Facebook acquired Oculus Rift today. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
However, I’m not one of those. While Facebook’s track record is shoddy at best, I still have faith in what they’re attempting. They see the potential of Social in Virtual Reality, and it’s a wondrous vision.
But I don’t want to work with social, I want to work with games.
But games are social. Most fun games are inherently social. Dark Souls wouldn’t be quite so much fun without some random player barging in and screwing up all you’d worked for. League of Legends would be nothing if all you played were bots. And while Minecraft is tonnes of fun to play all alone in survival, what keeps me coming back to it is playing online with all of my friends.
Has everyone forgotten what Social really is? It’s not posting a status or picture or leaving comments. It’s about togetherness, communication, and more.
I believe, I want to believe that’s what Facebook sees in this technology. Mark Zuckerberg’s own comments seem to paint a picture of a Virtual Reality “Second Life.”
[…] we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.
And that excites me, too. Can you not imagine the benefits of a Virtual Reality lecture? Or Virtual Reality office hours with your professor? For those like me, people who learn through doing, being able to see how things are done, through your own eyes is an exciting prospect — and there’s so much more.
But what really matters to me, what I’m really excited, is gaming. And with Facebook’s resources, gaming can be truly social. And I don’t mean sharing an achievement or status message — I mean standing beside my friends on the other side of the world after conquering the boss of a difficult dungeon.
And Facebook has no plans to change that.
Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate. The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there’s a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform. We’re going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games. Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook to achieve this.
So pull back your knee-jerk reaction, and let’s watch this play out. Don’t stop developing for Oculus Rift just because a big company is putting their weight behind it.
Instead, let it excite you. Virtual Reality is coming.