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To say that people had opinions about Facebook's purchase of Oculus VR would be putting it mildly. Gamers lashed out, Notch withdrew all Minecraft support for the system, and Cliff Bleszinski yelled at everyone to call down. Now John Carmack, Oculus's chief technical officer who left id Software for this gig, has imported what he thinks about this move.
Carmack commented on Peter Berkman's blog post, "Wrong and Right Reasons to be Upset about Oculus":
I share some of your misgivings about companies "existing and operating only to be acquired". I am a true believer in market economies, and the magic of trade being a positive sum game is most obvious with repeated transactions at a consumer level. Company acquisitions, while still (usually) being a trade between willing parties that in theory leaves both better off, have much more of an element of speculation rather than objective assessment of value, and it definitely feels different.
There is a case to be made for being like Valve, and trying to build a new VR ecosystem like Steam from the ground up. This is probably what most of the passionate fans wanted to see. The difference is that, for years, the industry thought Valve was nuts, and they had the field to themselves. Valve deserves all their success for having the vision and perseverance to see it through to the current state.
VR won't be like that. The experience is too obviously powerful, and it makes converts on contact. The fairly rapid involvement of the Titans is inevitable, and the real questions were how deeply to partner, and with who.
Honestly, I wasn't expecting Facebook (or this soon). I have zero personal background with them, and I could think of other companies that would have more obvious synergies. However, I do have reasons to believe that they get the Big Picture as I see it, and will be a powerful force towards making it happen. You don't make a commitment like they just did on a whim.
I wasn't personally involved in any of the negotiations -- I spent an afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and the next week I find out that he bought Oculus.
The Facebook acquisition baffles me, but I'm willing to wait and see what happens with the technology first before judging. But then again, I doubt I'll ever get into VR since 3D already gives me a horrendous headache.
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