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

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

The Facebook logo. Not getting anywhere near the Rift, apparently.

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.”

Virtual reality will continue to be led by the games industry, said Luckey - “largely because it is the only industry that already has the talent and tools required to build awesome interactive 3D environments”. 

But in the long run, Oculus expect it’ll be adopted just as deeply by several other industries.

“The current focus on gaming is a reflection of the current state of VR, not the long term potential,” he wrote. “Education, communication, training, rehabilitation, gaming and film are all going to be major drivers for VR, and they will reach a very wide audience.”

The Facebook deal, then, is Oculus’ biggest step in enabling that wide reach.

“We are not targeting social media users,” explained Luckey. “We are targeting everyone who has a reason to use VR.”

Luckey pointed out that Oculus “continues to operate independently”, and specifically reassured fans about the Rift’s continuing accessibility to PC developers.

“We are going to remain as indie/developer/enthusiast friendly as we have always been, if not more so,” he said. “This deal lets us dedicate a lot of resources to developer relations, technical help, engine optimizations, and our content investment/publishing/sales platform. 

“We are not going to track you, flash ads at you, or do anything invasive.”

Indeed, Luckey said that neither Rift users nor developers will need a Facebook account to get involved with the headset - and expects that “if anything, our hardware and software will get even more open, and Facebook is onboard with that”.

As for independence - Luckey noted that Oculus have had to answer not just to Kickstarter backers, but later to investment partners picked up from two rounds of funding.

“We have even more freedom than we had under our investment partners because Facebook is making a long term play on the success of VR, not short-term returns,” he said.

And here’s the most persuasive part: the deal will allow Oculus to “greatly lower” the price of the Rift.

“I won't change, and any change at Oculus will be for the better,” said Luckey. “A lot of people are upset, and I get that. If you feel the same way a year from now, I would be very surprised.

“I am 100% certain that most people will see why this is good in the long term.”

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Dog Pants avatarSax avatarunwanted avatarAcid Hoover avatar
Dog Pants Avatar
4 Years ago

We'll just have to wait and see I suppose. It makes more sense for Facebook to change Facebook to be able to use the Rift, rather than changing Rift to push Facebook.

On the other hand, lack of trust in Facebook isn't unfounded, and while I'm sure Luckey doesn't intend to compromise the Rift I don't think it's his decision any more.

Acid Hoover Avatar
4 Years ago

That's what I worry about too.

If there's externally no visible change with Oculus, and all that extra money does initially is get the consumer version out sooner, and with a better spec, then great.

But then if the Rift does amazing and starts to become an essential piece of kit, I worry then about what Facey having control will mean.

Sax Avatar
4 Years ago

"I won't change, and any change at Oculus will be for the better,” said Luckey"

That's the usual mantra when a big company swallows a small one, and we all know how it ends.

He is either doing the PR mumbo-jumbo (because, well, 2 billion) or naive.

unwanted Avatar
4 Years ago

Of course he can't target social media users. How many people on Facebook is going to shell out 300 plus for something when they don't know what it does? This is what makes all of this baffling.

Also, it's hard to take someone who is getting a slice of 2 billion serious with the PR spin.