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Displays Facebook Games Technology

How Facebook and Oculus Could Be a Great Combination 151

Posted by Soulskill
from the goes-together-like-peanut-butter-and-facebook dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Nate Swammer writes at Slashgear that with Facebook's purchase of Oculus for a cool $2 billion, the fervor surrounding virtual reality headwear quickly turned to disdain. Betrayal, confusion, and anger became the order of the day for contributors who gave Oculus $2.4 million through its Kickstarter campaign. But now that passions have cooled and looking at the issues dispassionately, the Facebook acquisition may turn out much better than anticipated for users. While many may have a fervent distrust for Facebook, this deal bodes well for Oculus, and by virtue, us.

First Oculus wasn't flush, and although Oculus may have had some hustle behind it, it may not have been enough. John Carmack, Oculus CTO, said via Twitter, 'I expect the FB deal will avoid several embarrassing scaling crisis for VR.' The headwear already famously suffered from a supply chain issue not long ago, which actually stopped it dead in its tracks. Next, in their official announcement of the Facebook deal, gaming was barely a blip on the radar. It wasn't until the very end that gaming was even mentioned, with the bulk of the post discussing 'culture' and driving virtual reality forward. There was little to indicate any big titles were coming for Oculus.

The fact is, Oculus needed help. Not technical assistance, but someone who could be their Sony, more or less. John Carmack says he has 'a deep respect for the technical scale that FB operates at. The cyberspace we want for VR will be at this scale.' Perhaps Facebook isn't the most popular choice, but they are the partner Oculus chose for their future says Swammer. 'Like Google purchasing Android in 2005, it all seems so strange right now [remember this story we discussed in 2009] — but we see how that turned out. If VR really is the next frontier, Facebook just staked their claim to a big slab of land in the heart of some virtual country they'll likely let us see someday — via Oculus.""
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How Facebook and Oculus Could Be a Great Combination

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  • My own op-ed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geoskd (321194) on Sunday March 30, 2014 @08:06AM (#46614353)

    Carmack screwed the analysis quite thoroughly, and now its too late for them. One of two scenarios is in play here:

    1) Facebook bought OR because they wanted to diversify their holdings to make themselves more resilient to changes in their core market. In this case, Facebook will likely leave OR mostly alone and except for adding some money to the pot, but when it becomes clear that OR can not or will not scale at the growth that Facebook wants/needs, then it will get the axe.

    2) Facebook bought OR because of some overriding strategy that involves OR's technology. In this case, Facebook will not be allowing OR to keep going the way they have been going, which more than likely means very little if any emphasis on VR gaming, and instead is intended as a social platform for virtual interaction. In this scenario, the best that OR can manage will be to get some games developed and released, but to that end there will likely be no support from Facebook.

    Carmack was correct when he stated that OR needed two things: first, they would need cash infusions at several points to be able to scale at the rate that flash-in-the-pan games require in order to meet their sales goals. Without that cash, developers would be reticent to make any games that truly took advantage of the platform because then they would be locked to it with no guarantee that OR could manufacture enough units to *not* severely limit sales of the game developers product. Facebook solves the cash problem, but only by reintroducing another reason for developers not to get involved: Facebook itself. Facebook has burned many developers before, and consequently developers are less likely to become involved with them than they would have been with any other company (possibly excepting Microsoft).

    The second thing that OR needs is developer support, which, for the reasons described above, the Facebook deal makes far more difficult than it would have been if OR had been bought by almost any other company.

    All things considered, OR might fare better having been bought by Facebook than going it alone, but that is by no means clear.

  • by oneiron (716313) on Sunday March 30, 2014 @08:13AM (#46614377)
    Was this FB deal Carmack's play all along? [slashdot.org]

    3. by moonboy asks: I once read, in Wired, an article that said you have an incredible headstart on everyone else for making "virtual worlds" on the Internet using your engine from the Quake games. Do you have any intention of doing this? Has anyone approached you about it? It would seem like a fantastic use of the technology with online gaming being so popular. Entire worlds online could be created virtually and very life-like with many different purposes.

    John Carmack Answers: Making Snow Crash into a reality feels like a sort of moral imperative to a lot of programmers, but the efforts that have been made so far leave a lot to be desired. It is almost painful for me to watch some of the VRML initiatives. It just seems so obviously the wrong way to do something. All of this debating, committee forming, and spec writing, and in the end, there isn't anything to show for it. Make something really cool first, and worry about the spec after you are sure it's worth it! I do think it is finally the right time for this to start happening for real. While a lot of people could envision the possibilities after seeing DOOM or Quake, it is really only now that we have general purpose hardware acceleration that things are actually flexible enough to be used as a creative medium without constantly being conscious of the technical limitations. Two weeks ago, I pitched a proposal to develop some technology along these lines to the rest of the company. I may wind up working on some things like that in parallel with the next game project.
  • by Assmasher (456699) on Sunday March 30, 2014 @08:31AM (#46614455) Journal

    The backlash is because many people who are comfortable with tech think FaceBook are the biggest bunch of douches in the tech world. The primary reason they feel that way is because FaceBook treats EVERYTHING as an avenue to generate revenue off of your personal life, treats everything as if it belongs to them, and makes decisions about privacy that any rational person would recognize as highly questionable and implements them simply because they will result in a likely revenue stream.

    Who wouldn't want a company like that taking a fledgling tech darling that many people really were going to make gaming soooo much better?

    "Hi, little baby unicorn, meet Darth Vader - he's going to raise you..."

    For myself, I can't wait to put on my partially subsidized Oculus-berg and play Elite Dangerous and dodge asteroids textured in Vistaprint ads and a constant background subliminal audio soundtrack about whatever the latest f***ing things is that Dr. Oz is hawking...

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Sunday March 30, 2014 @08:34AM (#46614471)

    " Facebook just staked their claim to a big slab of land in the heart of some virtual country they'll likely let us see someday — via Oculus.""

    Uh..."let" us see it?

    This is please login to Facebook to continue we're talking about here, which is exactly what you're going to see when you power on the new and improved FaceRift; a Facebook login prompt.

    And our new vision of future VR just got its first major sponsor.

    If you thought the internet got annoying with "Like us" popping up every damn where you click, just wait until your new branded internet VR/3D comes out...it'll make NASCAR advertising tactics look like your neighbors garage sale.

  • by umafuckit (2980809) on Sunday March 30, 2014 @09:14AM (#46614599)
    FB are now so established and enmeshed into other services that they are unlikely to suffer the fate of previous social networks. Nonetheless, it's hard to shake off the thought that users are fickle and FB's popularity may suddenly wane. Perhaps FB see it that way and they want to branch out into something more "solid", like hardware, or perhaps they've just decided that they have the cash and want to do something cool with it. Either way, it seems likely that this will mean a better Oculus arriving sooner. It might have a FB logo on it, and FB might have services for it. But so what? I don't have a FB account and if I bought an Occulus to play games then why would I worry about FB? I get why there's backlash but in reality, when you strip the emotion from it, it's likely a good thing for VR.
  • Re:No. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday March 30, 2014 @09:23AM (#46614639) Journal
    That is exactly what rubs me the wrong way about that announcement, besides fears that FB will turn Oculus into another data mining opportunity. Gaming is barely a blip? The buzz around Oculus has been from two sides: business (who want to use VR tech for telepresence, operating ROVs etc), and gamers. We want to control our Parrot drone with the Oculus, we want to walk around Tamriel or Middle Earth wearing this thing, or immerse ourselves in virtual battlefields, or perhaps watch a movie in a virtual cinema... What we don't want, need or asked for is friggin' Second Life VR.

    With that said, if the drivers / SDK remain openly available, I am sure game developers will get on board. But with gaming "barely on the radar", I fear for the undoubtedly necessary collaboration between Oculus and game developers.

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