Oculus VR employees got death threats after Facebook sale [UPDATE]

"We did not expect to be getting so many death threats and harassing phone calls that extended to our families," creator Palmer Luckey says.

[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey wrote on Reddit that Oculus VR employees have received death threats in the wake of the company's sale to Facebook.

"We expected a negative reaction from people in the short term, we did not expect to be getting so many death threats and harassing phone calls that extended to our families," Luckey said. "We know we will prove ourselves with actions and not words, but that kind of sh** is unwarranted, especially since it is impacting people who have nothing to do with Oculus."

The original story is below. We have updated this story's headline to reflect Luckey's comments, which were made today.

Following the surprise announcement Tuesday that Facebook had purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion, positive and negative comments flowed forth from social media. Oculus VR vice president Nate Mitchell said in a new interview with Game Informer that he expected to get some heat from its core fans over the deal, but said he was surprised by the outpouring of negativity from the community at large.

"We assumed that the reaction would be negative, especially from our core community," Mitchell said. "Beyond our core community, we expected it would be positive. I don't think we expected it to be so negative."

In the time that's passed, Mitchell said he's already starting to see the conversation on Twitter and Reddit "swinging back the opposite direction." He stressed that it's up to Oculus VR to educate people on why the deal makes sense and should be considered a good thing.

21-year-old Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey has been busy doing just that. Immediately following the announcement of the acquisition, he answered dozens of questions on Reddit about privacy concerns and what the deal means for the future of Oculus. For more on the Oculus VR/Facebook deal, check out editorials from GameSpot editors Tom McShea and Peter Brown.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

Discussion

1283 comments
x_vash_x
x_vash_x

"We expected a negative reaction from our core audience." They mean the people who gave them money, supported them and made them who they are today. Selling out to the biggest casual gaming market is more than a slap in the face... it is spitting on every dollar we wasted on these low life developers. They deserve failure and sorrow, but Facebook bought them out so really only facebook will lose but a tiny bit of their market.

Welcome to Capitalism, where the rich do whatever they please and the rest get to only hope and dream... 

masato_indou
masato_indou

Wow death threats, jeez, though they're probably mostly hot air

suppaphly42
suppaphly42

so from what i'm hearing and reading about. this was probably a big waste of money for facebook here is my rational so a VR head set, regardless of price, is a very niche audience sort of thing and now that facebook and plamer luckey have effectively alienated the people who would buy such a thing and those people are the ones who would tell others to buy it, as we all know that word of mouth is one of the best ways to get sales, it will be safe to assume that the O.R. is going to flop one dev has already backed out and other then FPS game i don't see much of a use for it anyway so no need to make death threats the O.R. is already dead on its feet

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

I'm sick of reading about BS like this... Death threats for Microsoft CEO last summer, death threats for Carolyn Petit over the controversial GTA review, the flappy birds creator, now this....


Keyboard warrior little S**t cowards think this kind of crap is funny. This does nothing to help the image of gaming as a matured entertainment medium. 


It f***ing brings my blood to piss boil! I could give a flying rats a** what your opinions are no matter how wrong the people they are aimed at may be, leave their lives and families out of it! I wish they were all found because if they wanna talk like men, they should do prison time like men.  

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

Anger is completely justified, threats are not.  When you give anyone money without strings, you should expect to get burned.

Nodashi
Nodashi

 While that sell made me a sad panda (Oculus had such a bringht future and Facebook is as bad as EA, if not worst), death threats are serious business. Just go to the police. People like that should be in for a bad surprise if they think then can do that kind of crap and go unpunished....

Darklord42
Darklord42

People are really getting worked up over nothing (Notch too, but that is hardly new for him). It's purely a business deal.  Oculus gets the financial stability it needs to further development, and Facebook gets to further diversify its assets.  Which is what a healthy company is suppose to do (never put your eggs in one basket).  I'm sure the focus will always be gaming as this is the only practical use it is designed for and is the only market interested in buying.

evolate
evolate

ppl and their damned torches and pichforks...well, i guess idiots have their place in this world as well...somewhere...must be a reason...ah yes, consume and work

balrogbane
balrogbane

I made a death threat once......although it was directed at a pimple on my forehead.

Sethalos
Sethalos

Definitely not the way to go, especially towards their families...but I do understand that anger. I'll tell you what, you will NEVER see my crowdsource another project ever. I also will NOT buy an Oculus after this.

robbiejones
robbiejones

Gamer's are very angry, angry people. the comments i see on youtube and gaming websites are beyond ridiculous and unnecessary. this article doesn't surprise me, which is quite sad. 

Halloll
Halloll

still, with that money Facebook paid them they could afford a couple of private armies and use their Facebook connections to find those guys.

hellzicke
hellzicke

I did not expect gamespot staff to be so naive. If you do not pay for the service, you are a part of it. Ofcourse Facebook has interests in this project that would raise concerns for those who was interested in Oculus to begin with.


As far as the death threats go, it is just beyond stupidity and it is show time after another that the anonymity of the internet does strange things to little boys. The best way to show you do not support the idea of the merge is to move on and completely forget about the product.

HardStomp
HardStomp

Not to worry, anyone making that threat is under 13.

mude
mude

APRIL FOOLS DAY!!!!

YearoftheSnake5
YearoftheSnake5

When people send others death threats over a peripheral, which they don't need, you know the future is bleak.

helldragonzer
helldragonzer

LOL come on people, every backed project eventually needs something to live off, this was supposed to live off it's users, but even Sony and MS know that's not enough, so they decided to to the safest economical decision they could think off. Was Facebook the best choice, HELL NO, even EA would have made for a better one, at least they are a gaming company (on paper anyway), but right now the only company with money to throw around is FB. One thing is clear regardless of what they say, Oculus will be for social media what Xbox One is for entertainment, in other words it's for everything, but games will not be it's main focus anymore.


note:I know Phil said it will listen to it's core gamers more and make the X1 what they want it to be, but the console is what it is and unless they make a different model games can't be it's primary focus right now.

tightwad34
tightwad34

Nothing pisses me off more than a coward sitting behind their computer screen giving death threats. People like that need to be seriously shown not only what it's like to actually receive them, but also what it's like to actually act it out. You need to think before you speak. The internet is so bad at times, and good sometimes. I hate it and love it, lol.

deviusM
deviusM

Kickstarter didn't deceive anyone. You pay your money, you get headsets and swag. Pre-orders that drive the R&D. The backers will get their first-edition Rifts a lot sooner, with better performance, and with a lot more incentive for developers to create content. Boo-hoo. What a hellscape we're all living in! I bet they don't have problems like this anywhere else in the world right now. If it makes you feel better, when you get the Rift you paid for, take out your little sticker book and decorate it however you like...just leave the mergers and acquisitions to people who are actually running stuff.

xvyrus
xvyrus

@bigcrusha  Do you realize how not mature you sound? Not doing a whole lot for your cause there buddy. 

xvyrus
xvyrus

@youre_a_sheep  And when you break those peoples trust and become sell outs, then you should expect death threats

Darklord42
Darklord42

I mean seriously,  Why worry that "facebook influence" will creep in? Who is Facebook's core market?  People like my wife who would have no interest in strapping on stupid, cumbersome head-ware.  This is the reason why 3d televisions don't sell well.  No one wants to wear garbage on their face to use the tv or the computer  EXCEPT the hardcore gaming scene.  Fear not, your product is safe

method115
method115

@robbiejones I disagree. This whole issue has to do with the anonimity of the internet. I guarantee 99.9% of these people would not react the same way face to face with these people.

rarson
rarson

@hellzicke

"Ofcourse Facebook has interests in this project that would raise concerns for those who was interested in Oculus to begin with."

Why do you say that? If you were interested in the Rift from the beginning, and you've listened to Facebook's comments on why they bought Oculus, and Palmer's comments on why they decided to allow Facebook to buy them, then why are you at all concerned? Facebook has given Oculus the freedom to work independently and the resources to release the best product possible. What that means for the Oculus hardcore is that they're going to get the best possible product, at the best price, as early as humanly possible. In the near future, the gaming crowd is absolutely best-served by the Facebook deal. They've basically fast-tracked the very product that people were clamoring for them to build.

Oculus has said from the start that games were only the beginning. So if you're up in arms that Facebook is going to expand to non-gaming experiences down the road, then you must have missed the point when Palmer said it first. In fact, Oculus had already gone down that road, having Rifts set up at Sundance to provide a movie-type experience.

I really want to know: what are the concerns here? That the Rift 4 will have some kind of Facebook influence? Do you really care about that if the first three Rifts are awesome products? The Oculus Rift, the product that you care about right now, can only possibly change for the better by this deal. I wouldn't dare be so naive to say that Facebook won't mishandle their future efforts because I simply don't know the future, but what we do know is that Facebook isn't going to do a damn thing to change their course until they've established their product, other than fast-tracking them with near limitless resources.

So, again I ask, what are the concerns here?

LancerVI
LancerVI

@mude  The story was posted on the 29th of March and even if it was April Fools, it's not funny.

SphinxDemon
SphinxDemon

People kill each other over Jordans. It's no surprise

rarson
rarson

@helldragonzer  

By the way, regarding the Xbox One, it blows my mind how short-sighted and out of touch with the market that Microsoft can be. When they announced their platform policies, I couldn't believe that they went public with them, that they couldn't realize well before then that they were bad ideas. Then, with last year's focus on non-gaming features, I was again slapping my head (meanwhile, Sony was chanting my own chant, that it's all about the games). Only NOW do they decide to focus on games. Microsoft seems like they constantly have their pants around their ankles. Their technology is cool, they just don't know how to use it properly (Kinect).

rarson
rarson

@helldragonzer  

Some people seem to think that donating some pocket change entitles them a stake in the company, that capital isn't necessary beyond Kickstarter donations, and that creating a company and a consumer product from the ground up requires next to zero resources.

I actually think that EA would have been a worse company, by far. For one thing, EA would have demanded control over the entire company and would have drastically decreased it's potential by tying it to Origin or some other EA goat screw. Facebook is allowing Oculus to operate independently, which means less interference than even what EA would have given them.

Facebook also has a lot more resources at their disposal than EA, and experience with owning companies that operate independently. I think from a business perspective, it's absolutely impossible to argue that EA would have been a better choice.

Further, Facebook's plans for expanding the experience are coming in the future, but this is exactly the same as Oculus' plans have been all along. From day one they were talking about more than just gaming. The gaming is not going to go away, it's just going to be there first, and then the other experiences will mature. It's just that gaming is the medium that is ready for the Oculus, whereas a 360-degree movie is probably something that will take time to perfect. The key for Oculus is that, whatever the content they deliver, they make sure that the experience is mature enough not to seem weak or have headaches, basically the same stuff that has plagued VR gear for decades. You don't want to remind customers of the same old problems that Oculus seeks to solve.

I really think that if you listen to the conference call and you read some interviews with Palmer from long before Facebook ever came into the picture, the deal actually makes perfect sense and it becomes clear why Palmer was willing to do the deal. Oculus gets a ton of market leverage and resources, expanded freedom, and a solid owner that is smart enough to let them fulfill their vision.

robbiejones
robbiejones

@tightwad34  Guess they feel powerful behind the glow of their computer screen lol. Any money the ones who are so angry via the internet have their own issues and take it out behind a hidden persona

decebal
decebal

@tightwad34  I'm gonna come to your house and feed you to my fierce army of gummy bears. You will die a slow painful death! We'll see who's a coward then!

Caldrin
Caldrin

@RED564 LOL yeah because if you are running a company you dont want to make money and yeah the guy is such an idiot becoming silly rich..

rarson
rarson

@RED564  

Yeah, he's such an idiot that he created a company so successful that it has $2 billion to throw at an investment.

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@xvyrus  I'm human right? This is also a comment section and I have every right to express my anger in what ever form I choose. Same way Johnny cursed out the comment section on that feedbackula when they sent Carolyn personal attacks.

Yes when you drag lives and the lives of families into outright babyish bickering it does "It f***ing brings my blood to piss boil!" I'm not going to take that back no matter how it came across.


And notice I didn't say any anyone should "die", I said " if they wanna talk like men, they should do prison time like men." There's a reason I said that, think on it.

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@suppaphly42It's a generalized expression. Same way we say generalize the word "Man" or "Mankind"  

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@xvyrus @youre_a_sheepNo you should never "expect" That kind of crap from anyone. You or your loved ones. There's a “Manage Your Pledge” on the page, think before you speak.


You wanna be a matured person when expressing your opinion? Take accountability for the things you say. That's what being an "Adult" is about last I checked. So if you wanna make outlandish and unwarranted threats, don't cower behind a keyboard and an alias.

Sethalos
Sethalos

@method115 @robbiejonesHave you ever been to a gaming convention where something undesirable was announced? Gamers go apeshit, online or not.

helldragonzer
helldragonzer

@rarson @helldragonzerMS thinks it can do what it did with Windows with the Xbox, the problem is that Windows wasn't a console, it's only an OS, a medium for the delivery of content, as where the Xbox is a console and the very source of the content and as such you need to focus it on one main goal and the take care of the others. But MS decided it could do all at the same time and sadly that just wasn't the case, you either make a game console with features, or an media entertainment center with gaming capacity, but right now it's not easy to have both and expect it to be as successful as your competition that decided to focus on one aspect at a time, which was the very thing the majority wanted.

helldragonzer
helldragonzer

@rarson @helldragonzeryou know you pretty much made 4 paragraphs saying the very thing I said in one, Facebook has money to throw around, the others don't. But sadly that's all Facebook has, gaming wise it wasn't very good, economically it is for the best.

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@rarson @RED564  Does not mean he is smart either, he bumped into social market and it worked out. These things are more of who gets the idea first no who is smarter. Selling user info to third party and NWO also does not require much brain, you just take the cash they give you.


Its ok Sony is making proper gaming VR, enjoy you new fb style.


Also no one is mentioning eye sight damage from these devices.

rarson
rarson

@helldragonzer

With a console, you really have to foster the software adoption. With Windows, everyone uses it, so they can simply make their OS and their programs and other developers will fill in the gaps. They can evolve the OS as necessary so that a new programming environment doesn't necessarily mean starting from scratch. With a console, they have to work hard to build development tools that will be used for five or six years and may be scrapped after that.

It just takes a lot more work to get the software support for your console when you're not the only game in town and the software is much more focused. And Microsoft doesn't seem to understand that gaming needs to come first, or gamers won't buy the system.

I think it's pretty funny that Microsoft is scrambling to talk about games now. They must be in more trouble than they're letting on. It seems like some are making it out like the consoles are neck-and-neck but if they were, then Microsoft wouldn't have to do a complete 180 from last year.

rarson
rarson

@helldragonzer

I actually explained some reasons why it made perfect sense. There's more to it than just money. Palmer didn't start Oculus just to make money.

rarson
rarson

@WolfgarTheQuiet

Well, he had to be at least smart enough to create the basic, functioning website, and smart enough to see the potential for it. And also smart enough not to try to cash out when Facebook itself was being offered $2 billion.

If you think that creating an operation the size and scale of Facebook doesn't require massive intelligence, then I can only assume you are a dunce. Regardless of whether you like them or not, Facebook makes tons of money because tons of people use their products. That also takes intelligence: creating things that people want to use.

 I'm guessing that no one is mentioning eyesight damage because there is none, at least not any more than that of staring at a TV screen. Maybe your eyes will get tired from moving around so much. It's probably best to take breaks when using the Rift. But some people act like it's a big deal to be staring at a screen so close to the eyes. It's not. Why would it be?

Mantan911
Mantan911

Creating something barely even needs intelegence. Though im not saying its easy to do