Possibly the most popular story of the week, Facebook purchased Oculus VR for roughly $2 billion. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg saw amazing social potential within Oculus and their virtual reality headset Rift, saying that the device has the potential to be “a new communication platform…sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures”.
Not only has the Facebook acquisition sparked the concern of fans, but developers have been questioning the future of Oculus as well; some of which have been pulling or cancelling their Rift-supported projects altogether. In a lengthy blog post and through Twitter, Markus “Notch” Persson declared that Minecraft for the Oculus Rift has been cancelled, as he will not develop for a company with a history of having an “unstable platform” and “unclear and shifting” motives:
[blockquote style=”” align=””]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. Being able to sit in a virtual living room and see your friend’s avatar? Business meetings? Virtual cinemas where you feel like you’re actually watching the movie with your friend who is seven time zones away?
But I don’t want to work with social, I want to work with games.
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. And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.[/blockquote]
In a response to Markus’s Tweet stating that Minecraft had been cancelled for Oculus Rift, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan offered support from the gaming peripheral and hardware manufacturer:
@notch perhaps we can help out. Will be in touch.
— Min-Liang Tan (@minliangtan) March 25, 2014
For now, nothing has been confirmed, and any potential business deals are completely up for speculation; no one even knows if Razer has some kind of VR device currently in-development or not. For all intents and purposes, this is simply one developer showing support for another in a moment of business-induced frustration….
…However, over the past few years, Razer has drastically broadened their spectrum of products. What started out as a peripheral manufacturer for PC gaming products, Razer now provides assorted audio devices, a cloud-based storage system for key-bindings and macros, a gaming-based tablet, two laptop series, and is currently working on a socially-linked wristband, and the Project Christine fully modular desktop PC. With VR [and augmented-reality] devices on the way from Oculus, Sony and Technical Illusions, it wouldn’t be too absurd for Razer to be secretly working on their own headset.