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back to article Facebook Oculus VR buyout: IT WANTS your EYEBALLS

Mark Zuckerberg made his boldest and certainly most physical play for eyeballs yet on Tuesday when Facebook announced plans to acquire virtual reality startup Oculus VR - the outfit behind Rift headsets - for $2bn. It's the latest in a series of brash moves from the free content ad network. Oculus VR now joins the ranks of …

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WTF?

Hell on Earth

"Facebook World". Where's the Munch Scream icon when you need it.

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Re: Hell on Earth

Even Westworld was preferable to this...

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Oculus gone from gaming to "social" with 1 dreadful purchase. Game devs are already pulling out of it and switching to Sony's offering.

Oculus have sold their souls to the devils murdering cousin.

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Anonymous Coward

Takes some doing to make gamers prefer Sony to anything.

Gah. I had been looking forward to this stuff too.

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Everyone was, AC

Everyone was.

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Sold their souls?

If I had a product that was still in development and Zuck offered me $2 BEEEEELLION for it, I think I might say yes. And if it was Beelzebub offering the dosh I'd settle for $1billion.

I really can't blame them. This is like winning the lottery twice weekly for the next couple of years!

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Re: Sold their souls?

"Thiws is like winning the lottery twice weekly for the next couple of years!"

Provided they sell their newly acquired Facebook shares before it all goes tits up...

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Re: Sold their souls?

You'd been had. It would all be in "shares" that pay out on 20 years time, after the company does a Titanic. Always read the small print on the soul sale documentation...

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Re: Sold their souls?

I'm possible in the minority in this respect, but I'd rather retain control of my business and settle merely to become a multi-millionaire rather than a billionaire. My integrity would be intact, I'd have the respect of the gaming community. As a bonus I'd also have the satisfaction of knowing that my product had changed the world and that I would leave a lasting legacy when I die. And, if my crowdsourced product had gone on to be spectacularly successful, I would have given something back to the spirited donors who gave me a leg up. Maybe I'm just naive, I honestly don't know.

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Re: Sold their souls?

"I'm possible in the minority in this respect, but I'd rather retain control of my business and settle merely to become a multi-millionaire"

I am with you there - it wasn't as though they were looking at poverty if they didn't take this offer.

However they may just not see it as a bad thing - if what they care about is getting the product right then this should give them the stability and security to achieve that.

Or some such bullshot will be how they justify it.

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Re: Sold their souls?

The founders probably "sold their souls" long ago. Don't forget they previously had two rounds of VC funding after kickstarter; the first for ~$16M and the second for ~$75M. It's likely the founders no longer held a controlling stake in the company and the 8 or so venture firms decided that a 20X return was adequate for them to move on and try their luck at another ground floor investment.

On the FB side, all I can think is 'what the hell?' Either this is the most brilliant move by Zuck and Co. or the worst attempt at trying to stay relevant in the headlines.

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Unhappy

Re: Sold their souls?

"If I had a product that was still in development and Zuck offered me $2 BEEEEELLION for it, I think I might say yes. And if it was Beelzebub offering the dosh I'd settle for $1billion."

Actually I think it's more like $400m in cash and $1600m in Fapbook shares.

So $400m in the folding stuff is not bad.

But I wonder is that what the guy who wrote QDOS thought when MS bought it for $50K so they could get MSDos 1.0 out the door?

He went off for a bit of a holiday. They went off to establish a stranglehold on the PC market.

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I was worried that Zuckerberg literally wanted my eyeballs then

I wouldn't put it past him though. I'm going to start checking app permissions a little bit more carefully now.

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free content ad network.

You mean "content free ad network"?

I know an old joke.

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Mushroom

Want any of my data? Want my "eyeballs"? YOU! SHALL! NOT! PASS!

Bitch.

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Integration

This commentary complete ignores the idea of integrating Oculus with the rest of the stuff. The other purchases extend Facebook's offering. If I was an investor in Facebook I'd want a more convincing justification for the purchase than that offered so far. The deal might work or it might just be another AQuantive.

In any case, I wonder when Facebook is going to get around to writing down (let's be charitable) these investments.

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Re: Integration

"If I was an investor in Facebook I'd want a more convincing justification for the purchase than that offered so far"

That's why you aren't an investor in Facebook.

By the time VR goes mainstream for Doctors surgeries and Tennis Courts, the world will be a different place. Whatever the investment plan Facebook had for VR it probably won't end up making sense. Probably we'll find that Facebook owns one of three major VR headset manufactures in the future. But the popular VR software that runs on those headsets is created by 3rd party software companies. So Facebook doesn't have access to the data.

Oops. Good luck getting that $2bn back from selling headsets.

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I've given this some thought.

Zuck is never going to get his 2billion back via Oculus directly. Its only ever going to be indirect, via services thst use VR, any VR.

The Rift is hardware, and while posible (but highly unlikely) to have facebook data slurping firmware that data has to be collected via its driver. The will be open source drivers.

Zuck is not going to be getting much usable data from me playing HL2 with an oculus, or from any of the first or second gen VR software.

Its the generations after that he's got his eyes on. The software that majority of people might use VR for, virtual shoping, movies and events.

If you don't want to feed zuck, then don't use those services.

The money and resources Oculus have just got are good for VR, the unpleasent VR facebook stuff was going to happen anyway. The only real change is the Rift will come sooner and better.

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Biggest issue that I can see is that FB wants all your data, ALL of it. They then suggest OR is perfect for talking to your doctor. Would anyone really trust facebook with the data they would get from a private VR chat with the doctor?

Watching tennis with it, expect adverts to be placed on the screen at set times, which based on your previous chat (not yours obviously) with the doctor will be adverts for Viagra.

That's before you get down to the fact that OR is very niche and very expensive and requires dedicated support to get it to work properly, so all in all it seems to be a very bad investment which is really going to destroy OR and feed it's rivals, still, it means FB has $2b less in it's pocket so it's not all bad.

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Agreed, I wouldn't use a Facebook operated service to talk to my doctor.

But I would use an Oculus Rift, using an independent self-contained service to talk to my doctor.

Though how my doctor is going to examine my swollen knee via VR I'm not sure.

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Anonymous Coward

> The Rift is hardware, and while posible (but highly unlikely) to have facebook data slurping firmware that data has to be collected via its driver. The will be open source drivers

The dev kit hardware is currently aimed exclusively at PC gamers, which is no good to Zuck. He's going to be pushing for a lightweight Google glass-a-like that connects with people's mobiles.

There is a good chance that the OR as it stands now will be cancelled in favour of a shit mobile version.

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I doubt Carmack will stand for that

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Zuckerborg's suggestions

For possible uses do not make any sense to me, none of them.

I think the guy is in a panic and is spending the shareholder value at random hoping that something may by chance work out OK.

But 2bn??? FFS, he could have developed the whole thing from scratch to maturity for less than 10 mio...

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Re: Zuckerborg's suggestions

"But 2bn??? FFS, he could have developed the whole thing from scratch to maturity for less than 10 mio"

Perhaps he realizes how hated facebook is. He could set up a competitor to OR but everyone would choose OR over facebook. So taking out OR makes sense (of course now everyone just doesn't like OR)

What I want to know is how that negotiation went. Did he just offer $2bn? Or did he have to work up to that? Did the OR people really turn down $1bn?

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wow

Well, that's certainly a big "fuck you" in the face of all their supporters. Create your gear out of donations, but at the first sight of big money, sell out faster then Dr Dre!

I was very interested in the development of the oculus rift, but i'm going to completely ignore it from now on.

I have a facebook account, as i see it as a necessary evil, but i want to stay away from them as much as i can.

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Re: wow

At the very least I think they should now repay the donations.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: wow

Welcome to the innate risk in kickstarter.

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Re: wow

Why repay? The Kickstarter folk were promised an early dev kit, which they were given, and that's the end of their involvement. People confuse funding via Kickstarter with buying shares. Kickstarter is used by companies that want money and don't want to give up their shares or control to get it.

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Re: wow

I think KS should change their T&C to impose a condition that if the project owners sell the project before delivering the "prizes" to the contributors, they must repay the contributions with an appropriate mark-up or deduction pro-rata to the profit or loss realised on the sale.

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Re: wow

Did you "donate" to the project? Did you get the listed reward for being a backer? Yes? Then you you got what you paid for, and you should stop bitching that the product you "kickstarted" is actually successful.

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Re: wow

"Did you "donate" to the project?"

Not I, no.

"Then you you got what you paid for"

If that is the case then I agree, the contributors should have no grounds to complain. What I meant was that if the project is sold *before* it happens there should be an upside to the contributors.

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Re: wow

Or issue stock commensurate to the scale of contribution.

Ah. But Zuck wouldn't own it then would he.

Refund the KS contributors twice.

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Re: wow

there are plenty of kickstarters that never deliver anything because they run out of money long before they'd ever of produced anything.

Kickstarter is a place where people get base funding for their project and you hope you get the rewards at the end... in general if the company gets bought up all the better as it increases the chance of whatever it was you backed getting finished.

That's kickstarter. You're throwing money into a hole in the off chance it will achieve its goals. Occulus did achieve its goal and sent the stuff it was required to. Now it's been bought by an interested party. Nobody that backed it is owed anymore then the things they said they'd give.

People that back kickstarter have a bizarre sense of entitlement that they don't actually have any rights to based on the way the site works.

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Re: wow

>Did you get the listed reward for being a backer? Yes? Then you you got what you paid for,

Or, I paid for a dev kit for a new VR eco-system which I now find is owned by Facebook.

It's like buying an ARM dev kit, funding the development of ARM, and then being told that all ARM devices were now sold to company X and only company X's software would run on them.

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Re: wow

Unless, of course, you're a developer who subsequently spent months developing for the prototype you were sent, only to find that the whole shebang has been sold to an outfit that has - at the last count - no respect for developers, and little interest in gaming.

Under these circumstances, I can see why backers are up in arms.

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there will be

The fastest Firmware hacks in history !!!!

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LDS
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Second Life 2.0?

Is this Faecesbook is aiming for?

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Faceholes?

Am I the only person that sees this as a quick route for facebook to get a product to market which is (roughly) the equivalent of Google Glass?.

Are we soon to faced with hordes of faceholes?.

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Meh

Prisoner Cell Block F

And, by keeping us locked away in separate rooms, Zuckerberg recognises that he needs tech that will - no matter how convoluted the conceit - make us believe (however fleetingly) that we are sharing our lives together.

Now I know El Reg hived off all mobile stuff to its own pages. But surely this is as ... loopy ... as Zuck deciding everyone will be sat staring into a pair of monitors for the rest of their lives. He'll be bigging up the Video Conference Tool of the Future, next!

Who sits locked away anywhere, any more? Most people are out and about with phones and tablets, nattering with "friends", aren't they? Or sitting surfing while ma and pa watch the telly?

I agree with Vladimir-P, up above, this just looks like chucking some cash at something that's trendy. Keeps the investors believing Facebook will be relevant in the future, I guess.

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Secret plan?

OR dump all the FB shares on the market, in one hit, crashing the FB share price and making Mr Z cry like a little girl as his empire goes down the plughole.

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Unhappy

Well

we can look forward to a VR future that instead of full on 3D blood and gore combat sims , we'll end up with candy crush 3d complete with ads

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Anonymous Coward

What a really repugnant vision of the future. Its like someone just tore up your favourite sci-fi and used it to wipe their arse.

"...a boot stamping on a human face - forever" given flesh.

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He bought the wrong one.

Let FB have the big clunky! I want the Avegant Glyph anyway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvNmmumFyhU

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The point

Zuckerberg is missing it... If VR is ever to take off I think it would be the gamers who would make it happen. This tech isn't going to appeal to most "non gamers" and casuals unless it's dirt cheap and there is a VERY clear advantage to having it. It's not going to be dirt cheap and there is no clear advantage when this starts outs.

For this kind of tech you want a target demographic that is active to pick up new tech, use it heavily with ever increasing amounts of creative applications and willing to spend quite a lot of dosh trying out said new tech. IE you want gamers.

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Re: The point

I think there is a potential market for VR in education that would eclipse gaming.

Back in 1999 I was looking into this: A Virtual campus for students that can't attend lectures. What was being done then was lectures being filmed and made available online to students. The problem was there was no interaction, and that is a big part of education hence the project. It didn't get far: There wasn't much in the way of funding, but the principle was presented and probably forgotten.

However, this technology would make it possible to set up a virtual lecture which would open up all sorts of opportunities in education. No need for lecture theatres would mean lectures could be held when it was convenient for the students and lecturer rather than be subjected to schedule hell as they are now, separate rooms could be created for work groups as needed, lectures would become economic for smaller classes and students would not be bound by geographical location (lab work could be a problem at first, but ultimately - make that virtual, too).

Gaming could quickly become eclipsed by Education for driving further development of this technology. However I'm pretty sure the Adult industry would be in there, too...

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Re: The point

There are plenty of potential markets for VR that would eclipse gaming. But imanidiot's valid point is that those markets will be very hard to break into, decades. Gaming can be broken in tomorrow.

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Gaming community a niche market?

a $75 billion niche market.

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Re: Gaming community a niche market?

Gaming is bigger than Hollywood

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Anonymous Coward

Zuck

Just pi** off and do something useful

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Zuck

Jump off a bridge?

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