Notch Cans Minecraft Oculus Version Over Facebook Buyout

By Nathan Grayson on March 26th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

Looks like All of Humanity wasn’t the only one surprised by Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of Oculus Rift. Minecraft creator Markus Persson was equally taken aback, and not in a good way. His solution? Cancel plans for an Oculus-Rift-specific version of Minecraft on the spot. He first made the announcement on Twitter, only explaining that he finds Facebook “creepy.” Now, though, he’s elaborated a fair bit.

Notch took to his personal blog to explain what’s running through his (now only rarely) be-hatted head:

“Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers. People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform to better fit the social experience they were trying to build. Don’t get me wrong, VR is not bad for social. In fact, I think social could become one of the biggest applications of VR.

Fortunately, the rise of Oculus coincided with competitors emerging. None of them are perfect, but competition is a very good thing. If this means there will be more competition, and VR keeps getting better, I am going to be a very happy boy. I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook. Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven’t historically been a stable platform. There’s nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me.”

He further noted that he personally flew out to meet with Oculus only a couple weeks ago, and he was extremely impressed with the technology’s progress. The plan, then, was to look into doing a semi-stripped-down version of Minecraft that was better suited to virtual reality than the Java-based, GUI-heavy main game. It probably would’ve been free.

Notch, however, wants nothing to do with Facebook, so he plans to take his partially sketched blueprint elsewhere. He concluded by noting that he really does like the Rift and the team crafting the long-overdue replacement for this mouldy, banged-up reality, but he simply can’t put his trust in Mark Zuckerberg and co. Not yet, anyway.

“I have the greatest respect for the talented engineers and developers at Oculus. It’s been a long time since I met a more dedicated and talented group of people. I understand this is purely a business deal, and I’d like to congratulate both Facebook and the Oculus owners. But this is where we part ways.”

Well, I suppose there’s always Minecrift.

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134 Comments »

  1. PixelsDontMove says:

    I have canned my plans for buying the new dev kit. Up on till now, I’ve been intrigued by the idea, dreaming to make a 3D experience with OpenGL on Linux.

    And why betray the lovely people that funded this in the first place? Why, I ask.. Fools…

    • jkz says:

      I dunno, but I think the $2 billion might have had something to do with it.

      • 2Ben says:

        You mean like nearly 10 times less than a pretty simple mobile app ?

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          drewski says:

          When Facebook buy mobile apps, they buy a userbase and the data of how customers use the app.

          There’s no userbase and user data to buy with Oculus, hence it being a vastly lower price.

        • Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

          To be perfectly honest, not so much the app, as its userbase.

          Best regards, Facebook team.

    • quintesse says:

      Why such exaggerated emotional in the first place? Why I ask? Fools…

      As a KS supporter from the get-go I don’t feel betrayed at all. With Sony recently announcing their own VR product it was obvious that Oculus was going to need some serious clout to be able to compete in a future VR market.

      Would I have preferred some other company besides FB? Well yes, probably, but as long as they leave the team and the dream alone I won’t mind. (The “dream” btw is much much more than just a cool gaming experience)

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        As I’ve said below, Facebook isn’t obliged to leave the team alone. They are entitled to break up the company and subsume the technology to other parts of Facebook’s organisation. Hell, they’re entitled to fire everyone at Oculus and burn all their assets in a big bonfire, dancing naked around the melting plastic dreams of gaming enthusiasts.

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          jrodman says:

          Well, as a public company, obvious forms of waste are sort of quasi-illegal, and in their deliberate and obvious forms will trigger lawsuits. However that doesn’t mean that there’s any requirement that Occulus grow in a direction we would like, or continues at all.

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            Gap Gen says:

            True, just buying up a company and junking it would probably anger shareholders (I was being hyperbolic, but you’re right).

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            jrodman says:

            I’m a nitpicker. Sorry.

          • Taerdin says:

            … because Facebook would never do anything quasi illegal

          • drinniol says:

            Well, not if Facebook owns 100% of the company.

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            Gap Gen says:

            drinniol: They meant more that Facebook is a publicly-traded company and so are answerable to their shareholders, who probably wouldn’t like Zuckerberg burning money out of spite or whatever. Personally I think the idea that paying dividends to shareholders is the core goal of a company is a bit iffy, but then I don’t have any control over corporate law so what do I know.

          • Syphus says:

            When exactly where there a guaruntee that Oculus would grow in a direction you’d like, or ever even make it to market? Not to mention all the investors they were already beholden to.

      • tetracycloide says:

        If you don’t feel betrayed by the oculus founders using your money to get 2 billion for themselves while leaving you in the lurch as Facebook starts turning the device into an extension social networking you’re either incredibly dim or suffer from some pathology that makes you a complete doormat.

  2. Didden says:

    Thank you Notch. Got to love those Swedes.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      10000000000x THANK YOU, NOTCH!

      Screaming with all caps means YOU WARM MY HEART.

    • LionsPhil says:

      He’s a good bloke. I love this quote:

      And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.

      I’m hoping other developers follow suit; it is unethical to help a Facebook project succeed.

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        Better close up Kickstarter then.

        • Machinations says:

          kickstarter kinda has a value proposition problem now

          Ill be damned if I am going to kick in money so some vulture capitalist can capitalize on MY RISK and make oodles of money.

          • Josh W says:

            Like I said in the buyout announcement thread, I’d want kickstarters to start adding conditions to what they will do in terms of their corporate structure. Kickstarting a non-profit for example, or at the least a company that will stay in majority independence, or various other things.

            At least then you know what you are funding at a deeper level.

      • Christo4 says:

        They should return all the money for people who backed this up – dev kit costs since the company and the product may very well change so it isn’t what they backed up in the first place.

    • DanMan says:

      Socialism.

  3. magogjack says:

    This Notch doesn’t play ball, he comes correct!

  4. phenom_x8 says:

    Theses redditors (http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/21cy9n/the_future_of_vr/cgbuq13) beautifully summed all of my feeling :

    “I think people are upset because….we all felt like we were part of a small underdog home team…that was gonna make it to the championship game and win by 1 point….surprising everyone…even ourselves

    and now we feel like we arent part of that team….how could we be….our crowd funding means little to nothing now in the shadow zuckerberg

    now we are just customers of a product..a product that has everything it needs and will make its decisions in a boardroom with facebook people

    even tho i know….this is not true….and Oculus will still be Oculus ….deep down it just feels wrong….it feels like the journey is over…and we simply bought our championship trophy and drove home”

    ** sorry for posting it twice
    it’s just…
    sad…
    and…
    unacceptable…
    sob…

    • Premium User Badge

      Henke says:

      Yup, I reckon there’s some truth in that. I didn’t kickstart the Rift or anything but it certainly feels like the whole thing has been tainted by FB’s involvement.

      • spamenigma says:

        I backed the KS and this sums up my feelings too. Kind of feel let down that I bought the Dev unit not just to have a look (as I’m not a dev..) but also to contribute in some way to something I’ve wanted to see happen. Now just feel dirty.. and the dirt isn’t coming off!!!

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          Gap Gen says:

          I guess it raises the issue of what Kickstarter is and how it relates to backers. It’s still a young format, and issues of what backers are entitled to haven’t settled down yet – are backers even entitled to a finished product, for example? They certainly haven’t bought shares in the product or promises of payment when the product ships (hence why they’re not “investors”). A lot of products have also accepted funding from other sources, and have used Kickstarter success to appeal to investors. In this case OR isn’t abandoning their backers by joining Facebook and owes them nothing beyond the promised backer rewards, but I can see how people who put money up for it don’t like it.

          • Shuck says:

            Yeah, it feels like this development very much fulfills the letter of Kickstarter’s goals – the Rift’s future is assured – while violating the spirit – the plucky start-up at which people were throwing money and effort to help them succeed used that support to make themselves worth more to Facebook, rather than just using it to stay alive.
            Not only is this going to cause a backlash that will make it less likely that developers will expend any effort to work with Oculus, I could see people being more leery of future Kickstarters as well.

          • Machinations says:

            it means people financing via kickstarter are SAPS

            we assume risk, while the others profit

            KS will have a serious problem here; I see no need to kick in money to a project that is intending to sell at the first opportunity

            unfortunately, they are few people like Gabe of Valve who resist oodles of money when it is throw at them. The only reason Steam is as good as it is is because its not publically traded.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Woah…huh! That is a very good summary of how I feel, too.

      I started up the “Tuscany” demo last night and quickly exited because it made me sad and made me feel dirty. Then I walked around my stone brick shack and caves in Minecrift a bit with the usual open-mouthed smile and making “woah” sounds. (Not supportive of that feeling but amusing in the context of this article.)

    • Stardreamer says:

      Then I can only assume legions of people have not been paying any goddam attention to what Oculus were actually doing.

      A few months ago, tired by the constant mention of Oculus by starry-eyed evangelists in these very pages, I decided to look into the project myself. ONE cursory look at their website told me two things. Well, one thing – they weren’t anywhere near ready to release to retail – split into two primary concerns: 1) They were having trouble getting manufacturers to bite on their very small operation. 2) They needed more money.

      There was a further inference to be made here: that to be successful, this project needed HUGE finance, and the only way that was going to happen was for this project to be taken up by one of the big boys in the tech industry. The dream of the plucky underdog going it alone – built by enthusiasts FOR enthusiasts – was nver going to work.

      So yeah, I backlashed against the frothy emotionalism of the project when it was small, and I doubly-backlash against the rampant emo-angst outbursts being directed against Facebook like this is Spider-Man 3 and we’re all wearing gooey alien clothing. We see this time again with companies like Valve, and conversely EA, with emotionalism leading to talk of “betrayals” and “fuck those guys!”. Really getting tired of this childish approach to everything. Passion is fine, I’ve absolutely no problem with strong outpourings of passion, but it MUST be grounded by at least a smidgen of common sense.

      Facebook’s entry into this story isn’t the end of the world. Everyone tempted to emote along the same lines as the Redditors above needs to step back and get themselves under control.

    • DanMan says:

      We put the toddler on it’s feet, and then Angelina Jolie comes along and takes it away while noone’s looking…

      Quick! Someone get John Carmack on the phone! I’d love to hear his thoughts about this.

      The buyout, not the kidnapping bit.

    • Carados says:

      Being bought for 2million dollars is kind of the trophy of a small startup.

      This entire thing changes nothing and idiots are having really, really funny knee jerk reactions about it.

  5. luukdeman111 says:

    I have a feeling this whole thing is blown out of proportion. Sure, Facebook is not the most obvious investor but they have a lot of money, and Oculus could Sure use that. Reading Palmer’s comments in the oculus subreddit reconvinced me that they are still an incredibly passionate group of people that would not give up their dream for a bit of money. They truly have the intentions of making their dreams come true and facebook’s money will help with that.

    • rikvanoostende says:

      Facebook should’ve backed the project then, instead of buying the company.

      • luukdeman111 says:

        They’re not gonna back a project with 2 billion dollars without expecting anything in return. Facebook is a business, they need to make money. Facebook’s userbase is declining so they need to prepare for the future, buying the most promising developer of VR hardware is a logica’s step in that process.

        • rikvanoostende says:

          They could’ve made it a simple money for money deal, investing a large sum now for a share in the profits. Instead, all future projects will now be weighted in big board rooms and by unpredictable shareholders.

          • quintesse says:

            Sorry but that’s just not how it works in business. If you invest you get shares, sometimes non-voting shares if your investment is small, but if you invest a large amount of money you definitely want a say in how that money is going to be invested.
            Heck it’s obvious looking at all the comments here that even people that have not invested a single dime think they should have a say, talking all this rubbish about feeling betrayed and such.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            If they wanted to avoid tarnishing the brand of the thing they are buying, they could have purchased a noncontrolling set of shares. If they wanted to mitagate the tarnishing, they could have purchased a controlling quantity of shares. An outright entire acquisition just maximises the downside to both parties without further benefit.

            In business sometimes the right thing to do involves middle paths.

            Of course, they might not give a shit about the brand. I think that’s a mistake, but I’m not zuckerberg.

          • ohminus says:

            @Quintesse:

            You can find that “rubbish” in every single marketing textbook out there, and the fact that it is rubbished by the likes of you and Facebook is precisely why the lifetime of companies has dwindled dramatically over the last 100 years. If you want someone to pay for your product eventually, it helps to pay attention to what they think, want and need.

          • manny says:

            Yeah business wise this was a bad decision. Which makes me think Zuckerberg just wanted to own the company cause he thought it was cool. There are no great plans nor board meetings. He just did it cause he could.

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          phuzz says:

          I dunno, how much money does Mark Zuckenberg have anyway? Using his personal cash he probably could have bought his way into the company, but kept it separate from Facebook.

    • magogjack says:

      Facebook is wrong. It is the darkness at your back, the last of your breath. It is, now and forever, the most evil dastardly thing since the N………..S……….A.

      • hotmaildidntwork says:

        Before the NSA there was FACEBOOK. FACEBOOK is, FACEBOOK has been, FACEBOOK will be.

    • Baboonanza says:

      That reddit was pure PR bull. I don’t in truth know what Facebook wants with Occulus but I am 100% sure that I won’t like it.

      • luukdeman111 says:

        That first post was PR talk, definitely. But the comments by Palmer in the thread below that were far more genuine and not reviewed by the PR section of the company. I find it unbelievable how many people just assume that Facebook’s intentions are pure evil and that Palmer&Co. is fully on board with that. If you’ve ever seen Palmer speak, you know that he is passionate about VR and would not(willingly) destroy the VR dream.
        I have no idea why everyone immediately assumes that Zuckerberg will automatically get all control over the development of the Rift. Oculus would not agree with that, not for $2 Billion.

        • Caiman says:

          Yeah, but the guy must be pretty uninformed if he didn’t see this blowback coming! I mean honestly, unless you have been locked inside a room without internet for the past two years (which maybe he has!) how would you not anticipate this level of backlash?

          • luukdeman111 says:

            Who says he didn’t expect this? But that’s irrelevant. He truly believes that this is good for VR and, if you actually read his comments, has spend much time personally defending their decision and promising, with what I believe is absolute sincerity, that in a few months time the public will realise this was a good thing. If he didn’t believe in that and only wanted fast money, he would not be making such promises.

          • Machinations says:

            he has a shithead grin because he just got 2 thousand million dollars

            thanks peasants for supporting us! off to the Caymans, have fun with the bastardized POS that Zucker-whatever will build

            yea, its an epic sell-out

            Kickstarter is in trouble, actually, because a lot of people are now going to ask themselves, why they should assume risk so larger vultures get to make bank.

        • Grargh says:

          Nobody’s intentions are ever pure evil. But Facebook is a megacorporation, they don’t have something that resembles human ‘intentions’. They have a very certain business model – binding users to their platform by all means and building the most complete user profiles possible, disregarding ethics and law -, and they will only ever make decisions that further this business model. So whatever their plans for Oculus are, it’s not going to be used in our interest and using the Rift will definitely chain you to their disgusting social network.

          Edit: Oh, and of course Oculus employees will honestly defend this step. They have convinced themselves it’s ok, which is the easiest resolution of what is called cognitive dissonance.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      The problem is that they can have the most honest, honourable, genuine intentions in the world and if Facebook fires them tomorrow and brings in a bunch of people in to develop Face3D, their intentions won’t matter squat.

      • luukdeman111 says:

        And why would they do that? Facebook bought the company for a reason. And that reason is that Oculus is a powerhouse of great creative people that, with the right resources could be capable of amazing stuff. If they fired them, what would they be left with? Nothing, except the technology that’s been developed so far, and believe me: that isn’t nearly worth 2 billion dollars. If they fire the Oculus team this whole buyout would have been completely useless and Facebook benifits more from simply letting them do their job. Mainly because the social world is just net ready yet for VR. It’ll have to start with gaming, and Oculus are best at that.

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          stahlwerk says:

          Are you saying that in the end all that’s a $2b acqui-hire of John Carmack?

          I’m only half joking.

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            Mark Zuckerberg walks down a long corridor in a subterranean facility. He is flanked by two security guards, nervously checking their surroundings, as if expecting the walls to attack. He turns, a large metal door sliding to admit him. A scientist looks up, nervously checking a clipboard.
            “Did you secure the package?”
            “Yes-” the scientist begins. “But I warn you, the specimen is highly unstable. Any sudden-”
            “Enough.” Zuckerberg holds up a hand. “Show me.”
            The scientist’s hands are shaking. “Of course. Right this way, sir…”
            He taps a code into a touchpad. Dry ice falls from the ceiling, and a pod begins to descend. The sound of breathing suddenly becomes apparent. As the dry ice clears from the room, a familiar face stares, unmoving, unblinking, from the pod. Thin metallic glasses, a subtle Mona Lisa grin. Zuckerberg’s eyes grow wider, and he peers closer at the pod’s sole inhabitant.
            “Yes…” he mouths.

            A few months later, the facility is knee-deep in demons and scientist guts. A lone marine is shooting their way through it, demon limbs raining down around them, humming as they go.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            :-*

          • LionsPhil says:

            This explains everything.

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            stahlwerk says:

            @Gap Gen chapeau!

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            Gap Gen says:

            Garcon! L’addition! *dons overcoat and top hat*

          • SuicideKing says:

            Bravo!

          • MrUnimport says:

            CARMACKIRA?

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            You are a Gen-tleman (assuming you’re a dude, or the pun doesn’t work very well)

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          Companies buy other companies for a variety of reasons, and they’re not obliged to do anything with their acquisitions unless it’s agreed beforehand. Maybe they want the tech/IP, maybe they want to suppress a potential rival, maybe they just want to diversify. Sometimes someone in the corporate machine just makes a dumb/political decision and it lumbers on under its own momentum. I understand that it’s quite common for startups to be bought up by a bigger company and the original founders to take the money and jump ship while the original startup is broken up and used for parts by the buyer. I’m not saying that in this case Facebook will definitely do that, but they might, and are certainly entitled to. It’s not like Facebook ever was about being a shining knight of corporate ethics, and I don’t know if they signed any contracts limiting their ability to do what they like with the company.

        • Grargh says:

          When the technical aspects of the product are finished, there’s still time for facebook to sack Carmack and his team and slap on some arbitrary DRM-like systems to eliminate all open-ness and integrate the Oculus into their network. It is frankly delusional to believe they won’t squeeze the last drop of profit and exclusivity from this acquisition when the groundwork is done.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Henke says:

    I’ve played a bit of Minecrift and it actually works great. The menus and inventory/crafting screens have been remade from 2D GUI elements into proper 3D elements so it’s much easier to use them with the Rift than the inventory screens in most games. Getting Minecrift to work is a real hassle though, so getting native support for VR in Minecraft would’ve been great.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I wonder if a generic OpenVR format for making VR games will emerge, making it easier to develop for multiple VR sets at once, or whether it’ll be a nightmare of competing APIs and formats for a decade or so.

  7. natendi says:

    Nice one Notch, plenty of other dev’s will be working on their own VR tech. Only concern is now that Facebook has a stake in VR, they might start to get copyright happy with other new dev’s.

    One possible good thing about the buy out is that VR may be very credible tech so that large companies can start to throw money at it. Or they have vastly over estimated its utility :)

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      Copyright won’t work to block other VR creators. That’s what patents are for.

      • natendi says:

        It wouldn’t be the first time a company with large financial resources has tied up small companies in copyright infringement, even when they have the necessary patents in place.

        • Premium User Badge

          jrodman says:

          I meant threatening with patents is how you effectively tie up a competitor.
          Threatening a company with copyright infringement when there is clearly NO copyright infringement in a way that is obvious to everyone (as here) only works if the people you are suing have no legal warchest. This might apply to a tiny indie but certainly does not apply to people like Sony.

    • staberas says:

      Razer said that are working on their own VR device … (on notch tweet)

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Seems like that’s a big reason Valve are developing their tech on an open standard.

      • Premium User Badge

        stahlwerk says:

        Somehow, Valve’s decision not to get too invested (literally) into Oculus VR suddenly makes a lot more sense. I bet the writing of a buyout by “the really big ones” was on the wall for a long time.

  8. Memphis-Ahn says:

    First the Windows 8 thing and now this? Notch really needs to step down, or shut up.

      • Memphis-Ahn says:

        Thankfully I don’t have to, since making an ass out of myself on the internet won’t bring down an indie game studio.

        • Ultra Superior says:

          If anything, Notch just made more friends than enemies.

          * Though not exactly facebook friends.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          I think at this point Notch can do what they like; Mojang isn’t publicly traded so has no shareholders to answer to, and it’s not going to suddenly stop making money by taking stances on issues like this. I’m not saying that Notch is right, but it’s their call, and to be honest, making strategic decisions that are in the long-term interest of the company seems like a better idea than gouging your company to generate short-term profits for shareholders who will sell up and move on at the first sign of trouble.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          Yes, he is sooooo bringing down all those millions he makes. Like that deal he made with MS over the Xbox version of MC, and the PS version soon to come out (or just out). Yeah, his negotiating, choosing which company to sell through, work with and how to market and manage his company sooo looses him sooo much money…

          … oh wait, nope. He is swimming in it, and better off for it. Or do you think Zynga and FB actually are viable business models in the short or long term? Or that companies involved with them never got sacked, fire sold and burnt to the ground?

    • Bull0 says:

      Yeah, you don’t exactly have your finger on the pulse with this one, buddy

    • quijote3000 says:

      Why? For saying aloud what almost every single gamer is thinking? I was truly excited for VR, and when I saw the news I thought it was a prank.

      I have been considering dropping what’s app, just because of fear of facebook

    • grimdanfango says:

      No, he doesn’t. Other developers need to have the balls to step *up* and make a stand the way he has.

      The Facebooks of this world *will* consume all if you allow them to. If falls to each and every one of us to take a stand, unless you’re happy to resign yourself to live in a world where the unending pursuit of profit trumps all creative endevour, and all personal rights.

      Nobody *has* to go along with Facebook and their like.

    • Shooop says:

      …And why exactly should he decide not to support products which run in ways which spit in the face of his own?

      How dare this man not make a hypocrite of himself!

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Haha, yeah, because it’s not like anyone is willing to install Windows 7 over new hardware that comes infected with Windows 8. It’s not like anyone thinks that Windows 8 is even worse than Vista ever was.

  9. phenom_x8 says:

    I don’t know how many game developers (indie especially) other than Notch will backtrack their support because of this. They’re the one who championed OR extensively by creating any possible content (and mod) mostly because they share the same feelings as OR being Indies and not corporate owned company (some of the indies live and thriving today are comes from under the corporate umbrella before starting as indies, they surely knows and understand how it feels being hold by the owner).
    Hope RPS doing some investigation towards this

  10. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    I didn’t back Oculus, but I have backed exactly 100 other Kickstarter projects, and what upsets me is that this will cast a shadow over all future crowdfunding. “Close collaboration with our fans. We create something we love, together!”. And now many of us will have that doubt at the back of our head- “Until the day they smell more money elsewhere, possibly.”

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      Yup, and also a big indicator on which side of “investment or donation” the common kickstarter project lands. I know it’s a ludicrous idea, but offering to pay out each kickstarter backer with the backed amount or the corresponding amount of FB shares would be a pretty rad thing of them to do. I mean, that’d be like 0.1 % of the deal sum.

      • quintesse says:

        Maybe “rad” but also ridiculous, when I backed their project on KS, I *knew* that is was basically buying a prototype VR headset for $300. And that by doing that I was basically paying to help a commercial entity to earn money in the future. And I was okay with that, because like them I want VR to go places. Anybody who backed them out of a peace-and-happiness ideal, the mom-and-pops garage based startup us-vs-the-rest-of-the-world must really do some reality checks in my opinion.

    • Pazguato says:

      Sad and true.

  11. Premium User Badge

    JamesTheNumberless says:

    If Facebook brought out a graphics card there wouldn’t be much Notch could do to stop Minecraft from supporting it, nor would it be fair to the Minecraft fan who just happened to end up with the Facebook graphics card instead of the one Notch prefers. However, this is only true because there’s a common API for graphics. Notch would never have had to feel he was supporting any particular manufacturer when developing the graphics in his game, even though he was technically supporting all of them.

    So perhaps it’s wiser to wait and see if and when a common API for VR emerges as other VR devices emerge. I expect Notch will do do this. Facebook might then decide that their device should support this common API, in which case you’d be able to use the Facebook VR device for Minecraft eventually anyway, but you could not say that Notch directly supported Facebook like you could right now, when only the one API exists and belongs to them.

    Who knows, Notch and other developers dropping support may even spur Facebook into helping drive the development of a proper open API for VR, rather than simply building it in to their Facebook platform as I assume they’re currently planning.

    • aiusepsi says:

      Valve’s already put out a first version of a common VR API. I hesitate to say “open” for the time being, because you can’t really be that until the API is under the auspices of an organisation like Khronos. But it’s a decent start.

      https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steamworks-vr-api

    • frightlever says:

      I’d guess Facebook would adopt an open API for Occulus Rift about the same time they allow you to login to Facebook from your Google+ account.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      “Support” and “sell out to/work with” are not the same. Last time I checked MC never says “made for NVidia” etc. In fact, Notch never programmed a single NVidia “feature” into the game. So if he goes VR, it will be “generic support” not “Occulus version”. The previous business model he was actually happy to support (like the Android version, Raspberry Pi version etc).

  12. Hogni Gylfason says:

    Interesting tweet from Min-Liang Tan (@minliangtan ) in Notch’s tweet. “@notch perhaps we can help out. Will be in touch.” – Min-Liang Tan is “CEO & Chief Gamer” of Razer btw, a pokey gaming hardware company :)

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      He is also personally behind several of the $10 000 pledges on Kickstarter for projects like Pillars of Eternity and Torment: Numenera.

    • Low Life says:

      Razer doesn’t have too good of an image among gamers, but I really like Min-Liang Tan’s attitude. You can be sure they’re working on something VR, because they’re working on everything Tan considers cool.

      • Shooop says:

        They have quality control issues with some of their hardware. And their advertising is obnoxious.

      • Tams80 says:

        They really market to the ‘gamer’ crowd. Some of their products have quality issues, but I wouldn’t say they are any worse than Logitech and co. in that regard. Some of their products aren’t too flashy, the Blade line of laptops are among the best and they have a history of bringing to market niche gaming hardware.

  13. anaemic says:

    This has literally ruined oculus for me. Its moved from number one tech I want to something I will never buy. Especially after facebook jack up the profit margins and its price.

  14. O Takis o Pournas o Effenas says:

    Well, they did illustrate it in their kickstarter funding tier graphic:
    http://s16.postimg.org/qq2raxp51/oculuskickstartersocialtier.jpg

  15. Balanuir says:

    Same here. My interest in the Rift has dropped like a stone since reading that announcement. Well, I guess Facebook is the new Microsoft – everyone loves to hate it despite having to use it anyways, and they solve all their problems with money.

    • LionsPhil says:

      There’s nothing that means you “have to” use Facebook at all. Not even in the weak “if you want a normal computing life” sense, unlike eschewing Windows completely.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        I guess it depends how much of an impediment it is. If it weren’t for games I wouldn’t use Windows, and not having Facebook is only really an impediment if people organise events on it assuming that everyone they know has it. My account’s been offline for a year and a half or so and I don’t really miss out on much.

  16. Ultra Superior says:

    Good to know I will be buying Razer’s or Valve’s VR or anything else but Oculus Facerip. It’s a great feeling to vote with your money AGAINST GREATER EVIL.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      I’d rather put my money on Facebook VR than Razer VR. =/

      • Premium User Badge

        Thurgret says:

        I’ll happily go with Razer or Sony or whoever else as long as their product is functional. Not touching a thing from Facebook, no matter how well it works.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather have leeches poured on my eyeballs.
          But a Razer VR set will cost three arms and a leg, be covered in green LEDs and bad design, horrible drivers, lacking support and fall apart after two months.
          Oculus is still the same Oculus as two days ago. At the moment at least.

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        I’d rather burn banknotes that give money to the technical gimmick du jour, in this case, VR.

    • Mirqy says:

      New battlecry: “FOR THE LESSER EVIL!”

  17. hemmingjay says:

    Oculus has been on a downward slope for a little while now. I know some just balked, how dare I say anything against the holy Rift??!!?! The company is engineer centric and added business infrastructure late in the game. They have been making a series of decisions absent of care for the consumer base, culminating in the resent run-up to the 2.0 version. They continued to sell the outdated version until the minute they announced the new version. They offered no opportunity to return orders made the week of or even day of the new announcement. They refuse any sort of discount or buy-back initiative. In short, they don’t care at all about misleading their consumers because there is nobody there concerned with consumer care at all. They think because they are selling dev units that customer relations are unimportant and this attitude will be exacerbated by Facebook’s own notorious stance on ignoring consumer concerns.

    Given FBs collusion with government and aggressive ad serving goals, it seems the Rift is now an NSA iris scanner/tracking device and a virtual ad delivery platform. Kudos for making Sony a viable contender and taking the shine off of the whole VR gaming platform.

    • manny says:

      I agree. They could have waited and sold out to some other company, but all they care about is the money. That’s why they accepted the Facebook offer.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      The things they sold so far were specifically marketed as “Don’t Buy This if you’re not a Dev, and even then it won’t be as good as the thing we’ll arrive at eventually”. You’re angry they didn’t act consumer friendly when they were selling non-consumer in-progress hardware?

  18. Winged Nazgul says:

    Didn’t Kickstart it so no feelings of betrayal here. But I will say my interest in all things Oculus has been severely diminished by this announcement.

  19. fish99 says:

    I don’t blame him, Facebook seems like an odd fit for Oculus to me, and who knows whether they intend to keep the Rift as an open PC-based platform, or even as a gaming device.

    I wonder if the kickstarter backers get a share of that $2bn :p (of course they won’t)

  20. fdisk says:

    Ah Notch, always classy as fuck. He must be a master at breaking up with women.

    I personally was planning to buy an Oculus Rift day 1 when they finally released the consumer version but now I find myself hoping Sony will bring Morpheus to the PC or some other company steps up. I’ve been over Facebook for years now and I’m not going back to support them.

  21. SuicideKing says:

    Well, i’m pretty sure they signed the deal that they did ensuring they’d not get fired two weeks later.

    I think they needed better funding, and this was an opportunity.

  22. Whatever says:

    This guy is an idiot. Facebook is filled with crappy casual games and so in order to stop the Rift becoming the same way he… removes his game from it and encourages others to do the same?

    How in under fuck does that help? You want VR to succeed? You want the Rift to fulfill its potential and not get swamped with the typical Facebook crap? Then support it until you have the slightest damn evidence that that is what they intend to do. Make sure they know that if they keep it on track you and the developers will continue to support it. If they start to take it toward casual nonsense then make sure they know you won’t and start withdrawing developer support. If all the “serious” game makers pull their support for the product before the companies involved even lay out their preliminary plans then Facebook will have no option other than to fill it with social and casual piss. Why should they even bother trying to work with the indie gaming community if they’re all going to act like this mouthy gobshite?

    I hate Facebook as much as anyone else (never had an account, never will, not a fan of “social media” as a whole ‘cos I’m just not very social, or likable, to be honest) but they are a business and they will go the best way with the product they just aquired. People like Notch have an opportunity to push that best way toward gaming and the way all you poor “betrayed” whiney assholes want, but instead he’s being the indie hero and raging against the machine like a petulant dick and if other developers follow suit then the best way for Facebook to take the Rift, and VR in general, will be away from the gaming crowd who apparently hate it so much and want nothing to do with it.

    Notch has sway with developers, gamers and the companies who depend on both of those parties. He should be using that sway to help new technology develop in a way that benefits those parties, not throwing his toys out of the fucking pram. The sooner his bubble bursts and people stop treating his word like gospel the better.

    • Shuck says:

      You’re missing the point here. Notch gave a lot of money and effort to Oculus in an effort to help them succeed. The unfinished and likely free Minecraft version also represented a further investment of time and money that was almost entirely for Oculus’ benefit. That’s time and money now being spent to support… Facebook. Facebook doesn’t need the support. Also, as Notch pointed out, Facebook has, a number of times, changed their policies in ways that were unfriendly to developers in the past (and to their own benefit), so whatever the project is now, it’s highly likely to be something else in the future. Game developers up until this point have felt like they were helping shape the future of the Rift through their support – that’s no longer true. They can’t exert much influence, much less control, over the future of the Rift – Facebook will do with the technology what they want, regardless of how game developers support it.

      • Whatever says:

        No, Facebook will do with the technology that which makes them money. If game developers folow suit and abandon the Rift then the only course left available to them will be the route everyone is accusing them of already following. Self fulfilling prophecy.

        Should developers stick with the Rift and continue to provide some form of support, not for the company but for the technology, then Facebook is guaranteed to follow the gaming route as we, the gamers, pay into those developers. It will probably still be used for all that other crap, but at least it will also have the things we want with it. After all a PC does both crappy social/casual crap and proper high-end gaming (with Notch’s little winner right in the middle), why can this next iteration of immersion not also do both? We’re not talking touch screens or motion control here, with all the attendant limitations caused by those devices, we’re talking about VR technology. It can do crappy social/casual, “proper” gaming and a hell of a lot more on top of that. It cannot do those things, though, without backing from both a financial powerhouse and interested developers. Oculus VR got a hell of a lot of backing while indie, true, but it just wasn’t enough. There are many still claiming that VR will be another flash in the pan fad and many more who have no goddamn idea what an Oculus Rift is. They needed big money to make the technology viable on a household, mainstream level. Notch’s ten grand was not going to cut it.

        By withdrawing support at this early stage developers do nothing but force Facebook’s hand when it comes to the other uses that we may not be interested in because they won’t be able to do anything else but they still need to recoup their investment. Without developers – and well known ones at that – They will force this technology into every other niche out there whether it fits or not. It’s that or lose $2 billion.

        No-one is saying that Notch had to do shit for free. He could just as easily charge for the Oculus version of Minecraft. Let’s face it people will buy it again. He put 10 grand into the company, fine, no-one guaranteed him that they wouldn’t sell the company on, he assumed it and that was his own stupid fault for assuming that everyone wants to be indie, just like him. He has a right to be upset that Oculus VR went in a different direction than he wanted them to, but to denounce them like he has done is a real dick move.

        What he has done here is declare that the Rift is no longer for gamers and that the company is now worth less just because they got big backing. The sensible and fair thing to do if he felt that way would be to put a hold on the Oculus version of the one thing that makes him relevant enough to mouth off until he sees what way Facebook allows Oculus VR to develop. Should they go they way he assumes then, fine, by all means pull his support as publicly and assholishly as he wants. I’ll be there mouthing off alongside him. But no, he couldn’t keep his jowels in check for five fucking minutes and had to wobble his indignation all over something that could actually be really good for the product he backed if he would just take ten minutes out from stroking his own ego to see how they handle things.

        For all we know, Facebook is going to let Oculus VR do things the way they want. For Notch to come out so strongly against this deal so early into it is nothing but reactionary nonsense. Of course many on here agree with him, this being an incredibly pro-indie site (not claiming that as a bad thing), and go down on bended knee every time the one hit king open his noise hole, but he should have the sense to wait it out and see instead of making useless paranoic allusions. If developers follow this new Molyneux in the making it will destroy the Rift needlessly and we’ll have to sit by and watch as possibly the greatest hope we have yet had at good home VR is used for nonsense and we gamers are left with the same old nonsense and some fat hipster talking shit about we’re better off without it because Facebook did some shady business things at one point.

        • Machinations says:

          jesus what a rant

          TLDR; its bad optics, and people who kicked in early are rightfully pissed that someone else capitalized on THEIR risk. It makes people- working class schmucks – who back a game on kickstarter look like IDIOTS.

          Then again I have no sympathy for Notch, he is a shrewd businessman who recycled someone elses code and used a hype machine to build a couple billion. But I have more respect for him than the aberration that is Facebook.

          btw, this seems to have touched a nerve with you -why.

          • Whatever says:

            You say bad optics, others say it’s not too bad and everyone involved says it’s improving. It’s a prototype, now that they have more money behind them they can do much more to improve the device at a faster rate. Hey, wait a minute… I wonder if that maybe had something to do with them taking the deal.

            The people who backed the Rift didn’t take a risk, outside of actual investors and devs. Those investors should be pretty happy now and the devs may actually get so much more to work with now that there is so much backing the device up. Those ordinary people who backed it on Kickstarter either put in money with the hope of being able to buy the device at some point or bought a dev kit. That shouldn’t be a risk because they either were never going to get any return outside the chance to buy or else they bought. Simple. If someone spent too much backing it that’s their own problem. At no point did Oculus VR promise any one of those people that they would stay independant or that the KS backers would have a say in where the company went. I agree people have the right to be pissed (as was said in the rant) but Notch is being a dick when he rights the whole thing off just because they followed the money. He’s trying to lead an indie crusade without actually considering the thing he’s crusading against.

            It has touched a nerve with me because of how fast the community at large has turned on these people and how many of them are backing Notch up for his reactionary actions. I was, and still very much am, excited for the Rift. At the very least I am excited to see where the technology I was promised all those years ago in my youth could go now that we have (relatively) cheap technology that can do (most of) the job.

            I’m pissed off that a bunch of people are pissing all over what could be the biggest boon to a company striving to make something very cool happen in a way that I and many others can finally afford in our homes.

            I’m pissed off that they are following blindly in the mad hipsters footsteps, once again treating every slobbering syllable that falls from his mouth as a golden shower from God himself.

            I’m pissed off that people see the word Facebook and jump all over it without stepping back a second, listening to what both parties who are actually fucking involved and know what’s happening have to say and then considering the pros and cons of the situation.

            I’m pissed off that something that could be extremely cool for gaming and many other applications could be relegated to a passing fad or a niche casual POS just because people follow the example of Marcus “I once sort of did something popular” Persson.

            What I posted above may have been a rant, but it was also an attempt to present the other side of the whinging tripe people are spewing about this deal. In the middle of it I fully agreed that Facebook are shit and I stated that if the whole thing goes tits up I’ll be right alongside Notch in slagging the entire escapade off. I just think we should let the thing play out a little and give the deal a chance to show why it could be good instead of forcing a self-fulfilling prophecy by shouting it down and trying to claim it as the worst thing to happen to gaming since (modern) EA.

            I’m also pissed off because of the similarities between this and the arguments presented against Disney buying Marvel and how awful it was all going to be. The difference was that Disney and Marvel could press ahead and let people jump on the awesome as it came. Oculus VR doesn’t have that same luxury. They need developers to give them a chance or there is no hope. I just hate the idea that the small amount of hope we can have about this thing being even marginally as awesome as they say it will be will all be washed down the drain just because developers will jump on Notch’s (ample) bandwagon instead of giving the guys a few months to demonstrate why they thought joining the Zuckerburg shit train could actually improve what they were trying to offer.

    • Consumatopia says:

      At this point, VR doesn’t need Occulus or Facebook. Other big companies are now interested in it. Perhaps that’s thanks to Occulus’s pioneering work. But if VR fails now, it’s because deep down people don’t really want it, not because people support one company over another one.

      The most important thing for VR enthusiasts is to make sure that one company doesn’t get control over it. If there is an open standard for VR that all game devs are making games for and multiple companies are producing hardware matching, and those games and hardware don’t require me to use a Facebook account, then I’ll strongly consider buying any Occulus/Facebook hardware.

      If that’s the direction Facebook wants to move in, they could certainly announce something to that effect tomorrow, and then all my doubts would be dispelled.

      But one thing I sure as hell don’t want to do is wait until Facebook controls the market and network effects make it too late for anyone to challenge them.

      • Whatever says:

        And how does developers abandoning the Rift help any of that?

        If the developers stick with it then they can give their thoughts to Facebook as a group who will bring money to them. Should all those developers piss, moan and abandon the device then they will have no real option to recoup their investment than do everything you and others (and me) are against them doing.

        Saying, “I won’t support this because they will fuck it up” is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  23. DickSocrates says:

    Facebook owning the Rift means the government will have records of our dreams.

    • Josh W says:

      Only if you sleep with it on, or use it in an environment of absolute pitch blackness. For safety, I also recommend you disconnect from the internet before you try to play soundself.

  24. waltC says:

    I’ve never downloaded a copy of Minecraft and have absolutely no intention of ever doing so…;) This “building things with Bizarro-world building blocks” game has never done a thing for me! It looks very juvenile and faintly absurd. Ugh.

    However, I do applaud Notch *enthusiastically* for finally creating a game that both shows the gargantuan size of the PC gaming market and demonstrates in Real Life(TM) how PC game developers can make millions of $ in profits while charging far less per copy than $49.99….! Notch has finally proven what many of us have known for years, that high MSRP pricing is the #1 enemy of PC game profits. High MSRP game pricing is also the greatest stimulus for software piracy that exists. You would think publishers would have reached similar conclusions themselves long ago, but many dinosaur-think publishers behave as if the PC gaming market is the size it was in 1990, and are loathe to let go of their $49.99-or-bust pricing delusions. My guess is that game publishers have lost untold billions of dollars over the last decade to piracy and apathy caused *exclusively* by their $50 game MSRPs, especially for games that should have cost $20 out of the gate, or less, but which were tagged at a fully unsupportable $49.99 mean.

    In all seriousness there hasn’t been a single reason for any game publisher to reflexively price his games at a $50 mean since 2000, at the very latest. I’ll always appreciate Notch for demonstrating that so well, even as he himself was a bit unprepared for the success his pricing policies would bring to his game commercially.

  25. cultiv8ed says:

    As long as Carmack is still there at Oculus , I still believe :) I also believe that once the consumer version is released, everyone will be all “Ooh Shiny!” and forget this facebook business.