The Oculus Rift Kickstarter page is being flooded with negative comments from backers unhappy about yesterday’s acquisition by Facebook.
The big news yesterday was Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift headset, for two bazillion dollars – that’s $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in Facebook common stock. It was an utter surprise to virtually everyone, even those normally tuned in to such things; today’s reaction to the deal among Oculus Rift Kickstarter backers, on the other hand, is really no surprise at all.
Notch, the creator of Minecraft, may be the most high-profile Oculus Rift backer to feel burned, but he’s hardly alone. Dozens of comments have been posted on the Kickstarter page and while a few of them support the deal (or at least manage to force highly-cautious optimism), the vast majority are steadfastly against it.
“I would have NEVER given a single cent of my money to Oculus if I had known you were going to sell out to Facebook. You sold all of us out,” one backer wrote. “I hope this backfires horribly for Oculus and Facebook. I will personally discourage absolutely anyone I know from buying what was once an indie dream and is now a soulless corporate cash cow.”
“You selling out to Facebook is a disgrace. It damages not only your reputation, but the whole of crowdfunding. I cannot put into words how betrayed I feel by this,” another said.
A number of backers also say they want their money back, although it’s hard to say whether they intend to seriously pursue a refund – or what chance they’d have of actually getting one. It seems unlikely, although the suggestion that Oculus “could” or “should” offer some sort of compensation to backers on moral grounds is being bandied about as well.
I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen either, though, as Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey is still selling the merits of the deal on Reddit, where he said the acquisition will enable the company to “greatly lower” the price of the Rift and that he’s “100% certain that most people will see why this is a good deal in the long term.”