With many instantly reacting negatively to the news that Facebook bought out Oculus Rift today for $2 Billion dollars ($400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in stock options approximately), let’s take a look at the potential benefits first and then examine the very valid concerns of the video game industry community.
– larger reach
– bigger marketing budgets
– more comfortable completion of original goals with stable funding from Facebook (three founding figures from Facebook and Oculus Rift have already provided decently genuine sounding interview material in which they commit to keeping the project going as planned.
– innovations in virtual reality simulation such as a life-like social networking simulator for the Facebook brand (eventually).
Concerns of the community:
The most early and perhaps most prominent example of this line of thinking has been set by Notch (the creator of Minecraft) who cancelled the Oculus Rift VR version of the game after finding out about the Facebook buyout and providing the world with this explanation:
“Facebook creeps me out.” – Notch (Creator of Minecraft)
Facebook is part of an operation with the NSA, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Microsoft, and many others which combined have created a shared database of copyrighted material, information on individuals including facial recognition through manually training buy user tagging activity, and much more.
Notch is surely aware of this as most well versed programmers worth their salt in skills would be, and though he is too busy making awesome games to stop and comment about such a divergent event taking place in human history – Notch has shown he is going to make his decisions based on what he feels and not worry about who disagrees with him.
Others are even worried that Facebook will either silence the tech by just halting production or slow it down to such a dull grind that the company will no longer function. These concerns sound reasonable in theory for some cynical moment, but in reality – I just don’t see that happening. I believe right now the pros outweigh the cons in terms of technological advancement that can be achieved using virtual reality as a means to experience events simulated, social in real-time, and crafted as a film and/or video game.
Conclusively speaking, the tradeoff seems to be that the more technologically advanced humans become the less privacy individuals will have access to. In the end, that price to pay could be a relatively small one for those hours during your gaming (or in the future, virtual reality) experiences. If one is in the virtual world, a bit less privacy is going to be expected anyways.
Sony is still producing a Virtual Reality headset which will be compatible with the PlayStation 4 (and likely Steam as well for PC Gaming). Microsoft will be licensing a similar technology through a well known manufacturer to produce a Virtual Reality headset for the Xbox ONE at some point, plans are already underway. So in any event, the world will still see an industry-wide push for this tech to be accepted by consumers – and begin what could perhaps become a 5-7 year process to convert the entire world to virtual reality inhabitants.