Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey has revealed that the company's staff and their families have been receiving death threats after the Facebook acquisition.
In a surprise announcement last week,virtual-reality gaming headset developer Oculus VR caused a lot of anger. The social networking giant paid a reported US$2 billion for the startup, which in 2012 excited gamers so much it brought in US$2,437,429, almost 10 times its US$250,000 Kickstarter goal.
The Kickstarter comments page has exploded with angry backers (all of whom, we might note, have already received the rewards for which they pledged) demanding Oculus VR refund their money and expressing their extreme displeasure in the deal.
Oculus VR was expecting some negativity, but certainly not the levels displayed, as vice president of product Nate Mitchell told Game Informer. "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."
But it gets worse than an angry mob making demands. In a comment on Reddit, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey revealed that the abuse runs much deeper.
"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 wrote. "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."
Further down in the thread, he elaborated, "We expected a kneejerk from reaction from people who don't have all the information we do, and will not have it for some time. We expected a negative reaction, that does not mean we think the reaction is warranted. My primary goal is the long-term success of VR, not short term warm and fuzzy feelings."
In spite of the backlash, however, the Oculus VR team remains firm that the deal is a positive thing for the technology. Last week, Luckey wrote, "I won't change, and any change at Oculus will be for the better. We have even more freedom than we had under our investment partners because Facebook is making a long term play on the success of VR, not short-term returns. A lot of people are upset, and I get that. If you feel the same way a year from now, I would be very surprised."
Oculus VR chief technology officer John Carmack backed up that optimism in a comment on Tumblr. "Honestly, I wasn't expecting Facebook (or this soon)," he wrote. "I have zero personal background with them, and I could think of other companies that would have more obvious synergies. However, I do have reasons to believe that they get the Big Picture as I see it, and will be a powerful force towards making it happen. You don't make a commitment like they just did on a whim."