Oculus VR could have changed business reality, but they let Facebook stop them

Yes, but innovation like this comes from a spark of creativity that doesn’t arise all the time. We’ll get there eventually, like we got to 30% improvements in combustion engine efficiency “suddenly” in circa 2010 (across the board too - almost as if the motor companies had been keeping the tooling investment back until they really had to).

Facebook aside, Oculus were on an amazing, conquering track, that led to amazing benefits for average you and me. Now it more than likely is not.

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Being an old-skool Internet/Web guy…I have to say I’m starting to find myself disenchanted with the future. You can’t even create any new marketplace or truly positive disrupted tech because along comes one of the big 3-4 tech companies and whoosh…all sucked up into the capital vacuum that has become Valley Tech. The consolidation of power at the top is keeping truly great ideas from maturing as they should…

I think what we’re seeing is a pissing match between giants where one company may not see an immediate need for something, but they’ll be damned if someone else gets it. I think in Facebook’s case…there is a definite and tangible fear that Google is gobbling up just a bit too much of everything…

And Kickstarter…it’s really just becoming an incubator that allows other large companies to pass risk to consumers and then if it takes off…snatch it up or build a competitive idea.

Oddly enough…Apple seems to be the only company that hasn’t made one of these enormous acquisitions yet…yet.


I am actually pretty annoyed about this whole thing. OR is/was an extraordinary example of a concept climbing to reality right from the bottom. It foretold of a self-organising economy where backers punt ideas they like upwards.

The Berg better not mess this up. He’ll have me to answer to.

It does seem like a real dick move by the Oculus people. I think they’ve not only harmed their reputation but that of Kickstarter as well. I blame Facebook for being the corporatist scum that they are, but at least Facebook is being what we expect them to be. Oculus, on the other hand, should take much more of the blame for fucking over everyone that believed in them with their money on Kickstarter.

I’m a hell of a lot less likely to fund Kickstarter now if things like this are going to happen. Maybe someone should start something that competes with Kickstarter and has rules against this sort of shit? If that kills Kickstarter, then so be it.


Funny how those technological improvements had already happened two decades earlier in the rest of the world, particularly in places where gas/petrol was heavily taxed and the petroleum lobby didn’t exist.


When you’ve got everybody in the whole world using your platform, you have probably gone beyond the need for “kind words.” :stuck_out_tongue:

To be strictly honest, from the developer perspective Facebook has brought us a few nice things. HipHop/HHVM an alternative to the standard PHP interpreter, which JIT compiles PHP to C++ making it faster than PHP’s interpreter, which some open-source projects are looking into using (It may one day be used on Wikimedia’s servers to run Wikipedia). Thrift, another open-source project (this one handed over to the Apache Foundation), which allows writing Thrift protocols software can use to communicate with other software written in different languages without re-implementing handling for the protocol. Cassandra an open-source distributed key-value database now part of the Apache Foundation and used by a number of other companies. Phabricator an open-source code review tool initially developed within Facebook and then spun out into it’s own company run by the developer who wrote it within Facebook.

So from the developer side, Facebook has brought us a number of nice things, things that a number of developers who hate Facebook itself still love, and things that were created at Facebook to solve problems Facebook had and probably wouldn’t have been developed otherwise, which then went on to be used in other development projects.

But yes, from the consumer side, Facebook has brought us nothing but shit.


Ready Player One was the most violently overrated novel I’ve read in years. For a much better exploration of the possible future of VR/AR (although, sadly, it’s not that much better as a novel than RP1) try David Brin’s Existence.

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Yes, Facebook is the Manhattan Project of tech companies.

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Actually I liked it as not a “new” way of doing business but an “old” way of doing business. The old way being where you create something great with the resources you have (somewhat limited) which allows you to think outside the box because you don’t have everything at your fingertips. Sometimes the greatest ideas come from having to bootstrap and make tough choices. You throw your shit out there and see what the market does…and if it embraces it you build a community around that.

In this case we don’t have a sense of community anymore because it hasn’t hit the market even and it’s already part of a giant corporation. We never got a chance to really embrace it and help shape it. I think that’s the greatest loss from my perspective…and I think this is what the Valley and Tech are suffering from a great deal.

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That… really isn’t the way consumer technology works. Things build on themselves. Precedent is powerful, and trust, once lost, is difficult to regain. Consumer paradigm shifts like this aren’t a question of innovation, but of dedication, and being at the right place at the right time.

Maybe VR will get done anyway, but it would be silly to imagine that this will not have an effect on the shape of things to come. It won’t be done the same way. The groundswell of enthusiasm, the people I traveled with exploring and building what amounted to a new frontier - I don’t see that coming back.

Yes, but:[quote=“Cowicide, post:64, topic:26787”]
I’m a hell of a lot less likely to fund Kickstarter now if things like this are going to happen.
Me too. Not only has Oculus been ruined by the mere association with Facebook - irrespective of what FB actually does with Oculus - but the whole concept of crowdfunding has been tainted by the idea that it’s merely “a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition”, as Notch says.

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I honestly cannot look at Redditt, it makes me too angry. Been like that a while, now.

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I was so angry about this I went and created a fake account on FaceBook. Into the triple digits now.

Occulus had already taken two rounds of VC funding for $15m and $75m. One of the quid pro quos for that level of funding is that the company agrees to accept a decent exit strategy if it is offered.

I bought the developer kit but I don’t see Occulus owed me anything more than delivery of the equipment I paid for which they did. And BTW, Kickstarter cannot allow projects to sell any sort of business interest in projects. That would be illegal securities trading for a start. It would also lead to the whole site turning into a Ponzi scheme factory forcing the feds to shutter it. BitCoin is bad enough (and there will be tears over that soon enough).

That said, Facebook investors should be running for the exits. This is the second time in a month the Zuck has pulled the trigger on a huge ego boosting acquisition for a stupid amount of money. Occulus might pay the money back but WhatsApp won’t and can’t. More worrying than the choices is the pattern. I have seen that one before, pretty soon the core business of FB will be buying up companies at ludicrous prices and running them into the ground. The FB site will become just a cash cow and the managers will focus on tweaking it to squeeze out the last drop of revenue they can.

Five years down the line FB will be like Yahoo.

The reason I bought the rift was that I wanted someone to build a kick-ass VR system. But I knew that would take time. FB has been stupid, they bought a very immature technology in a long established field. If I had that $2 billion to spend I would have spent it on a lab or I would have bought one of the established companies making VR for the military etc. so I had some patents to trade if the field went like the mobile biz.

This is going to kick Microsoft, Sony and the big G. into action. Microsoft and Sony have to defend their gaming platform franchises. It was not a surprise to me to see Occulus go for billions, that is what I expected Microsoft and Sony to bid. But FB does not have the business to back it.

This move takes Occulus out of contention. The video game studios can’t risk working with them. But it will force others to act. My guess would be Google tries to buy Valve for the Steam gaming platform next. That would give them a base to do a VR project.

I think people need to have a think about how they would have liked this to play out. If Oculus had tried to just continue their business, using only the original Kickstarter to get going, I don’t think they’d be anywhere near where they are now. They’d still be pushing out the first level of devkits, possibly with some minor improvements. I can’t imagine selling devkits could bring in the kind of revenue needed to hire some of the people they have, or do the amount of prototyping they have. Furthermore, without some of those investor contacts, I don’t think they could have got hold of the low persistence OLED technology.

Even if they were able to get the VC funding but persuade them that it was a good idea not to sell, it’s not certain they could have become sufficiently profitable to do an IPO.

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Why is the Facebook acquisition so terrible, but the other millions of dollars that they accepted in VC funding outside of Kickstarter (which is probably directly responsible for them accepting this buyout, incidentally) ok?


Starting? You should catch up.

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This is terrible, terrible news. Today I think marked the day some people will start to feel old, everyone who did gave a fuck about this.

Fuck everything about this. I was gonna buy this day one, no matter the inflated price my customs would give it. Now I’ll never touch it. And i blame everyone who uses facebook. Your fear of loneliness, and your prosthetic friends just cost us something huge.

Just think about it. The piece of hardware leading the first steps on vr, is going to be led by Mark “Dumb Fucks” Zuckerberg. We have everything we deserve. Thank god i still have boardgaming.

Because back then, it wasn’t Facebook. Since the beginning of the internet, there’s always been one gorilla who’s the big bad evil at the time and no matter they do, its lauded as a bad thing. Eventually someone else takes over and the old gorilla either fades into the back ground, people start to like them or they go away. From MicroSoft and AOL and Geocities to Amazon, Google and Facebook. There’s always one big company that’s held up as the “fucking it up for everyone else company.”

Yet, people so rarely look behind the curtains and see that it’s the same VCs who always have their fingers in everything, tend to micromanage their investments and are the ones who push the innovators to sell out (and don’t get me wrong, I’d take a $2B payout too). No one ever seems to complain when a startup takes money from them, because they’re not immediately recognizable names.

Having been in and out of the internet startup business since the beginning (and having always picked a loser), this is the way its been all along. And yet, the internet progresses and technologies get better and devices get better and we all move along.

If you told me in 92 that I’d have a device in 2010 in my pocket that does all the things an android or iPhone does and the whole thing would be web enabled, I would have thought youd be insane. I also would have told you the future was in VR devices and virtual worlds. Anyone remember VRML?

This isn’t the end of the world, and it’s possible that facebook won’t fuck this up (who knows). Really this whole article reads more like a younger technologist having his first real start-up crush picked up by a huge corporation. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen this happen in my career. Sometimes things get better, and someone times someone makes something different.

And while you’re at it, take a look at who the Vice President of Engineering for Mobile is and look at his background. He know’s a little bit about VR. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cory_Ondrejka (disclaimer: I know him in real life).


‘‘Citizens! You must wear these to ensure your safety!’’

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