacris and I don't think spending this much on relatively easily replicated tech seems worth it. I'm going to guess that they are going to ruin the brands that these companies have created and there are probably already legitimate opportunities for incumbent companies or not-even-built-yet future companies to displace the things they are buying.


This seems odd to me, but after some thought I think they could become something like Second Life, powered by VR.

Otherwise I don't see how facebook could take advantage of the device.


From mid-2013 after Series A investment:

'Also, the plan is still to stay an independent company... not sell to a big fish like Sony, the way Iribe's former employer Gaikai did last June. "We want to stay independent and get to the consumer market, realizing VR the way we really think it needs to be done, and we don't need to take any shortcuts to get there," declares Iribe, adding that his new venture capital bosses are on board with that.'


I'm not sure what your source is, but I did find a similar statement from Iribe:

http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/17/4439608/oculus-series-a-fu...


HN needs a better system to deal with a flood of comments for such articles. Currently it's pretty borked for so many comments.

Simply having the most upvoted comment in the short-term leads to the effect of other, possibly more relevant and current comments being lost beneath the ever upvote-collecting top comments.

It works well for up to 150 comments, but at close to 700 comments in such a system the conversation and HN user input becomes vastly less effective (and navigable).


I wonder what is the development approach from both companies. For example, I remember Steve Jobs saying Apple's approach was to start from what they wanted to provide to the user rather than developing a technology and then figure out how to make a product out of it.

From the statement from Oculus VR, they are not clear what experiences they really want to provide.

Right now it is very difficult to see what is this same vision that both companies claim to have.


I wonder does this have anything to do with Sony announcing her own VR project Morpheus. Technology wise Sony's alternative didn't show much advantage, but industry support wise it showed that it's a very very prominent opponent Oculus VR has to beat.

Selling it to Facebook seems to me an indication that the leadership no longer believe that Oculus can be as successful in the gaming industry as they hoped.


No part of this acquisition makes sense. I just hope that the product doesn't disappear without a trace after a write-down in a couple of years.


Trying to make sense of it in my head I can see where Oculus brings the VR technology Facebook may bring the data to create virtual worlds? Surely they will operate as separate entities like Instagram and/or WhatsApp. It also may be good to have a solid financial backer who is also a company who moves quickly.

So long as the device doesn't turn bright blue and Facebook doesn't hinder the forward progress of Oculus VR we might as well sit back and hope for the best.


This sucks so unbelievably bad.


Whilst I'm exciting by the technology I can't help being cynical and wonder if this is going to further 'devalue' the traditional meaning of the word 'social', i.e. engaging with actual people.

It's hard enough trying to meet with someone who is constantly distracted by their smart phone; does this mean in order to interact with someone I need to meet with their virtual persona?


I'm worried this will turn from a gaming oriented device to a general device. A device with a library of apps that require a facebook account to login and use and if you don't pay for some sort of paid version of an app have to deal with ads.

As soon as sony released information about their VR headset I was looking forward more to that one since it will be oriented around gaming.


Luckily, the tech exists and the market is proven such that if Facebook fucks this up, someone else will come in and replace them.

If Facebook stays hands off and just infuses them with billions of dollars and massive resources, we could see something amazing come out of this. I'm still cheering for Oculus, and I trust the team and John Carmack to create an awesome product, regardless.


I think a lot of people who are filled with negativity just don't understand how hard it is to make VR happen. I was part of a USC/ISI spinoff (www.alelo.com) that built educational mixed reality systems, and the reality is that to make it happen you need a ton of money, way more than we could ever acquire.

Seems like they've passed that hurdle, I wish them the best of luck!


i HOPE this just gives Oculus more money, engineering talent, and breathing room to make the great product that Carmack and co. are dreaming of.

I fear that something will go wrong and this will change the trajectory for the worse. I don't see the fit here. However there are a lot of smart people on both sides of the deal and I like to assume that they know what they are doing.


Based on all the comments everywhere, i believe the only thing that can save this project now is an official communication from John Carmack to reassure everyone that he received all the guarantees that the project will remain independent from every bad direction FB may want to push it into.

He's the only one that can't be suspected of doing that for the money at this point.


And just like that, my company and I are done with the Oculus platform before we could really get going. New Dev Kit orders cancelled.


Nah, I like the sound of it. It's like, suddenly all the potential that Oculus Rift had is going to be become (virtual) reality.


> Very little changes day-to-day at Oculus, although we’ll have substantially more resources to build the right team.

I think this is a good thing.


Maybe. I doubt facebook will be satisfied if they sell their Oculi (What's the plural?) like lg sells their monitors. I'm sure they sell it like samsung sells their phones: Full of stuff i do not want, deeply integrated into a ecosystem that i do distrust.


Why Oculus had to sell out? I can't imagine them running out of capital. In current bubble market they should have VCs lined up outside their office if they wanted. I'm unable to think any other reason then plain old cashing out. Did FB used some backdoor to snap them or they actually willingly submitted themselves to cash out?


The question of why.

Well, Facebook lost their teens and they need them back. Zuck might have looked into the future were he envisioned millions of gamers using oculus rift and what he actually bought were those future (facebook) users, who will whine because the facebook account is mandatory but who will still use it because there is nothing like it.


Farmville 2: The ultimate farming experience.


I don't like this. I don't trust facebook and they seem to acquiring many of the promising companies out there.


It's fine if Facebook wants to compete with the PlayStation and XBox, but this does force me to temper my excitement for for the Oculus platform until I see the final devkit terms and costs. Maybe things will be open, or maybe FB wants to roll their own Steam network. The latter certainly wouldn't surprise me.


I've just demanded my order for the DK2 cancelled and to be refunded. I cannot, in good conscience, fund Facebook.


I wonder if Oculus felt threatened enough by Valve and Sony to jump at any solid opportunity to aggressively ramp up their development, hiring and so on?

Sony has the brand name and Valve have a pretty solid community. If either were out there with as-strong or superior technology, Oculus might've been irrelevant within 2-3 years.


agree, especially if none of the technology could be patented. I'm assuming it can't be patented, since there has been previous attempts in VR & Sony is working on their own.


wow..who's going to use oculus now..???


I was. I won't now.


I just ordered my dev kit the other day, now I wonder if I should cancel it...


If you've used oculus you learned that it's probably the most anti-social thing (at least to those in the room with you). So the "Social company acquires Anti-social product" dichotomy is humorous to me right now (yeah I know it's short sighted, it's just what popped into my head)...


Facebook is also faux-social. Seeing pictures of your friends checking into places and doing stuff is very different from being there, doing stuff with them.

Multiplayer games were one of the first faux-social online activities. In a weird way, it feels like a good fit to me if Facebook is in this to create an online gaming platform.


I commented on impusle. I'm going to be echoing the sentiment here. I was seconds away from buying the development kit when I heard the news. It's with a heavy sigh that I contemplate this news. I may just buy the devkit, get comfortable with the platform and then switch once the market has caught up.


So Facebook is buying every tech available? AI tech, Drone tech, VR tech - uhoh, are they going to build the Matrix?


What.. they also bought something from Drone tech?


Never has a tech company been so hated and untrusted so early in it's existence.

Could we not create a human readable social network using email as the protocol. That way everyone's email client slowly starts to integrate social features and everyone not interested in these gets summary mails that they can just bin.

Just a thought.


My gut reaction is that Facebook wants to create the VR platform and infrastructure that will enable applications like wearables/3d printing/etc. Google Glass takes the existing world and contextualizes it with the necessary info. FB approach might be to take the same approach to the VR world.


I loath valve because it made drm and always online cool.

But this is worse. Will we have farmvilleVR only now? Either way, they're now in position to make further drm on oculus games, such as Facebook login only.

But seeing that Sony added a share button on their controller this is probably the inevitable future anyway...


Google Glass shows you an augmented view of reality. Facebook Glass shows you a reflected vision of yourself.


Despite my dislike of facebook I think this may have been a smart play. Valve's largely vaporous VR tech was gaining mindshare and Sony has cash, manufacturing, retail presence, the list goes on and on. Without a huge bankroll Oculus may have ended just another piece of tech trivia.


Gutted. Oculus just turned into Orwell's telescreen. Hope the board enjoy their 30 pieces of silver.


> consulting with a doctor face-to-face

Isn't that physically impossible with current technology? To use the set you have to cover the upper part of your face with the screens, so there's no way to record your whole facial expression.

It feels like this is going to be a disappointment to all involved.


This is an interesting view from an investment perspective. The Internet basically bootstrapped Oculus VR via Kickstarter and the result is that the founders get a huge payout while the real risk takers in the product get an Oculus VR or whatever their Kickstarter reward was.


I get what you mean, but individually, someone paying $10 or even $300 isn't really taking a huge risk. Taking all the funders as a single entity though, yes you're right. Could this mean that Kickstarter may now be forced to sell shares in the company, taking the combined funders control to say 51% and the founders the rest? This would prevent something like this from happening again.


NOOO. It makes me genuinely sad. Oculus has the potential to be a giant. Now it will be limited by what facebook has to offer. Also i am not a really a fan of acquisitions because the parent/acquiring company has a habit of shutting down these smaller companies :(.


Carmack now works for Facebook? Damn.


I don't usually swear, but fuck this shit. I was following Oculus VR development and now it goes to my ignore list. It is no longer cool. Yes, just because it has "Facebook" name attached to it. It is now Facebook VR, which sounds like a nightmare.


Facebook has made some good purchases that align with their overall strategy, but I definitely don't see how this fits. And why would Oculus sell to them?! It makes no sense. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Sony... The list of better technology matches is huge.


I feel like idealism is Silicon Valley's greatest asset...and it's greatest liability.


That's...odd. There doesn't seem to be much synergy there, unless oculus us going to be used to power a facebook-branded answer to Glass. Maybe remote meeting? I guess if Facebook wants to develop some kind of metaversy thing it would make sense...


Sad news. I guess facebook is going to take the Oculus "store" (or "share" or whatever they call it) and try and get the facebook App Center to be the new Steam for VR games or something. Whatever they do I just know I want no part in it.


Is there any way to stop this? Can we start a petition in change.org or something like that? :(


I share the general feeling of disappointment about this. I was previously planning on ordering one of the new Oculus dev kits and excited about its possibilities. Now I want to avoid Oculus.

The good news for Sony is this makes their VR suddenly the best hope for gaming.


Looks like Oculus VR is going to be the next big platform for developers to make software for.


I was super excited for the Rift.

Now, I'm torn.

As a tech company, and a social platform, I like Facebook, a lot.

As a gamer, I do not want my gaming tech force integrated into my social network. Not sure that's in their roadmap, or what that would even look like, but there is that risk.


This is disappointing to me, I now have lower hopes for the future of the Oculus Rift, particularly as hacker accessible hardware.

My only hope is that John Carmack is coming out of this well enough to bring Armadillo Aerospace back out of 'hibernation mode'.


Well I went from bring really excited to own an oculus one day to not being real sure if I'll ever buy one. I just don't think facebook is the right company to be behind the his device. Really interested to hear what Carmack has to say.


Looks like Facebook is preparing for the next battle. Google's got Glass and Nest, Facebook has Oculus, and Twitter, Apple and Microsoft have nothing announced yet.

Assuming that this is the reason, that's a shockingly strong and forward looking move.


Glass is part of the battle. Oculus is a different war entirely.


I'm so disappointed, and it feels a little like Oculus sold their early investors (including Kickstarter folks) to Facebook.

I mean, in the end it's theis (Oculus) decision what to do with their company, but i don't think Facebook is a good fit.


I've heard so much hypocritical anti-facebook on this ... from people ... using facebook. I don't use facebook, and I despise it; and it's takeover, so I agree. But please, only bash facebook if you aren't using it.


Can't wait for "Oculus Chafe", their upcoming virtual reality codpiece.


IMO Facebook just bought $2 Million of R&D and a whole lot of bad PR for 1000x the going price. Doesn't seem like such a hot deal.

Also I'm wondering what the investors do to FB's stock watching them throw cash away like this.


Yahoo turned down a deal with Google when the company was still young. But if you imagine, what would happen if the deal went through? Would self driving cars, and glass be a thing today?

I think a world of possibilities just got thrown away.


From Zuckerber's post:

  > Imagine [..] studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world
I think his mention to Education is quite relevant here. Days for traditional Education are numbered.


<Not sarcastic> Do you feel that distance learning is limited by the fact that it is in 2d instead of 3d? is the ability to see the teacher in stereocopic presentation hampering? </not sarcastic>


IMHO, what matters most is not if the VR actually helps learning, but that a company such Facebook is putting a spotlight on Education. Zuckerberg could have mentioned a hundred different things where VR would be applicable.

The press release [1] from Oculus also mentions Education:

   Mark and his team share our vision for virtual reality’s
   potential to transform the way we learn, share, play, and
   communicate
[1] http://www.oculusvr.com/blog/oculus-joins-facebook/


Play. Learn. Communicate.

That was and still is the slogan of my previous employer. http://alelo.com/

I'd love to see this really take shape, I worked on the virtual education problem for a long time, and it badly needs an investment of money. If facebook invests in virtual education, I will be very pleased.


Maybe it's just me, but if someone had told me that a VR company is bought by facebook, I'd say it was an acquhire for an augmented reality appliance to compete with google-glass .

I don't buy into PR announcements.


It amazes me how negative people are acting, this is a very logical move by OculusVR with Sony announcing a product competition is going to be fierce in this space. Now they have just as many resources as Sony.



Meanwhile, CastAR is alive and well, and still looking like a better product.


The CastAR remains augmented reality, not virtual reality. They've said there is a VR attachment but it has yet to be seen and given their projective technology seems a pretty nasty optical folding trick if it can be done at all.


The argument for Oculus to push forward and usher in new forms of communication certainly isn't new, but with a company like Facebook behind it definitely legitimizes it...

And also makes it suddenly incredibly scary...


How much of this is a symptom of VC funding?

They stand to make lots of money getting in early and selling to Facebook.

Bit of a poisoned chalice from our perspective, but is this something the VC would have been working towards since day 1?


I really want to see a comment from Oculus stating that this acquisition came with legal guarantees that the platform will remain open. If Oculus ends up only working with a Facebook login, we all lose. :(


This is so disappointing! :(


It's April 1st already?


I don't understand this.

I sure hope that this is because I lack the information, insight, or imagination to understand what's going on here, and not because this is a terrible outcome for Oculus technology.


Reading the comments, it's truly shocking how FB isn't the cool kid anymore.

And I see this trend more and more with my friends (average users who just leave FB or are inactive.)

Do you share this feeling regarding FB ?


Can't say I'm excited about this. I can't see a single positive thing coming out from a non gaming company buying a game focused company (and an extremely promising one at that).


> I can't see a single positive thing coming out from a non gaming company buying a game focused company (and an extremely promising one at that).

You mean like Microsoft acquiring Bungie in 2000? Gaming (at the time) wasn't one of Microsofts core competencies.


This is a good example except that Halo sucks. Its popular, but weak.


Back in the day it was a very promising game.

I distinctly remember sitting in a computer lab at Uni watching the dev demo for Halo on a Mac and daydreaming about buying one, specifically to play this game in 1999-ish


Terrible decision. I thought they "weren't in this for the money", and it's not like they were lacking money or relationships or hype. Why the hell did they agree to this?


This just doesn't sound right. They should have looked good with Valve. Facebook is just trying to not-die and acquiring whatever they are getting there hands on while they have money.


I don't know how this kickstarter works, I know I should accept it as a charity but people donate money to this project and then they just sell it without even delivering a project?


Important to remember that this was initially funded via Kickstarter.


And also how you don't even get the tiniest little sliver of equity for that early proof of concept funding....


Dammit!

This is like the Google acquisition of Nest: something cool, now owned by a large company historically more interested in monetizing my activities than providing me with a quality product.


This is really upsetting.


I opened HN after a long day today and I see this news. Sigh.

Now I wish I open HN tomorrow and see a post, maybe something like - "John Carmack quits Oculus and starts his own VR company".


They are going to use VR to build the next Like button. I don't get Facebook .. they are buying everything these days that is not nailed down ... they are the Ebay of Web 3.0


Let FB pump all the money into VR they want. In 5 years we'll have the company that Oculus was supposed to be, and FB will have already cleared the land and paved the roads.


Except it's going to be patented to kingdom come. No small company can enter the scene for several decades.

So in the end we are going to have just Facebook Rift with forced social media integration and a gimmick for only PS4 games.


"A few months ago, Mark, Chris, and Cory from the Facebook team came down to visit our office..."

Anyone know if that Cory is Cory Ondrejka, previously CTO of Linden Lab (Second Life)?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ready_Player_One

Brought to you by Facebook.

Just wait till you see the new Farmville.


I don't understand all the hate towards Facebook. If this was Google, we would all be bending down to thank the Holy Non-Evil Tech Company for its gracious acquisition.



I read it as facebook wanting to leapfrog google hangouts and skype and become the first next gen video chat client/platform. Games is now a side secondary thing.


More money than brains.


I am so very glad I didn't buy the dev kit, which I was just about to do last month.

The kit would have gone from being a shiny cool thing on my desk to a shiny turd in my room.


One gets the sense that FB has the market capitalization capability (and inclination?) to buy a large fraction of the remaining "independent" tech sector.


I really hope Facebook has plans for VR besides mobile gaming. I don't want to see a technology that could really help high-end gaming just be used on phones.


Carmack tweeted :

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

I guess he wasn't a great fan of facebook either.


Well, not the best news.

Valve has a strong prototype, so they're also in the game, and they will take this technology in the right direction if Oculus drops the ball.


I suspect Facebook's acquisition will cause VR to happen sooner. Other companies will build or double down on VR tech, if they haven't already.


Looks like I am buying a "Project Morpheus" :)


Facebook could make this a promotional win by refunding anyone who funded the dev kit a certain amount of money (down to the material cost for ex.)


I don't really feel like playing some vr game and then turning around to be confronted by an ad tailored to the quest I just finished.


Wow. What an unexpected buy. It's not even Aprils Fool's yet.

This is likely a defensive buy. I would imagine it didn't cost too much either.


In a world where WhatsApp costs more than a small country, $2B seems kinda low for the potential next hottest thing in virtual reality.


whoa. didn't see this coming. Doesn't really fit Carmack's style at all. Wonder if this deal was done over him...


pretty bald plan to copy google's "expansive mandate" where you give your company a broader mission and add on these non-core schemes. feels a little hollow.

also, is all company sellers going to completely inflate their price to FB? I get what Oculus is doing, but damn, i would guess that the second highest bidder would pay 10% of that much.


As a backer (investor) of Oculus VR, I am looking forward to my share of the pie. Oh wait... my stake is 0%! No pie for me!


This + the Nest acquisition by Google feel like some sort of weird VC payback scheme. Its the only way I can explain them.


My hopes now rely on the Chinese copycats. I hope they are able to duplicate an Occulus without Facebook when it comes out.


Oof. My gut feeling is... this feels like a punch to the gut. (I hope my gut is wrong, but I wouldn't bet on it.)


Hang out with your Facebook friends via Oculus Rift? Seems like this will come to fruition faster than we thought.



Wow. Didn't see that one coming. Hopefully this will speed the release of the commercial Oculus VR



I think kickstarter pitches will now need a "I will not sell this off to facebook" clause.


I suppose Facebook can now be officially declared as a hedge fund in the disguise of a tech company.


Is this like an early April 1st joke?


For fuck's sake will you FB hating fanboys stop crying for a moment and realize that this is what makes VR legit. This. Is. An. Enormous. Opportunity.

It's like the moment when I was teaching a game design course and I realized that all the students already used Dropbox. I though I was the only one who knew about Dropbox.

If you want VR, then you should be happy. This just made VR real.


So only now that FB is on board it is real? Sony, Valve, Microsoft and god knows what other big companies, who were working hard on VR, wasn't real?

I think everyone are pissed off, because they were rooting for the first mover and underdog that Oculus was.


>So only now that FB is on board it is real? Sony, Valve, Microsoft and god knows what other big companies, who were working hard on VR, wasn't real?

In a word, yes. Why? Because tech innovation is different from social change.

As of GDC 2013, it was obvious to early adopters that VR was closer than had been believed, and that there was a realistic road-map to getting there thanks to Oculus and Valve. However, there was no way to know whether mass market adoption would happen because the Rift DK1 still made lots of people nauseous, and non VR-o-philes could legitimately claim that it was just a bunch of dorks with ugly boxes on their heads. I mean, how pathetic is that? It could be mocked in the same way that the Segway was mocked, but that the Z-Board is not. Segway == loser dork. Z-Board == cool(ish). To be fair, I have a Rift DK1, and it's a great first step -- much better than any consumer level VR device I've seen in the last 15 years.

I didn't go to GDC 2014 last week, but this was also a huge tipping point. Two of my co-workers who had been debilitated by DK1 nausea just bought DK2's on the spot. That points to Oculus having removed a big obstacle to adoption. People aren't going to adopt something that makes them barf.

Sony has been working on headsets for over a decade, but has failed to deliver on the promise of VR until just now -- after being goaded by Oculus. So, yeah, competition's good, but these guys failed and failed in part because the world still wasn't ready for VR and they didn't want to commit the resources to this.

This move by Facebook signals that the world is or will soon be ready for VR. People who don't "get" VR will be like people who don't see the benefit in texting. Entitled to their opinion, but a diminishing fringe.

VR is poised to cross the chasm.


And suddenly all my interest in Oculus VR has vanished. What a pity, I had high hopes for them :(


this probably doesn't bode well for core gamers. At least sony is planning on a competitor.


Wish it was anyone but Facebook. I can't rationally explain why, it's just a feeling.


"Camera in the living room? Nice idea. We should buy this company!" – Facebook


Is there any record of Facebook acquiring and then completely destroying a product?


Well I guess that's a GG?


I hope someone makes a top-notch open source/open hardware VR platform.


Double checking its not April 1... Really wonder what vision FB sold them.


vision

I see what you did there.


I'm so disappointed...


Fuck :(


Holy shit, John Carmack works for Facebook. I can't believe this.


You guys need to relax a little bit. Have a little faith in Carmack.


Faith in Carmack isn't the issue.

As a gamer, I've always had faith in Carmack when it comes to developing solid software....because that's where his strength lies. Despite that, my skepticism in id Software grew over the years because he was only one member of a team that seemed incapable of doing anything interesting with his work.

Same here. I'm confident that John Carmack wants to build a kick-ass, immersive experience.

I have no confidence that the higher powers at Facebook will let him realize that goal without weighing him down with a dozen other corporate needs, to justify the cost of acquisition.


I had faith in Will Wright and Spore.

You know what happen? EA happened.


No, see, there's you're problem. History has proven that Will Wright always underdelivers on anything he hypes up. The guy that designs The Sims is not going to design a realistic evolution simulator.


Has anyone seen the movie "surrogates" with Bruce Willis?


Carmack, don't go to facebook. You are more suitable outside!


Yup, no way I'm buying Oculus Rift now, or developing for it.


Worst news I've heard all year. I am extremely disappointed.


I think i'd pass on this one... Nothing to do here anymore.


They should send back the 50k in $10 donations from kickstarter.


I guess the youporn with facebook likes finally makes sense now


Clearly, Facebook starts diversification of it's capital.


my son said it sounds more like a drug than a piece of technology I think this is for "whales" people who have lots of money and time to spend on games.


the Oculus Facebook song... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRL1yb9nAko


So i guess i'll have to learn to play farmville now...


Are they just acquiring every startup that shows up in news?


It's like Zuckerburg read "Ready Player One"


i thought mark's shopping spree stopped at whatsapp...


"I'm done for a while" my ass.

This is really really smart. I'd guess it's a play for a talented team, and a bet that they can become a leader in an industry that will be revolutionary sooner rather than later.


I hope this doesn't kill the Rift's potential.


well, fuck.


A week too soon. Oh how I wish it was April 1st.


Farmville in 3D! Real horses! Real poop! In 3D!