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Who cares about Facebook? 25,000 second-generation Oculus Rifts sold

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Who cares about Facebook? 25,000 second-generation Oculus Rifts sold

It’s probably better not to make any assumptions about the sales of an item based on angry, online outbursts. When Oculus VR and Facebook announced their plans to unite, with the social network giant picking the VR company up for $2 billion in cash and shares, people plastered forums, comments sections and, hilariously, Facebook pages with predictions about how this deal would ruin VR.

This doesn’t seem to have had an impact on sales of the second generation Oculus Rift dev kit, however. Oculus VR told TechCrunch that it’s sold 25,000 units since March 19th, when pre-orders started coming in. 60,000 original dev kits were sold over its entire lifetime.

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Oculus Rift officially a big deal: David Attenborough's making a nature documentary for it

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Oculus Rift officially a big deal: David Attenborough's making a nature documentary for it

There are a lot of animals I don’t care about. For instance, I couldn’t give two hoots about ants. Or lemurs. But show me some footage of them with David Attenborough’s soothing but authoritative voice narrating their antics, and I’m suddenly hooked. 

The nature boffin and documentary maker’s latest project, Conquest of the Skies, is being filmed for the Oculus Rift. Viewers will be able to witness panoramic scenes from the jungles of Borneo, filmed using a special 360° camera setup that utilises eight different cameras. 

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Star Conflict gets Oculus Rift support, chucking your eyeballs into space

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Star Conflict gets Oculus Rift support, chucking your eyeballs into space

Star Conflict, the free-to-play space combat MMO, just got a big update. If you’ve already got your hands on an Oculus Rift, you’ll be able to flit around the stars, getting in high speed chases, all without the distractions of the real world. 

Gaijin Entertainment and Star Gem Inc. have also added Linux support on top of the Oculus Rift update, which means it now supports Windows, Mac and Linux. 

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Oculus take down Developer Center systems to tackle potential hacking problem

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Oculus take down Developer Center systems to tackle potential hacking problem

The great, glass eye that sits unnervingly on the roof of Oculus’ Irvine headquarters is capable of seeing all - but it’s been occupied lately, trawling reactions to the company’s planned Facebook acquisition on Reddit. No small, hairy-footed intruders have managed to slip by unnoticed, to Oculus’ knowledge - but a potential security issue with the company’s Developer Center went undiscovered until the weekend. It was serious enough that the VR specialists temporarily took down their systems until it was resolved.

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Star Citizen hits new stretch goal; Chris Roberts says he won't sell out to a big company

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Star Citizen hits new stretch goal; Chris Roberts says he won't sell out to a big company

Surprising precisely nobody, Star Citizen keeps raising more money. It’s now up to $41 million, which means that it’s hit another stretch goal: the crazy procedural universe. 

“With this funding, we’ll be looking into procedural generation to help build the universe out in a greater detail and scope in ways we didn’t think possible when we started developing the game! We will have some exciting announcements to make down the line involving some of the talent we’ve been talking to about helping us with procedural system and planet building," says head-honcho Chris Roberts. 

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Epic's Tim Sweeney on VR: "It's going to be a bigger phenomenon than smartphones"

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Epic's Tim Sweeney on VR: "It's going to be a bigger phenomenon than smartphones"

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney believes that VR “will completely change the world," he said in an interview with Polygon. 

The developer has already been working with VR, creating Unreal engine 4 tech demos to showcase the potential of Oculus Rift. At GDC, it showed off Couch Knights, a multiplayer demo set in a living room, where players command toys to fight each other as they scramble around the furniture. 

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Oculus recruit another Valve VR brain to work out of Seattle R&D Lab

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Oculus recruit another Valve VR brain to work out of Seattle R&D Lab

You can only expect some of the world’s greatest minds to sit tight for so long, knowing their work will never see the light of day. Especially when they’re on first-name terms with the people in charge of the commercially viable, Facebook-backed alternative. Another developer behind Valve’s astonishing VR tech has made the leap to Oculus.

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Why Hollywood wants a piece of the Oculus VR action

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Why Hollywood wants a piece of the Oculus VR action

It’s easy to fall into the habit of treating the Oculus Rift as a gaming device, but it might be the company’s broader vision that attracted Facebook. The Oculus is aiming to change other media as well, and one of their major areas of interest is in film, according to Oculus VR’s Film and Media Director Eugene Chung, a former venture capitalist and Pixar producer who now heads up Oculus’s VR film initiative.

Chung promised that the project has already caught the interest of a number of studios and directors. “Hollywood, as of a few months ago, has started to realize the power that VR has for cinema," he said.

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Palmer Luckey "did not expect to be getting so many death threats and harassing phone calls" over Facebook deal

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Palmer Luckey "did not expect to be getting so many death threats and harassing phone calls" over Facebook deal

The excitement and anticipation surrounding the Oculus Rift turned into a lot of anger, rage and confusion when Mark Zuckerberg and Palmer Luckey announced Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR last week. Mojang’s Notch created even more sparks when he halted talks about bringing a version of Minecraft to the virtual reality headset. 

While statements from both Facebook and Oculus have attempted to calm the flames, and Luckey has been fielding questions on Reddit to assure people that the Rift won’t suddenly turn into an ad-riddled social media tool, the negative reaction is still causing problems. 

On Reddit, Luckey revealed the extent of the outrage: he’s now getting death threats

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John Carmack calls Facebook a "powerful force" for VR's future: "They get the Big Picture"

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John Carmack calls Facebook a "powerful force" for VR's future: "They get the Big Picture"

Despite his capacity as Oculus’ Chief Technology Officer, John Carmack wasn’t “personally involved" in the negotiations that ended with the VR company’s proposed acquisition by Facebook.

“I spent an afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and the next week I find out that he bought Oculus," he said.

Nevertheless, he believes Facebook are a “powerful force" willing to propel Oculus in the right direction.

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Michael Abrash joins Oculus as chief scientist; Valve down another big brain

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Michael Abrash joins Oculus as chief scientist; Valve down another big brain

Oculus VR is just gobbling talent up. A couple of weeks ago the company acquired Valve’s Atman Binstock, and today Valve’s VR guru Michael Abrash has joined the team as chief scientist. This could soften the blow from Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus a couple of days ago. 

“We're on the cusp of what I think is not The Next Big Platform, but rather simply The Final Platform – the platform to end all platforms – and the path here has been so improbable that I can only shake my head," said Abrash in a blog post.

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Mojang's cancelled Minecraft for the Oculus Rift was free and "designed to promote VR"

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Mojang's cancelled Minecraft for the Oculus Rift was free and "designed to promote VR"

Amid currently unfounded concerns that Facebook mean to turn Oculus inside out or stockpile all future Rifts for Zuckerberg’s personal use, one clear, tangible downside to the acquisition is beginning to emerge: we’re not getting a free, officially supported version of Minecraft to forward the cause of magic goggles. And that’s a bit sad.

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Facebook won't rebrand the Oculus Rift, say the social giant

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Facebook won't rebrand the Oculus Rift, say the social giant

Facebook have officially responded to a report that the social network planned to take advantage of its upcoming $2 billion acquisition of Oculus to rebrand the Rift. A Facebook spokesperson said that its logo and bright-blue interface would not replace Oculus’ own branding - and that the suggestion was a poor reflection of the relationship between the two companies.

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CCP will still release Eve: Valkyrie as a Rift launch title: "We're very excited for Oculus"

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CCP will still release Eve: Valkyrie as a Rift launch title: "We're very excited for Oculus"

For a long time, we worried that Eve: Valkyrie might not be destined for the Oculus Rift at all - CCP were cagey on the subject, and whispers of Sony’s own headset bounced around convention centres.

Now that developers are getting cold feed in the wake of Oculus’ Facebook deal, however, it’s CCP who are first to take the VR company’s corner.

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Four things Facebook will not do with Oculus Rift

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Four things Facebook will not do with Oculus Rift

Facebook bought Oculus VR last night for two billion dollars, which makes my hostile takeover of a £6.10 burrito look a bit rubbish. If that many dollars were laid out end to end, most of it would blow away or be stolen, but what does this acquisition mean for the future of virtual reality? How might this affect the social media ecosystem and the brands? Can Zuckerburg leverage the power of Oculus Rift to enter the internet bodily? And will he look like the Lawnmower Man (from The Lawnmower Man) or the electric gremlin (from Gremlins)?

#Faceboculusgate, as it has come to be known, has hit fever pitch, but consider me the cold flannel on the issue's forehead, arriving on the scene with the only hastily written and woefully misinformed editorial you'll need to read today.

Here are the four things Facebook will not do with Oculus Rift, despite all of our deepest fears.

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Why Oculus chose Facebook

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Why Oculus chose Facebook

Here’s the thing about Oculus: although they’ve have made great progress in building their VR headset, there’s still so, so much to be done. VR as a concept is now inevitable. The progression of technology is absolutely predictable, and the foundations we need for good VR are already here. We have fast, high resolution mobile displays. We have processors and GPU’s that are powerful, and efficient enough to drive them. We have fast firing motion sensors, and excellent cameras able to track human movement. 

Oculus’s job isn’t necessarily to invent absolutely everything from scratch. It’s to join the dots into one magic headset. And to do it faster and better than everyone else. 

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Palmer Luckey on Oculus' Facebook deal: "You will not need a Facebook account to use or develop for the Rift"

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Palmer Luckey on Oculus' Facebook deal: "You will not need a Facebook account to use or develop for the Rift"

In a week’s time, I’m sure, we’ll all be able to say ‘Facebook are buying the Oculus Rift’ without all the incongruity alarms in our heads wailing - just like we’re now able to say ‘Tesco invaded Poland’ as historical fact.

Oculus, however, are beginning a long, careful process of reassurance. Sickeningly youthful inventor Palmer Luckey has taken to Reddit to pooh-pooh the idea that Facebook might turn the good ship Oculus away from games, or disassemble the company and sell it for scrap.

“I am sorry that you are disappointed," he told one fan. “To be honest, if I were you, I would probably have a similar initial impression! There are a lot of reasons why this is a good thing, many of which are not yet public."

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Notch kills possible Oculus deal in light of impending Facebook acquisition

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Notch kills possible Oculus deal in light of impending Facebook acquisition

The immediate reaction to Facebook’s plans to buy Oculus VR have been hostile to say the least. Hilariously, my Facebook feed is filled with venom: Facebook users condemning Facebook, claiming that it’s ruined yet another thing they liked. And it was as I was chuckling at those comments that I noted Notch weighing in on the matter. I’m not laughing as much now. 

A big deal like this was bound to rub some developers the wrong way, and the first victim is an Oculus Rift version of Minecraft. Mojang and Oculus VR were in talks, and now they are not. 

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