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Zuckerberg's Grip Already Causes Rift With Oculus Fans

Virtual reality backers dismayed by Facebook acquisition

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg | Photo: Getty Images

Well, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is clearly excited about the virtual reality future, but not everyone is excited to have him in the close-knit Oculus VR community.

Zuckerberg just announced that Facebook bought the virtual reality headset maker Oculus, a seemingly odd fit but a potentially revolutionary one for the social network. Still, as with many Facebook acquisitions, there is an initial outcry from the community of the acquired digital property.

Turns out some people don't like being a part of Zuckerberg's exotic collection. Just after the announcement, already one game maker protested by saying he wouldn't develop a game for the Oculus.

Markus Persson, developer of the hit game Minecraft, tweeted that he was in talks to bring the game to the Oculus headset, which immerses you in a virtual reality world, but now he was cancelling any plans.

"We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus," Persson tweeted. "I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out."

The Oculus was developed following a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2012 in which it raised $2.5 million.

Zuckerberg and Oculus founder Brandon Iribe held a conference call with analysts today to discuss the deal, and Facebook's founder clearly is a big fan of the technology.

"It's different from anything I've ever experienced in my life," Zuckerberg said, describing the virtual reality headset called the Oculus Rift, which covers half your face with a screen.

The device is mostly used for gaming now but has potential applications in other forms of entertainment and communications.

Zuckerberg said the goggles could take you into stores virtually, doctor visits or court side at the game.

"Imagine sharing not just moments with friends online but entire experiences and adventures," he said.

Oculus could be the computing platform of the future, Zuckerberg said, and of course there could be advertising. But for now they are focused on getting the device to market—so far only developer kits have been sold.

While Facebook imagined the possibilities of its new toy, investors were left wondering when the shopping spree would stop. Facebook has now bought three companies, which each cost billions of dollars.

The Oculus deal will amount to more than $2 billion. Facebook spent $1 billion on Instagram and committed $19 billion to WhatsApp.

When asked to describe the acquisition strategy, Zuckerberg weighed each piece. Instagram, he said, has grown tenfold since they bought it and now has more than 200 million users. WhatsApp is on its way to one billion users. And Oculus could be the future of computing, the next mobile.

"The key thing to keep in mind is these are all incredibly rare companies," he said. 

Here are a few other samples of the rapidly brewing backlash against the deal:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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