Facebook’s purchase of the Oculus Rift has opened up many questions regarding the future of the game system. But, it also shows the power of crowdfunding.
Roughly two years ago, the Oculus Rift Kickstarter campaign went live, asking for $250,000 to start up. By the end of their campaign, they had received almost $2.5M Yesterday. By now many of our readers have heard that the Oculus Rift has been purchased by Facebook.
The initial reaction has been pretty mixed. Some people are very worried while others are excited.
Many fear that Facebook will use the same type of practices we’ve seen in their constant layout changes, lack of concern for privacy, and their restrictive algorithms which force page creators to pay for access to their own fan base. These concerns are large enough that Notch has cancelled plans for porting Minecraft to the Oculus Rift.
Others are not as concerned. Facebook has a lot of capital both in terms of cash and intellectual property, which means that those producing the Oculus Rift have many new options to grow and produce a potentially better product. Among those who feel this way is Ryan Anderson, one of the members of Spectre: Virtual Reality Horror.
This idea is backed by the recent announcement of Project Morpheus: Sony’s competitor to the Oculus Rift. Sony is a powerhouse, but so is Facebook. If anyone has the resources to compete against Sony, it’s them.
The Power of Crowdfunding
Something few seem to have touched on so far is exactly what the purchase says about the power and the future of crowd funding. The Oculus Rift is a project which was looking for a mere $250,000 and roughly two years later was sold to Facebook for roughly $2B. That’s an 8,000 fold increase from their original goal. Is this going to be the norm? No; it isn’t. However, it shows that crowdfunding is robust enough to advance real market competitors.
More or less we’ll just have to wait and see what happens as a result of the sale. It may have a major impact on the Oculus Rift, or it may end up doing very little. Time will tell.