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Carmack Weighs in on Facebook’s Acquisition of Oculus

Posted on Monday, March 31 @ 05:51:05 PST by Alex_Osborn
Facebook caused quite a stir last week when it announced it would be purchasing Oculus VR, upsetting a slew of gamers who have since assumed the worst. Can you blame them? Heck, are you one of them?

Since the announcement, Notch has come forward to cancel Minecraft for the device, while Cliff Bleszinski has responded to Persson's move by calling him "a pouty kid." Naturally, Oculus has come forward to discuss the benefits of having Facebook's support, and now John Carmack, the chief technical officer at Oculus, has shared his thoughts as well.

In a post in the comments section of Peter Berkman's blog entry, titled "Wrong and Right Reasons To Be Upset About Oculus," Carmack explained:

I share some of your misgivings about companies "existing and operating only to be acquired". I am a true believer in market economies, and the magic of trade being a positive sum game is most obvious with repeated transactions at a consumer level. Company acquisitions, while still (usually) being a trade between willing parties that in theory leaves both better off, have much more of an element of speculation rather than objective assessment of value, and it definitely feels different.

There is a case to be made for being like Valve, and trying to build a new VR ecosystem like Steam from the ground up. This is probably what most of the passionate fans wanted to see. The difference is that, for years, the industry thought Valve was nuts, and they had the field to themselves. Valve deserves all their success for having the vision and perseverance to see it through to the current state.

VR won't be like that. The experience is too obviously powerful, and it makes converts on contact. The fairly rapid involvement of the Titans is inevitable, and the real questions were how deeply to partner, and with who.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting Facebook (or this soon). I have zero personal background with them, and I could think of other companies that would have more obvious synergies. However, I do have reasons to believe that they get the Big Picture as I see it, and will be a powerful force towards making it happen. You don't make a commitment like they just did on a whim.

I wasn't personally involved in any of the negotiations -- I spent an afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and the next week I find out that he bought Oculus.

How do you feel about Facebook's purchase of Oculus? Do you see a promising future for virtual reality?
Tags:   Oculus Rift, VR, Facebook

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