A Rift in Facebook? An Opinionated Look At The Facebook Acquisition of Oculus VR.

Posted: March 31, 2014 in Gaming
Tags: ,

By Sean Gallagher

We normally talk about entertainment and sports here at 4ES but I figured why not talk a bit about the tech that goes behind that entertainment and the politics of a particular situation. In this instance, I of course refer to the recent acquisition of the Oculus VR by Facebook. For those who don’t know, Oculus VR makes the Oculus Rift (OR from now on) is a virtual reality headset which the user wears almost like a mask, only this mask has a screen right up in your face. The user then has almost full immersion into the world, move your head and the character will move along with it. You might look like a Daft Punk reject doing it but the experience is said to be thrilling and unique

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That being said, social media giant Facebook recently purchased the company for a whopping $2 BILLION dollars, despite the fact that OR was originally an indie project crowd funded by Kickstarter that was sold to the Man (Mark). Now, here comes the scary bit. Considering what we already know about Facebook’s privacy and data gathering policies for advertising, imagine engaging in your favourite games while your information is being farmed and adverts are being bounced back to you, only this time directly in your face as you’re playing a game. It’s bad enough on the Xbox 360’s dashboard but having all those Facebook ads flashing before me does not sound like something I would want to pay money for. The Rift was originally designed with gaming in mind, but the Facebook acquisition merges this plan with social media and networking, watering down the original product’s end goal. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that he hopes the OR will allow people to “watch courtside games […] just by putting goggles at your home”.  Ugh the future looks grim, to sit down and literally bubble up into a digital projection of the world. All cool for a bit of entertainment but when Mark suggests learning from teachers using OR, this kind of creeps me out.   Also worth mentioning is that Facebook isn’t exactly known for delivering great games (Farmville, I’m looking at you) and the fear of watered down and “free-to-play” (aka pay to continue) modules might be adapted. But this is one side of the coin, as Facebook’s network and capital might be what Virtual Realities need to get a strong audience considering the product has not been launched yet. But as The Guardian states, all the negative backlash online only solidifies the fact that Facebook and what it stands for is becoming less and less popular with people, despite the fact that the social networking giant is trying very hard to be just that.

Sean Gallagher

sources: Forbes, The Guardian,

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