So by now you’ve all heard the news about Facebook buying Oculus VR. My reaction is best described as “dismay,” and my Twitter and app.net feeds are oscillating between dismay and disbelief.
I’ve played on a friends’ Rift, and I was extremely excited for the potential; to the point where it was hard not to buy a developer preview. It’s just that amazing. I was beginning to look at working on a game involving clouds, as this XKCD comic could be truly realised with the technology of the Rift. Amazing things can be done when we have good VR, and Oculus was well on that track.
That’s why this comes as a blow.
I tweeted earlier “An advertising company just bought a thing that I desperately want to strap to my face.” I get why Facebook would want Oculus, I get the future of communication aspect that Zuck sees in the Rift. I think purchasing Oculus shows a lot of foresight.
The “but” is that Facebook is still an advertising company, their business still to know everything possible about you. As an organisation they are creepy and unpleasant, as a product they are (in my social circle, anyway) used only out of necessity, not desire. Instead of excitement of how the funding that Facebook brings could help the Rift, we see Notch publicly withdrawing support for the Rift.
Were I a backer of the Rift, I’d be furious. Notch (again) got the opportunity to pay $10k USD solely to add value to this acquisition.
Now I’m in the position where I very much want to write programs that use the Rift, I want to buy one and see new technology that moves the state of the art forward, but above all of those desires and hopes I desperately do not want to support an advertising company, I do not want to strap an advertisers’ dream of a captive audience to my face.
I wanted the future of gaming. Instead, I get the future of Facebook.