Early On, Oculus Rift Creator Said He Wouldn’t Sell Out
“Oculus is going forward in a big way, but a way that still lets me focus on the community first, and not sell out to a large company.” — Rift creator Palmer Luckey in 2012
Oculus VR selling out to Facebook went over about as well as an AIG bonus payment. Gamers aren’t happy and those who backed the Oculus Rift from the get go via Kickstarter are even more upset. And for good reason: Rift creator Palmer Luckey intimated on numerous occasions that he didn’t want to sell out to a larger company.
Before there was Oculus VR, the now sizable company that Facebook shelled out a reported $2 billion for, there was Palmer Luckey, virtual reality enthusiast, toiling away on his own to create a VR HMD. In early 2012, he’d solved many of the issues that prevented VR from fulfilling its potential, and he was ready to actually make and ship his HMD for enthusiasts, with a little help from Kickstarter.
“The goal is to start a Kickstarter project on June 1st that will end on July 1st, shipping afterwards as soon as possible,” Luckey wrote in an April 2012 post on the Meant to be Seen forums. “I won’t make a penny of profit off this project, the goal is to pay for the costs of parts, manufacturing, shipping, and credit card/Kickstarter fees with about $10 left over for a celebratory pizza and beer.”
I added the emphasis in the quote above, not to suggest Luckey promised he would never profit from his invention, but to demonstrate the Rift’s origins are humble, generous, and community driven. Luckey made that point even clearer when he announced he’d found a number of partners to help with his project, including Valve and Epic games, but still wasn’t interested in selling (emphasis again added):
“The extent of their relationships with Oculus varies, but I can promise at least a few partnerships. Oculus is going forward in a big way, but a way that still lets me focus on the community first, and not sell out to a large company.”
Sadly, that’s just what Luckey did when he sold Oculus VR to Facebook yesterday, and as Minecraft creator and Rift backer Markus “Notch” Persson said, it just didn’t seem right:
“I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.”