Oculus Rift Musings: Part 2 – the Facebook Acquisition

I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality technology.

Mark Zuckerberg March 25, 2014

And that was the 2 billion dollar “cha-ching” heard ’round the world. Now there are two extreme this could spin off to;

Pessimistic View: Zuck attempts to create FBReality.  The VR world is rife with “Friends”, “Likes”, and plenty and plenty of pointless posting about stuff I don’t care about. It can be annoying now, but when a “FBriend”  posts a 3D VR  video of their dog trying to lick peanut butter off  the roof of their mouth and it’s plopped in front of my 3D wall and it NEVER ENDS then I lose my faith in humanity.  It’s a big FU to the kickstarters while the OVR founders and talent go off any buy personal islands. VR dies a second time.  Grrrr.

Optimistic View:  And I’m being pretty optimistic here. $2B in the bank makes it pretty easy to kick back and yell “Miller Time”. But let’s play anyway. Palmer et. al. have said that having FB behind them gives them the weight to dictate what the actual consumer hardware will look like because they suddenly become a tier 1 IHV and not have to rely on scraps. OK I buy that. VR is hard to get right – just read Carmack’s, Abrash’s or Forsyth’s posts.  They have solved problems that haven’t been addressed in nearly 30 years. I’ve played with DK2 and the specs for the consumer headset keep getting better and better. The hardware *will* be killer and *will* be able to win large segments of the population into VR (assuming that they actually deliver).

They are beyond solving the gross problems now and are moving onto the more subtle ones. The tech is viable, the $2B was a wake-up call that this is a serious, serious undertaking and is moving right along and has woken up some other competition that  this indeed might be the next big thing. It’s also given them the opportunity to poach talent (more on that later), so while they have gone somewhat silent, if I received a windfall for a project I’d scrap initial plans and re-scope it out too.  You really don’t want consumer acceptance to be as slow as the initial console market was to get going. (But now they could probably survive a slow ramp-up to acceptance). So yeah, if this is the direction that they were thinking of, and if FB let’s them get on with what they were doing, then this just might work out. It might.

Please Dear God don’t let them screw it up.

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