Oculus Kickstarter Backers Are Demanding Refunds

Oculus Kickstarter Backers Are Demanding Refunds

When you give money to a Kickstarter, do its creators owe you anything beyond the rewards that were promised? Is there an implicit understanding that those creators will stay scrappy and independent? Or can artists and designers do whatever they want once they have got your money?

Yesterday's news bombshell -- Facebook buying the virtual reality company Oculus Rift for $US2 billion -- has raised some interesting questions about the role of Kickstarter in a startup's success. After all, Oculus Rift began as a small group of garage developers hoping to crowdfund $US250,000. The company might not be where it is today if not for those 9,522 Kickstarter backers, none of whom get to see a cent of Facebook's $US2 billion, unless they happened to get their hands on some equity.

It's always been clear that funding a project on Kickstarter is more donation than investment -- there's no financial return, and no legal recourse if someone takes your money and runs -- but we've never seen anything on this scale before. Without that Kickstarter money, Oculus might have not been able to attract any of the venture capitalist funding they have been accumulating for the past two years, and without that VC backing, there might be no Facebook deal. So can you really blame Kickstarter backers who might feel like they missed out on something big here?

Gawker's Joel Johnson, who gave $US300 to Oculus, wrote down some nuanced thoughts over on Valleywag that are definitely worth reading . "I still feel as if circumstance removed me from an opportunity to turn my speculative belief in the future of VR and Oculus's role in it into real money," he wrote. "Their story -- a genuine garage hacker does what billion-dollar companies would not -- didn't imply its eventual end: that the barefoot, teenage founder would sell his startup to a giant technology corporation before they sold a single retail product. No injury, perhaps, but plenty of insult."

Meanwhile, on the Oculus Rift Kickstarter page, some backers are not pleased. Some are demanding refunds. "You selling out to Facebook is a disgrace," writes backer Sergey Chubukov. "It damages not only your reputation, but the whole of crowdfunding. I cannot put into words how betrayed I feel by this."

Some other reactions:

Oculus Kickstarter Backers Are Demanding Refunds

We've reached out to Oculus to get their perspective on all of this. It's the type of rags-to-riches story to keep in mind next time you back something promising -- something that could be really big -- on Kickstarter. You're not investing; you're donating. And for one perspective, to quote Sam Biddle over on Valleywag... "For me, it's now simple: post-Oculus, if you back a large Kickstarter project, you're a sucker."


Comments

    Don't share their disdain for the Facebook situation but I can understand where they're coming from. It's disappointing that they were priding themselves on not selling out to any company and then selling out to the worst one of all.

      I don't think anyone starts a business to stay poor. I also don't care at all, as the people who sold up probably wont while their families are completely set for the next.. several generations..

        There's a difference between shamelessly being a sellout, and being a sellout who previously promised not to sell out, whose integrity and refusal to sell out was a selling point to some.

        Again, I don't care about the Facebook fiasco. I do however, understand why people are upset.

    do its creators owe you anything beyond the rewards that were promised?No.

    So much whining and kicking and screaming.

      It's not about being owed anything for many. A lot of people were funding more than the device, they believed his interviews that he wouldn't sell to the larger companies sniffing around, that he wanted to deliver his vision on his own terms and not sell that vision out.

      I don't blame him, there isn't much that many people wouldn't do for 2.2 billion, but they can admit that.
      At the same time it is something that crowdfunders should realise, there may be much bigger fish in the pond who see the same possibilities as you

      Last edited 27/03/14 9:56 am

        In previous interviews, he had said there was a number. He just didn't think it was a reasonable number.

        Turns out someone offered him an unreasonable amount of money. I think if most of us were honest with ourselves, we'd do a lot for the $400 million in cash, let alone the shares that make up the rest of the deal.

          For sure. I might dislike the fact that it's Facebook now, but if I was offered that much money you better believe I'd sell out within seconds of the offer being presented to me. $100 million is a huge amount of money. $2 billion is unfathomable to me. I didn't support this on Kickstarter, but would I be demanding a refund if I did? Maybe if the product I received did not meet my expectations, or talk had begun about taking it in a different direction. None of that has happened, so all these demands for refunds are complete overreactions. Demand your money back when you need to log in to Facebook in order to use the device, or ads start popping up everywhere.

          Also, this was a Kickstarter project. Investing in these is a risk in itself - you could be unlucky enough to never get the product. Instead, this project has just been injected with billions of dollars. People should be jumping for joy.

          Last edited 27/03/14 12:31 pm

            Valve was already backing Oculus VR weren't they?

            If so, why the hell sell out to goddamned Facebook. I'd be fine with it IF and only IF those arsehats (FB) plainly stated that other than buying the company, they wouldn't touch Oculus VR in ANY way.

            Previously, I was so psyched about Oculus. Even when I initially heard that FB was buying them, I didn't think it'd be too bad. More funding and whatnot = possibly better product.

            Once FB decided to molest Oculus and state that they were going to be changing a few things (IE; logo and whatnot), that turned me off.

            Thankfully there are other VR options popping up.

            After reading pages and pages of butthurt comments, I still don't get it; what's the big freaking deal? So something awesome that you wanted to see happen gets bought by a monolithic company with endless resources to develop that thing - that's good, right? I honestly don't understand why people think facebook will "ruin" the OR.

            This may sound like sarcasm but I really would love to know the answers to all this. Because otherwise it just sounds like baseless whinging.

              I guess it comes down to years of experience with companies that get bought out. Everyone involved says, "Hey, it's cool. Nothing is going to change. There is no interference. Trust us."

              Six months down the line, someone leaves, then something changes, and then something else and then suddenly everything has changed and the product/company looks nothing like the original that we came to know and trust and love and what we have is a watered down, corporate company in the place of something that was awesome.

              Forgive us for not just automatically trusting that things will work out for the best.

                Sure, I can understand why people would feel that way. Tbh though a lot of the comments I've read haven't exactly reflected that same mature reasoning. I'm not really much of a gamer, so forgive my ignorance, but what are some of the examples of that happening in the past?

                Last edited 28/03/14 4:43 pm

                  A perfect example would be the purchase of Infinity Ward by Activision, or pretty much any EA purchase ever (particularly Bullfrog, Westwood, Maxis and Bioware). Outside of the gaming world, I would say that the purchase of Internode by iinet comes pretty close to exactly what I'm talking about too. I would say as a counterpoint, you see examples of studios like Bungie, who actually maintained their culture after purchase and, indeed, got out from under the yoke of Microsoft, eventually, so it isn't always an automatic death knell.

      Biblical proportions of QQ. There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth..

      Yeah - I dont think they would be kicking up such a mess if they sold it to a 'cool' company like Valve or Google.

        I think it would be much, much worse if they sold it to Google.

        I thought they were already technically partnered with Valve? And plus, what's wrong with Valve anyway? So far they haven't been scummy arseholes like FB.

        I think it's more that Facebook has nothing to do with gaming, so people can't see their ownership bringing anything positive to a piece of gaming hardware. You're right that if Valve (or any game developer, really) had bought it then there wouldn't be this reaction, but that's because we know that Valve's business is games. Facebook's business isn't games or hardware, it's advertising. (Same with Google, I think you're completely wrong in saying nobody would have cared if Google bought it.)

          I can't talk for others, but for me personally, I invested time and money in oculus, and to see all that sold off to a creepy company like facebook that doesn't exactly have a morally clean slate is really really disappointing, it feels like being backstabbed, by something you loved.
          As for google, I would be against it, I don't really trust google, but I would be less distraught than with the current sellout to facebook. As for Valve, I don't agree with everything they do, but at least their heart is in the right place.
          Both google and facebook are public companies, that means that the only thing that counts is the bottom line, the more money that can be squeezed from their customers the better. Valve is still indie so they don't have shareholders constantly pushing them for money and can afford to do good, and have so in the past.
          Anyway, the oculus facerape is dead to me, time to look for other VR headsets, I heard rumors that Valve may be considering going that route too, which would be cool.

      these people donated money based on the vision he prescribed

      Selling out to facebook was not one of them and had they known at the time, what they know now
      Then they most certainly would not have donated

      Its the same as misleading advertising

        I donated based on Carmack's Quakecon keynote and the kickstarter video. The vision was just to get the project off the floor, get dev kits out the door and into people's hands to play with and start making things, so that there was groundwork laid for a consumer product to be launched from. And that's exactly what we got. The attention and success attracted all sorts of investors that gave them greater means to realise the vision, Facebook is just another one of them. Most of this stuff is just kneejerk reaction from a whole bunch of people that don't like Facebook.

    Facebook should refund every backer's initial investment. 2.5 mill is nothing to them.

    Last edited 27/03/14 10:13 am

      it wasn't an investment it was a donation.

        Only for those who got nothing in return.

          no it was a donation for everyone who backed

    Okay 1 guy who donated $10 is complaining ? He isn't even getting any kickstarter reward for that :I

      He probably has more reason to complain than those who *did* qualify for awards.

      He thought he was encouraging a small, battling developer purely for the joy of seeing a good product developed by smart developers. What he's actually getting is that the $10 winds up on Facebook's balance sheet and the product he was sponsoring falls into the hands of a large corporation that has frequently demonstrated disdain for its customers.

        I wouldn't say Facebook demonstrates disdain for its customers. You have to bear in mind that Facebook's customers aren't the people who have Facebook accounts to keep in touch with their friends. Their customers are the advertisers. And Facebook fucking LOVES those guys.

    Why am I not surprised. To me selling out to a major corporation isn't the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that it was Facebook, and if those Kickstarter backers knew that this was going to happen in the end most of them wouldn't have backed it.

      and if those Kickstarter backers knew that this was going to happen in the end most of them wouldn't have backed it.

      I think it is a stretch to go from some people complained to most people wouldn't have invested. It is possible, but you would have to prove it to make such an assertion. In my experience, it is a very vocal minority who tend to rage against corporations like facebook, microsoft, EA, etc.

    Legally do they owe their backers anything, no
    Ethically, that may be a different story

      Facebook, have ethics. That'll be a cold day in Hell.

      At the time of the kickstarter, if there were already talks with facebook in any way than yeah there would be legal ramifications.

      Ethically they don't owe them anything either. The original kickstarter was to get the project off the ground and get it into some kind of tangible state, which it did successfully.

      Backers will still get their rewards and the product will now have a strong partner to help get it into the market.

      The only reason why people are complaining is because of Facebook and their irrational fear that it'll turn into some kind of VR Facebook outlet, which it won't.

      I am pretty sure that if kickstarters fail to fulfill the obligations they are entitled to refunds, it's in the kickstarter FAQ. However selling out might not enough to warrant a refund.

      ah you serious, they have done what is best for their company and the product they are producing, people should be celebrating, its giving them so much more potential, having the sort of backing facebook can provide.

        I disagree. Facebook isn't in the gaming sector, they don't get gaming, they have expressed no interest in gaming. This is a technology and staffing transfer arrangement. As per most acquisitions, it will not result in upcoming products coming to market. Oculus will dissolved by the poaching of valued employees onto other "more important" projects that generate revenue as internal politics play out. People should be angry because this is a signal that the Rift will either a) never reach the mass market, or b) it there will be no follow up products.

    Not sure the creators can hear the angry cries through the insulated walls of their money forts.

      Palmer: Uhh nuhh, $10 guy is mad at me
      Supermodel: Let's go back to sleep on our money bed
      Palmer: Yeah okay, I guess

    I can't imagine anyone who's complaining knocking back 2 billion dollars for something they own. Not exactly pocket change.

    Clearly the play here is to watch out for really popular kickstarters. Don't back the project but buy stock or some way into that company and reap the rewards.

      You'll rarely find kickstarters by publicly traded companies.

        Wouldn't stop you buying in if you really wanted to

      You've basically hit the nail on the head.
      Being a kickstarter backer is not buying a share in the company, or VC-like in any other way. (It isn't even a pre-order system; it is more akin to betting in the hope of a return).

      Maybe there is a place for the crowd-VC model where you actually get a share in the company itself...

        Personally if I made 2billion off something like this I would at least want to give something back to the people who believed in me to start with. They might not be investors in the technical sense but they were in spirit. Refund double their contribution on top of their reward, give them some shares in your company (if it still exists) or a few from the company that bought you. Just do something to show these people that their belief in you means something and that you aren't just another moneygrubbing douche.

    You should try being a LIFX backer. Rather than deliver bulbs to backers as promised they sold them to Best Buy and Amazon. Backers received their bulbs no less than 2-3 months after these commercial entities had been stocked. Some backers are still waiting for their bulbs.

      ...and then the software doesn't work... bulbs half work on command.. app doesn't crash.. but doesn't always talk to the bulbs.. so you spend 20x as long a you would turning on and off a light than if you went over to flick the switch.

    It seems to me less about the actual amount invested by individuals and whatever ownership or rewards they feel they are entitled to, and more about the fact that a crowd funded technology is now in the hands of Facebook (especially after such a short time), who view people as products they can sell to advertisers (a fact that people are often oblivious to). Who do you trust more, the kickstarter kid or a huge dominating business?

    This:

    It’s always been clear that funding a project on Kickstarter is more donation than investment — there’s no financial return, and no legal recourse if someone takes your money and runs

    is absolutely, provably false. Please don't post things that are false.

      Well. There's no promising (or even 'hope in hell') legal recourse if they wrote themselves appropriate 'get out of jail' cards into the terms of their Kickstarter. You could file a civil suit, but most of them these days are writing that as a back you will receive X, Y, Z... IF the project is completed. Kickstarter themselves had some terms last I checked that say you have to show you made an effort, if you're going to declare failure, but as far as satisfying the terms of that backer/provider contract? I'm pretty sure it's easy enough to rig up situations where the backer would be so close to 'no legal recourse' as it's possible to get anywhere.

      There isn't much legal recourse available. Even Kickstarter acknowledges that the most likely end result from a failed project is "damage to the creator's reputation, and maybe even legal action".

      If someone deliberately sets out to defraud backers, then yeah, probably legal recourse. In a situation like this, my guess is that there's SFA by way of recourse.

        As a backer, you can file a civil suit against the creator if they fail to provide what they promised in return for the contribution.

        This is the same legal recourse you'd have for pretty much any purchase if the seller doesn't deliver and you can't settle things out of court.

          But it's my understanding that everyone got what they were promised, a dev kit prototype of the OR. It's the principle of the thing that has people up in arms this time... please correct me if I'm wrong.

            They aren't entitled to anything more than what they were promised, no. But that is very different to saying there is "no legal recourse if someone takes your money and runs" as the article did.

            The backers got what they were promised, and that's where the obligation ended.

              But that is very different to saying there is "no legal recourse if someone takes your money and runs" as the article did.
              Exactly. Thanks for your answers, which IMHO are correct.

              If someone takes your money based on promising to deliver a certain product and then fails to deliver, you probably have contractual and statutory legal remedies available to you.

              If they take your money and run, you are probably also the victim of a crime.

              The fact that all of that might be difficult/expensive/not worth it is a separate point.

    For a while I've been thinking that there's many projects that should take a bit more of a traditional investor approach to kickstarter, where people kick in little amounts like they do but then can see some return on investment.

    For some uses the whole preorder/reward idea is kind of cool and it works. But if you're just looking to get the items you're paying something of a premium or there are issues during fulfillment because they overpromised.

    Instead encourage people to act like investors, get invested in the company and it's success. You can add rewards almost like a store on top to actually function like a preorder, just think how much people will be pushing others to buy from the store if they've invested in the financial returns of the business.

    Ok this is getting a bit rambly, having trouble organising my thoughts today.

      can you imagine the sort of entitlement during the development process if they did though.

      the devs would never catch a break, already forums for games such as star citizen get people talking about how the money they "invested" should let them have a say in development, even though they are not investors they are backers

        They already have that entitlement though, which is why we're having this backlash now when they don't really have a leg to stand on.

        Except ethically of course.

        If they were all compensated or had shares in OR do you think any of them would be complaining? It's sour grapes because instead of investing in a company that has done exceptionally well, they just gave them money.

          there is nothing ethically wrong with what they have done.

            Now I didn't say they had done something wrong, I said the backers only had an ethical leg to stand on. Which just implies there's enough for them to make an argument, though probably not win it.

            It's the same reason it's bad form to give away lottery tickets as gifts, if they win there's this weird limbo of obligation. Yes, technically it was a gift and you now own the winnings but does the person who gave you that gift which turned out to be so much more valuable than they expected not deserve anything?

            I mean you're now a multimillionaire thanks to them, surely most people would at least share a portion in that situation or risk losing their friendship.

            I still think it's a big sign that Kickstarter needs to at least start allowing for some more slightly traditional investment opportunities. Actually let these backers, who's belief gets them off the ground to be a part of the success for projects where that's appropriate.

            I also kind of love the idea about investors creating kickstarter portfolios, backing projects they love or believe in and earning more money to invest in products they believe in. Which is how the stock market was originally envisioned of course, but now it's just so fucking big and corrupt.

    This is why I've always been leery of Kickstarter. It's a system geared towards taking advantage of consumers through their love of certain hobbies. There are no safe guards, no detailed costings and no reasonable payoff for investing large sums of money ("perks" like posters don't count). The old adage "a fool and his money are soon parted" is right on the er, money.

      But on the other hand, the amounts backers are contributing are on the order of tens or hundreds of dollars, not tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

        Most shareholders don't contribute tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars either. But they still get to share in the profits.

          But kickstarter supporters are not shareholders. They're patrons that are promised a few rewards as thanks for their donations. Whatever happens afterwards is the creator's own choice and the patrons don't get to have a saying nor complaining about future decisions. I could understand someone complaining about not being given rewards, but complaining about executive decisions in the future of a company? That's just petty and staggeringly misguided.

            Some projects are appropriate for patrons, particularly industries evolved from places that traditionally used them in the arts.

            Art projects, film making, a lot of the things kickstarter was built to allow work well under this model. There's unlikely to be large ungoing profits, even with the added influx making it into the black may just not be feasible.

            But in this case, Kickstarter literally helped fund a multi-billion dollar company that will be seeing profits for years to come.

              And? If you give $10 to a homeless man and with that he buys a winning lottery ticket, does he owe you the prize? If you always tip a chick at a diner and with those tips she puts herself through college and becomes a very successful lawyer, does she owe you a percentage of her gains? What if Oculus Rift used your money to commit a grave crime, should you go to jail for being complicit?

              Once you voluntarily parted with your money, you are in no way entitled to follow up and cash in profits obtained from the efforts of the people that received it beyond what you expected to get back when you parted with it.

                I think there's a difference if that homeless guy buys a lotto ticket with that money compared to you giving him the ticket itself.

                If someone gave me a multimillion dollar lotto ticket and I won, I'd give something back to whoever gave it to me if I knew who they were.

                See the issue here is that there is a grey line between investment and donation, whilst kick starter is technically a donation it tends to emotionally come across as an investment.

                I'm not arguing that they're entitled, I'm arguing that in their situation the investment should have been handled differently so that they were. The person at the diner you tip is a particularly egregious metaphor, she is literally working so that she doesn't need a donation. You're either paying her for a specific unrelated service, or else you're overtipping for some other reason in an unsolicited manner and since it's unsolicited of course you have no right to say what they can do with it.

                I get that you're saying people "bought" the rewards and they aren't entitled to anymore, but rewards often aren't items you buy. They are a reward for different tiers of investment, look at all the kickstarters that let you pay $50 for a shirt you could get for a tenth of that price. You invest and depending on the level you receive a commensurate gift to show their appreciation.

                There are a few kickstarters that do actually work as a store front, boardgames in particular often work to use a preorder system to gain capital to enter production. Coming into Kickstarter with a near complete product, often selling at a discounted rather than inflated rate.

                Why don't we use a simpler metaphor though, a company has an idea but not the capital to get started. Investors give them money and then share in the financial rewards.

      But there is no taking advantage of consumers here, no ripping off, nothing. The Kickstarter made a bunch of promises and so far has been delivering on them. There is nothing in the kickstarter related to Oculus' status as a company, all of these whiners have not a single leg to stand on.

      On the other hand, because of Kickstarter and Oculus Rift, a practical virtual reality system will soon be here. Those fools may have been parted of their money, but those fools have also helped to create something which would not otherwise exist. We will all benefit from that.

    This:
    that the barefoot, teenage founder would sell his startup to a giant technology corporation before they sold a single retail product. No injury, perhaps, but plenty of insult.
    From a consumers point of view, if they had atleast launched a retail product, things might be different. I definitely understand why people may feel betrayed.

    I see two issues with this.

    1. Kickstarters take all the investment risk while the creators dont have any obligations back to the risk takers.

    2. Kickstarter is there so you can back the product and creative individual behind it. If they sell the company and idea/patent to a corporation, you no longer have the original team who you trusted and was willing to give money up for. Instead you have the corporation mindset of highest possible profit.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the backers reward a dev unit? I can see how a dev might be pissed that they backed and then tested the unit in good faith, only for the tech to be sold to a company many want nothing to do with.

    The purpose of backing a project of kickstarter is to make that project a reality.
    It was backed and the occulus rift became a reality. The fact it was bought by facebook doesn't change the fact that the project will be successful and will deliver the result intended.
    People need to stop getting so precious about being 'real gamers' and the fact that people play games on facebook can be considered gamers.

      They also need to realise that VR is about way, way, WAY more than just gaming.

        Maybe eventually but for now, why can't they just let us have this? Before all the HUDs start giving us directions and overlays and pop-ups and hologram-effects in every other part of our lives, there is a value to this being a unique, otherworldly technology with no real-world 'mundane' counterpart.

        Cars sound like a fucking amazing, fantastical invention to someone in the 1400s, but they're just a tool today. For just... just a little, glorious while, it would be nice for this to be the tool of gaming exclusively, to enhance our enjoyment while it still has the capacity to blow our minds the way touch-pads would've to someone in the 60s.

      Agree with the first part, disagree with the second part.

      It's an issue because the major publishers making games themselves seem to have some issues with the idea that 'gaming' on the mobile is a completely different market to traditional gaming as enjoyed by enthusiasts, and as a result, commit resources such as developers, marketing budgets, and even popular intellectual properties to mobile games instead of core games. It's proven that this is not a case of, "Why can't we service both markets?" when these publishers talk about narrowing their portfolios - it demonstrably becomes a case of taking away from Games to make mobile 'games'. Worse still, the success of that market results in publishers trying to implement the tools of that success (microtransactions, always-online, facebook/twitter social pressure) where they noticably impact on the quality of the experience.

      All the development reported on the Rift so far has been indications of heavily developer-driven with focus on technical limitations and the goal of producing better quality games. It is in no way unreasonable for people to be concerned that this previously dev-driven focus on games could be influenced - let alone de-railed - by a corporate-driven focus on profitability and Facebook's signature brand of intrusive social pressure.

        The rift was never going to be successful without the input of the major development companies. The mobile infiltration you are talking about is already happening and isn't something that is driven by facebook.
        The reason we can't "just have this" is that it would be a fad that was not profitable for large developers to produce AAA games. There needs to be more of a client base for it, and if a large number of homes have a rift, even if it is for facebook, then larger companies can produce a game knowing that people will not need to spend $300+ just to play a game.

        You use the example of a touchpad, that would never have become a integral part of modern hardware if not for the mass market appeal of the smart phones. As a gamer lead tech advancement it would have been cool for a bit then development on it would have stopped as it wasn't feasible to produce touch games for the limited number of people who had the device

          I really disagree with the assertion that it was never going to be successful.
          It might not have been as successful financially, or as quickly. But as far as critical success? Have you read ANY article about the Rift and people who have had the opportunity to try it? Damn near every single one has gone out of their way to shout out from the rooftops that this shit is amazing and will be the future without a doubt. And this is on works-in-progress software on flawed developer models which aren't consumer-ready. And you think it wasn't going to be successful? That's not just credulity, that's re-writing history to suit the argument.

          This shit was going to take off in a very big way, bigger than the wii even. People would get their hands on it and the word would spread and it would have taken off like nothing else. That was always going to happen. It was going to be a licence to print money for whoever was holding on to the reins.

          Facebook aren't going to have enabled that. They're going to accelerate it, maybe, but their primary interest in this wasn't enabling it - it's getting in on the ground floor.

          Also, the touchpad is a bad example in terms of gaming, because gaming isn't best served by the touchpad. The touchpad took off on smartphones because that's where it was always intended to be used. VR, however, does suit gaming to a tee.

            I didn't say it wasn't going to be successful I said that it was always going to need the large developers. The kind who are adding microtransactions, DLC, always on and the assorted pet hates of the gaming community. I don't see how the acquisition by facebook changes that.
            Having used the rift it is amazing but without the right games and applications it would have been a fad. It needs and still does need the big developers to be releasing games for it. That is more likely now.

            Facebook is at it's core a communication platform. They offered a platform to build games and applications on, what people do with that is up to them. Doesn't it make more sense to blame Zynga or King for their games rather than facebook. Also is there any truth to the facebook takes over companies and stops them doing what they do. I haven't noticed any changes to Instagram since they took over and most of the other ones were purchased to become part of the facebook platform (or to remove a competitor)
            As a semi regular facebook user I don't have a problem with the company. Of course they are going to sell marketing information, if you have a servcie that connects to 1.2 billon other accounts and people are not willing to pay for it then what is the alternative.

            I can understand people being concerned about the direction the product they are looking forward to could take. But there is far too much kneejerk reaction and hate without enough details.

              This might be why we differ in opinions. Because I don't use Facebook, because I do hate it. I hate how pervasive and popular it is such that every damn app or game wants me to sign in to Facebook and 'like' shit for exclusive goodies, I hate that it tracks, consolidates, and trades on my information without doing anything useful for me, I hate that it has no competition (Google+? Please). Even dialed back as far as it allows, it is still more intrusive, annoying, and unintentionally-transparently exploitative than I have any patience for. Zynga and King weren't developing in a vacuum - Facebook gladly and cheerfully enables and facilitates those cancers upon gaming, because their success is undoubtedly linked.

              My reaction springs from my distrust, disdain, and disapproval for Facebook and everything I hear about it. We're talking about its utterly opaque history on privacy and personal-detail-sales. Its iron-fisted ability and willingness to force users who want to stay plugged in to the 'big social thing' to compromise their rights to their data; they're perfectly happy holding social lives hostage without compromise. The politics around its support for developers programming for its schizophrenic APIs. Its more overt politics in who does or doesn't get banned for use, and their demonstrated willingness to combat use of the platform for communications and entertainment where that even trivially interferes with their ability to sell their users to advertisers and others.

              As far as communications platforms go, it's not even good! A girlfriend convinced me to sign on and use it for an unbearably long time, and the experience of using it was one of the primary reasons I deleted my account. (Or attempted to, because you can never truly delete it - another bug-bear.) Ugly, finnicky, unintuitive, and geared toward funneling you into all the places you don't want to be.

              To me, these are not the good guys, their products have not improved my life, only inconvenienced it. They have managed to find an unparalleled exploit, a brain-hack for the greater part of society, and are willing to do whatever it takes to preserve that. Obviously someone who finds some use in their product (or in being their product) is going to have a more favourable disposition. Some people hate Steam, considering it draconian and obtrusive, but I get a lot of use out of it and enjoy that use, so I'm favourably inclined toward it.

              I get what they are, so I don't use their product - I don't publicly demonize them often, just roll my eyes and mutter a few disparaging oaths, then move on. You can't blame a tiger for being a tiger, you just don't get in the cage with it. But when someone tosses a tiger into something you really wanted to do, you absolutely have a right to be annoyed.

              PS:
              Also, re: The big developers - Still disagree. The indie titles were still blowing everyones' minds. They would not have needed to compromise anything to have the big developers make games for it, they'd have been lining up and agreeing to anything.

                I think that is where the difference comes from. I can understand people don't like facebook but claiming that this purchase somehow means the Rift will now suddenly be a failure is silly to me. It can still be everything they wanted, the tech hasn't changed and the potential is all still there.
                The core concepts are there and the things that facebook are talking about doing and accelerating are already started to happen. See the HBO lift ride up the wall promo for Game of Thrones.

                As for facebook its self well I grew up with a large extended family and as the members of that family have gone off and had families of there own and moved away it had meant it is hard to keep in touch with people. Facebook provides an easy way to keep in touch, find out what people are doing, see photos of the kids etc...
                So for me it has been a good thing, I use it a little so it doesn't impact my life in a major way but the ways it does benefit me.

                The indie games might have been enough to launch the rift but I'm not sold on the fact they would be enough to sustain it. So much of why I am excited about the rift is the potential that I can see when playing those little games.

                People have the right to be wary of what may happen. But right now they haven't put anything in the tiger cage, they just own the zoo. If they are funding things and taking a chunk of profit then it could be a great thing for the rift and it will be better for it.
                Things could be bad but I prefer to be optimistic until I see some evidence of the acquisition hobbling or producing a worse product. When that happens I may join the baying hordes but for now I'm sitting under a silver lined cloud.

                Man. That's pretty much exactly why I don't like facebook. I can just never seem to express as much when people ask me :P

    It's right there in the name "Kickstarter".
    In backing projects you're giving them in a little kickstart in the hopes they'll be able to make it big. It's not an investment, it's an expression of faith in the people you're "backing". As a backer you're not owed a piece of whatever comes next for the people you back. It's never been about that. It's been about you supporting ideas that you believe in.

      Exactly true.

      But people aren't upset because they feel they are owed anything, financial or physical. When you back a KS project, regardless of the "thank you" gifts, ultimately what you are given is a product being created which you would like to see.
      Seeing Occulus now being swallowed up by Facebook, it means that what everyone wanted to see is now going to be transformed into an object which represents something totally different from what was originally intended.

      We aren't upset because we think we are owed anything, we are upset because the idea that we believed in [as you said!], has now been taken away.

        Except there is no proof of that; they were promised a device with a set of features, they are getting a device with that set of features. Nobody pledged to have ownership of an idea.

    Every kid with a start-up claims that he'll never sell out. "It's about the music, man." But they also want to find success, build an audience. There's usually a disconnect between the ideal and the goal - often, one has to give. If you don't sell out, you don't succeed.

    Facebook dangled $2.2bn in front of their nose, and the promise of a practically limitless consumer base for their product. There aren't too many people who would look at that kind of insane money and say, "Sorry, I can't. Avram Eisner pledged $10 on the understanding that I wouldn't enter into a partnership with big business."

    Edit: Is it just because it's Facebook? Would there be the same hysteria if Sony or Microsoft or some other tech giant had made the offer? If this was a game Kickstarter, would people jump up and down if EA ended up signing the developer? What about if it was CD Projekt instead?

    Last edited 27/03/14 10:44 am

      This was the bit that made me facepalm the most “Their story — a genuine garage hacker does what billion-dollar companies would not — didn’t imply its eventual end: that the barefoot, teenage founder would sell his startup to a giant technology corporation before they sold a single retail product"
      Sort of reminded me just the teeniest bit of youtube. Oh and instagram. And whatsapp.

      I thought about that myself, if it was another company that acquired occulus....

      But the reason why Facebook is making this such a bitter pill to swallow, is because it comes from a completely different area of media. At least MS/Sony [or EA buying out a game], while they may push their angles on it, you know you would still be getting more-or-less the same product.
      Facebook, on the other hand, can push it in any direction they now want. They are also the antithesis of the free/open/hacker mentality which was an important aspect of OR to a lot of developers and end-users.
      And all of this talk about OR remaining free to progress how they feel is garbage. Any company outlaying $2billion is going to want to see a return on that investment. And Facebook just has this really bad taste when it comes to integration into platforms. You just know they are going to shove their platform all over any future API.

        They are also the antithesis of the free/open/hacker mentality
        How so? Facebook make a huge amount of their work (both in software and hardware) open source.

          In the sense that Facebook itself is a completely closed system, walled garden infrastructure of pages. You cannot host a facebook page yourself, you cannot create a system which integrates uniformly with the rest of the network, agnostic to where/how it is hosted.
          These tenets of the WWW, of the internet in general, are important. One web page connects with any other, no matter where or how it is hosted. One email service can send/receive to any other email service.

          This is not the case with Facebook's system. Everything is restricted to their platform, with communication with the outside also going through their hypervisor.

          Now, yes, you can say that anyone can setup a web page if they want to. But, how many companies/organisations setup a facebook page as their official point of contact? The number is alarming, and nothing bothers me more than not being able to contact an organisation because their only presence is through a facebook page.

          When I talk about free/open, I'm not necessarily referring to just source code. I'm talking about interoperability with the rest of the internet.

      I'd say it's a huge part because it's Facebook.

      If you like something, then someone you hate whose every activity and belief conflicts with your own puts big money into gaining complete and total control over that something you like, it would frankly be a little bit crazy NOT to be upset or concerned.

    Wow. So much entitled nerd anger.

    So can you really blame Kickstarter backers who might feel like they missed out on something big here?Yes.

    I'll just repost what I put in the initial thread: They didn't invest in a company, they donated money to a project in exchange for a prearranged reward. Nothing more.

    If anyone thinks otherwise they're as deluded as a guy who thinks Metallica owes him royalties because they went to their first gig.

    I don't see what all the fuss is about. It got funded and from that they were able to fully develop it into what it is today. If FB bought it not long after the KS funding ended I would understand.

    I think people should first see what Facebook does, and what happens to Oculus following this acquisition.

    Nobody knows what Facebook will do. Everyone is just assuming Facebook will turn it into some 3D Facebook viewer, or something similar.

    See what happens first, then judge.

    Google was just a search website at one point. Things change, companies evolve.

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