Facebook will be a 'powerful force' in driving virtual reality forward, Oculus CTO says

Facebook gets the 'big picture' of VR, John Carmack, the chief technology officer at Oculus, said this week. 

Reuters
In this Jan. 7, 2014 file photo, attendees at the CES expo play a video game wearing Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets.

Earlier this month, Facebook revealed it would acquire California company Oculus VR in a deal worth a reported $2 billion. Oculus VR, of course, makes the forthcoming Oculus Rift, an eagerly-awaited headset that once received an injection of $2.5 million in cash from an array of Kickstarter donors. And now a lot of those donors are feeling a little betrayed by the Oculus team. 

Writing on Twitter, John Melloy, CEO of StockTwits, joked that Oculus might start offering a new T-shirt, one emblazoned with the following tagline: "I Helped Oculus Get Sold for $2 Billion and All I Got was This Lousy T-Shirt." 

But this week, John Carmack, the chief technology officer at Oculus, took to the comments section of a blog run by a musician named Peter Berkman to defend the acquisition by Facebook.

Mr. Berkman had argued that under Facebook, Oculus's users would soon find themselves sliding "down one giant funnel of information." Mr. Carmack responded that "the fairly rapid involvement" of tech titans such as Facebook was "inevitable."

"[T]he real questions were how deeply to partner, and with who," he continues. "Honestly, I wasn't expecting Facebook (or this soon). I have zero personal background with them, and I could think of other companies that would have more obvious synergies. However, I do have reasons to believe that they get the Big Picture as I see it, and will be a powerful force towards making it happen." 

Carmack added that although he "spent an afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg," Facebook's CEO, he was not involved with any of the negotiations. 

His point – that the money from Facebook could help propel Oculus to a new technological level – was echoed last week in a post from the Oculus founders. 

The acquisition "gives [Oculus] the best shot at truly changing the world. It opens doors to new opportunities and partnerships, reduces risk on the manufacturing and work capital side, allows us to publish more made-for-VR content, and lets us focus on what we do best: solving hard engineering challenges and delivering the future of VR," they explain

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