Industry veteran Cliff Bleszinski, who most notably worked at Epic Games for 20 years, has written a lengthy blog post addressing the $2 billion Oculus/Facebook deal wherein he also calls Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson a "pouty kid" for canceling the virtual reality version of the sandbox game.
Bleszinski made clear upfront that he participated in an early round of venture capital funding for Oculus VR and said he stands to make a "very sizable chunk of money" from Facebook's buyout. With that out of the way, Bleszinski said he was a believer in VR when he first saw the tech and he remains one today.
"When that dust settles my heart says that I really, genuinely care about VR and I want to experience and enjoy it myself, and I have faith that it will still happen, and it will be better than ever," Bleszinski said.
Many have criticized Facebook in the past for being intrusive with regards to the private information it collects from users. Zuckerberg is not blind to this concern, but said the "Internet Outrage Machine loves to pile on something like this."
"Maybe Zuck sees what everyone else has seen--the future--and wants to make sure it's more than just great games and saw that it would add value to his business?" he said.
Oculus VR was already doing well on its own, but its sale to Facebook will accelerate the growth of the tech and help it build out an ecosystem, Bleszinski said.
"They needed an ecosystem. IF their system is going to be (hopefully) a dedicated system instead of a (ugh) peripheral they need their version of whatever the app store would be. Your device is only as good as the store and community around it," Bleszinski said. "If users can’t say shut up and take my money, if developers can't post their work then the device will ultimately flounder. Facebook can assist with this sort of thing, as well as having a multi billion user reach. That’s pretty damned important."
Overall, Bleszinski said if "programming god" John Carmack (a new hire at Oculus VR) and Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey believe a sale to Facebook is the right idea, then that "should tell you something."
"Palmer is the classic example of the old adage of 'do what you really love and the money will follow.' Know what? Palmer’s going to keep doing what he loves because he believes in VR. It's his dream. Once the dust settles, and maybe he buys a nicer home, or an Italian sports car, guess what he's going to do? Get right back to work."
Bleszinski further explained that when a company like Oculus VR raises money from venture capitalists, their end-game is often to one day get bought out. He said it might have been "interesting" for a dedicated gaming company like Microsoft to buy Oculus, but this would have limited the tech's potential to affect a myriad of other industries.
"I want games, but I also want virtual tourism. PTSD treatment. End of life quality comfort care improvements. Treatment for a variety of fears. Architectural visualization. Pilot training. Scuba training. The list simply goes on, and on, and on," Bleszinski said. "Start to imagine a VR experience that’s more social where you can sit, say, in a virtual IMAX with your best friends who all live in different cities and things start getting incredibly intriguing."
Also in the blog post, Bleszinski addressed the Kickstarter backer outrage over Oculus VR's sale to Facebook. Simply put, the crowdfunding site's terms say nothing about backers getting equity, he pointed out.
"Apparently some folks don’t understand that donating to a Kickstarter gets you whatever reward you’re told when you donate, you don't get equity, you don't get to participate in the fruits of a sale of a company like that," he said. "Crowdfunding can only take you so far, especially when you're doing something this ambitious. 'I donated money to add value to a company that was eventually sold!' Well, that’s kind of how business works, folks, hate to be the bearer of bad news."
Lastly, Bleszinski took a shot at Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson, who canceled a VR version of the sandbox game in the wake of the sale.
"Notch, your cancelling Minecraft makes you look like a pouty kid who is taking his ball and going home. It's a bratty and petty move and it saddens me greatly," he said.
|Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch|
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