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Oculus deal closed in three days, some Kickstarter backers want a refund

Wednesday, 26th March 2014 20:26 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Oculus Rift co-founder Brendan Iribe has said he and the company’s other co-founders Palmer Luckey and Michael Antonov “never intended to sell the company.”

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Speaking with VentureBeat, Iribe said despite its original plans, it “got the deal done with Facebook in three days.”

“That’s how accelerated it was,” he said. “We locked ourselves up in the Facebook HQ and did the deal. I have been through a few of these deals now and they usually take months. This was done in three days. That’s incredible. That’s their commitment to moving fast. We are moving fast and getting together to make the next computing platform.”

Iribe said originally, the team was “building this thing and going along this path” when the co-founders met Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who was ” really interested: in what the company was doing.

“He was fascinated like other people in the geek community, or gaming community,” explained Iribe. “He was really excited about how we were making this thing work. He wanted me to show him the demo at Facebook. I told him there was a better demo down here in Irvine. He was able to hop on a flight down. He met the team. He saw the latest demos. We talked about the vision. The whole thing was about getting more comfortable with each other and the vision and becoming friends. He and I got to be really good friends, and Palmer met him, too. And then he asked, ‘How can I help? How can Facebook help you?’

“We described our roadmap. Then he said, ‘What if we partner with you? You stay the same. Stay who you are. You expand that vision and focus on other things also. Gaming is core. But how can we help and invest significantly into the platform, the hardware, and bring down the cost of it. We could make it more optimized, do custom silicon, make this even better. What if we also invest in the parts so you can sell the virtual reality platform at cost?’

“It would use the best components and build a superior technology platform. Then let’s sell it at cost.”

Palmer Luckey added that Facebook and Oculus didn’t seem an “obvious fit, unlike WhatsApp or Instagram.”

“You can see how they fit together,” he said. “If I were to read the headline, I would be confused about why it would be a good thing. We’ve already said quite a bit. We’re going to have more good news about what we will be able to do now. We are working with Facebook, and we can’t announce it yet.

“Every developer we are working with has had a very positive reaction. My inbox is flooded by email. A huge number of developers. Some people are upset. But the vast majority who are actually software developers see why this is a good thing.”

Luckey admitted that Notch was “an exception to the rule,” but after he sees “everything we are able to do, I hope he will change his mind.”

It was announced overnight Facebook had acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion. Obviously, this hasn’t set well with some of the tech’s Kickstarter backers, and a few backers are asking for refunds.

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14 Comments

  1. Dragon

    That disgrunted KickStarter guy has to do a simple thing, just pay Facebook $2billion and get the Rift back.

    #1 6 months ago
  2. KAP

    ha ha ha!!!

    #2 6 months ago
  3. zme-ul

    how the hell do you get from discussions like “help”, “partnership”, “invest” to fucking acquisition

    And then he asked, ‘How can I help? How can Facebook help you?
    by selling out!? how does that make any sense

    #3 6 months ago
  4. TheWulf

    I think #3 raises the kind of point that had occurred to me, and you actually have to insightful to read it, you have to be asking yourself questions and thinking to see what happened here. And what did happen?

    I feel genuinely bad for them, because they got sheistered.

    Zuckerberg told them everything they wanted to hear, and likely when they were the most desperate for aid, he fed them every line he figured would help come around to his way of thinking. He befriended them, he played the nice guy, and he promised them equality and all the while he was dreaming of having a bunch of new slaves.

    It’s funny, because now I’m thinking of Caesar’s diplomat and the Great Khans in New Vegas, and how much that was an allegory of corporate takeover. Sadly, Oculus didn’t have a Courier to point out what was happening, and now they’re slaves of the great Facebook empire. It’s funny how much that fits.

    So I don’t feel betrayed by them. I just feel that, like many engineers, they’re more focused upon practical things and engineering problems. And those people are really easy to sheister. I’ve noticed how true this is with an engineering friend of mine, who’s been manipulated by a sociopathic person within his social group a good number of times, I had to point out what was going on there before he even saw it.

    And Zuckerberg seems like the kid of cutthroat sociopath who’d be able to sleaze his way along and pull this off, no matter what. He pretends to be your friend, talks about partnership, spews silver-tongued lies which slip into your ears as the purest of truths, and then BAM, you’re bought out by Facebook, bitch.

    This is why indie groups need to be more paranoid and less trusting. Someone who wants your shit will promise you the earth to get it.

    #4 6 months ago
  5. Fin

    Like I said in the other thread, asking for refunds for Kickstarter is such horseshit. You back the project, you got the devkit or whatever. That’s all you’re entitled to (though I would argue it’s at the discretion of the person running the Kickstarter whether to give backers anything at all). You’re not entitled to dictate how the company should run, how it should be sold, what it should do with the rest of its money, nothing.

    Oculus were made a good offer and they took it. As the Kickstarter hit all its goals, and as far as I’m aware, they made good on all the goals, they have absolutely no obligation to any backer, or anyone else for that matter.

    It’s fucking business, and unless you had equity in Oculus, you don’t get a say in what they should’ve done.

    #5 6 months ago
  6. dtyk

    It certainly sounds like they got played pretty good. Zuckerbag isn’t exactly known for his chivalry and sound business practices… Only time will tell.

    #6 6 months ago
  7. Citrus raptor

    @Fin
    But didn’t they back it cause they agreed with the goals?

    I’m sure the ‘fine print’ said something about being able to change the goals, etc however saw fit, but that kind of waywardness doesn’t build trust. Many of the OR supporters did it cause they believed that those behind it was a group with the rare motivation of seeing technology before money, so if one now simply can wave it off as “only business”, like some kind of stereotypical villain, it would go against eveything they beleived in. (?)

    #7 6 months ago
  8. Gekidami

    ^
    That was my point, the goals for the device are no longer the same and you can bet people wouldnt have backed it if they knew this was going to happen. The deal was barely announced and news of ads and virtual purchases were already being talking about by the new boss.
    You could very easily see this as a bait’n'switch, i get why backers are mad.

    I dont really care personally, i think putting money into kickstarter is pretty silly to begin with. Its just another example of why i dont like the service.

    #8 6 months ago
  9. Fin

    @Citrus raptor

    You guys don’t understand. When you Kickstart something, you’re not giving money to them saying “I want you to see your stated endgoal through”, you’re saying “I want whatever my money entitles me to” (in this case, it was a Rift devkit). Saying they’ve changed their endgoal, and you want your money back because of that, is ridiculous. You weren’t an investor, you effectively preordered something. You got your preorder, that’s the end of the business transaction.

    When people backed it with money, they were also backing it emotionally. You can’t expect the company to react based on how its backers feel.

    #9 6 months ago
  10. Citrus raptor

    @Fin
    You’re right about how KS actually works in practic, but it just goes to show how manipulative it’s structured. People are allowing themselves to be fooled by things like goals etc, when only the right coloumn counts.

    #10 6 months ago
  11. Citrus raptor

    @Gekidami
    Yeah, I’ve got pretty much the same reason for not being a fan.

    #11 6 months ago
  12. Gekidami

    @Fin
    Actually Fin i think the over-all spirit of KS is exactly to fund something so that it reaches its end-goals. The stuff you get like the devkits are just incentives and proof things are moving, KS isnt a retail site, they didnt preorder anything.
    People put their money down because they liked/believed the idea and wanted to see the product actually exist with a retail build. If people just wanted the devkits and didnt care about anything else, they’d just buy them, end goals and the products “mantra” wouldnt be stated at all.

    Though you are right, backers have no rights and no ground to complain and ask for refunds. Thats why i dont like KS.

    #12 6 months ago
  13. salarta

    Yeah, getting a very sensitive deal done in a mere three days is a sign of Facebook’s “commitment.” Sure.

    Deals that take months require that time because all people involved need time to consider every possible facet of such a move. They need to think of what it will do to their business, to their customers, what could happen in the future, so very much more. And just sitting in a room for long stretches isn’t enough to do that. You need more than “time actively in negotiations,” you need time out of negotiations to think about it too.

    That the Oculus Rift guys sold out in a mere three days shows exactly how little they were concerned with the actual future of what they’re working on. If they were more concerned, they would’ve spent more time trying to make sure they weren’t overlooking something.

    Oh, and yeah, I’ll definitely believe Notch is “an exception to the rule” when it only takes a cursory look around online to find developers dropping their support for Oculus Rift, both ones currently using Rift and ones that were considering diving into it in the future. Notch may be the most high-profile one, but in all the near-unanimous outrage among Kickstarter backers, I find it laughable to suggest that Notch is this supposed outlier.

    Luckey and the rest of the team wanted money, pure and simple, and the promise of that money took priority over what’s best for Oculus Rift itself. Again, if it was really about what’s best for Oculus Rift, they would’ve spent longer than three days to look it over.

    #13 6 months ago
  14. eTitan

    God everbody has their panties up in a bunch, this is not a bad thing. You’re all idiots if you do nothing but complain about this.

    #14 6 months ago

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