So no way to confirm this, but my friend works in the same building as Oculus, and he ran into Mark Zuckerberg taking the elevator to Oculus’ floor.
Lots of people are posting strong opinions online today, either excited (because they believe the acquisition will speed up development of the Rift) or repulsed (because they hate Facebook). These opinions are boring, but people seem to have overlooked a few interesting details.
Facebook’s deal to buy Oculus VR for $2 billion happened relatively quickly and the negotiations were hammered out over the last five days during the industry’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, according to sources familiar with the deal.
There’s a few ways to interpret how quickly this deal went down. Optimistically: Facebook saw Sony announce their VR thing and decided that they wanted to get into the market while the getting was good. More realistically: Oculus’ investors got spooked by Sony’s announcement and pressured the company to sell while they could still make a profitable exit. That’s why “sources familiar with the deal” (who are probably Chris Dixon from Andreessen Horowitz) told the Verge that although investors offered Oculus more money to continue, they thought this was a better deal.
Ultimately the quality of the deal depends a lot on how much you value Facebook stock, which is primarily what Oculus got paid in:
[The acquisition] includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (valued at $1.6 billion based on the average closing price of the 20 trading days preceding March 21, 2014 of $69.35 per share).
I join a lot of the people on Twitter who feel that this acquisition was somehow kind of sad, which is a curious emotion to feel about a social network buying a hardware startup. If I had to hazard a guess, here’s what’s sad about it: Oculus was this big, open question in gaming. Just this weekend I was on Giant Bomb with Phil Fish and Zoe Quinn, and we were speculating wildly about the ways that the Rift would allow us to explore new worlds, understand body dysmorphia, and have computer sex. We hoped that Oculus could show us what was next for an art form that we love. And they did, and it sucked: Oculus will be a hobby project owned by an advertising company, used some day to collect personal information from “users” which will be sold to the highest bidder.
This outcome for Oculus is particularly sad because of how they began - the company first got funding to work on the Rift on Kickstarter, where they raised $2.5 million from almost 10,000 backers. The implicit promise of such a campaign is that Oculus would have had the freedom to run their company how they wanted, and not have had to negotiate with investors or find those investors an “exit” the minute there was credible competition. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no surprise that investors like Andreessen Horowitz don’t give a fig about art and only want to make a return on their investment, we already know that these guys are squares and hacks. But it does make me sad that the Oculus folks believed otherwise. And it makes me sad to think that if this how VCs steer cool new technology that’s supposed to change the world, that they will eventually undo their own livelihood, like the story of the scorpion and the fox:
"I couldn’t help it. It’s my nature."
Palmer Lucky, the founder of Oculus, is already doing “damage control” on Reddit, posting:
Facebook is run in an open way that’s aligned with Oculus’ culture. Over the last decade, Mark and Facebook have been champions of open software and hardware, pushing the envelope of innovation for the entire tech industry.
I’m proud to be a member of this community — thank you all for carrying virtual reality and gaming forward and trusting in us to deliver. We won’t let you down.
The top comment:
You already did.
Samurai Gunn Launch
Samurai Gunn is my favorite video game of the year. The first time I played it at GDC, it made me excited about video games in a way that I hadn’t been since I was a kid.
After GDC I couldn’t get Samurai Gunn out of my head, so I made friends with the creator, Beau Blyth, and after advising him on the game for a while, I offered to publish it.
Now the game is out, published by my company, Maxistentialism. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever been involved in. Samurai Gunn is 20% off for launch, $11.99, on Steam and on our website, SamuraiGunn.com.
Here are some Steam codes, first come, first serve:
A few months ago, I had this idea to prank Giant Bomb by interrupting their PAX panel with a series of bands. I reached out to my friends at Harmonix, and over the last four months, we booked a bagpiper, a three-piece mariachi band, and a full dixieland jazz band to come in and interrupt the panel… we even hired a producer to sneak them into the building and give them their cues.
In the history of this Giant Bomb panel though, our prank will be merely a footnote; halfway through, someone from the audience strolled up the stage and put a jar labeled, “ANONYMOUS BREAST MILK - CERTIFIED” in front of Ryan.
Anyway, please enjoy the funniest and weirdest panel I have ever seen at any con, ever.
EDIT: Thanks also to patbaer from UCB for helping us get everything set up!
Cards Against Humanity is now made in the United States of America.
My three year old daughter and I play a lot of old games together. Her favorite is Donkey Kong. Two days ago, she asked me if she could play as the girl and save Mario. She’s played as Princess Toadstool in Super Mario Bros. 2 and naturally just assumed she could do the same in Donkey Kong. I told her we couldn’t in that particular Mario game, she seemed really bummed out by that. So what else am I supposed to do? Now I’m up at midnight hacking the ROM, replacing Mario with Pauline. I’m using the 2010 NES Donkey Kong ROM. I’ve redrawn Mario’s frames and I swapped the palettes in the ROM. I replaced the M at the top with a P for Pauline.
As the development of StarCraft dragged on it seemed like it would never be done: the game was always two months from launch but never seemed to get any closer to the mythical ship date. “Fortunately” — and I use that term advisedly — Blizzard had previous experience shipping games late.
Some bugs were related to the development process itself. The Protoss Carrier regularly lagged behind other units because it had its own way of doing … everything. At some point in time the code for the Carrier was branched from the main game code and had diverged beyond any hope of re-integration. Consequently any time a feature was added for other units, it had to be re-implemented for the Carrier. And any time a bug was fixed for other units, a similar bug would later be found in the Carrier code too, only more devious and difficult to fix.
But the biggest thing holding back StarCraft was unit path-finding.
My idea was simple: whenever harvesters are on their way to get minerals, or when they’re on the way back carrying those minerals, they ignore collisions with other harvesters in the same state other units. By eliminating the inter-unit collision code for the harvesters there is never a rush-hour commute to get jammed up, and harvesters operate efficiently.
It’s possible to notice this behavior by selecting a large group of harvesters who are working a plot of crystals and telling them to halt. They immediately spread out to find tiles that aren’t occupied by other harvesters.
The behavior is obvious if you look, but hidden in plain sight — it doesn’t rise to the level of conscious awareness, though professional-level players and map-makers/modders do notice.
In short, it just works, which is the best kind of hack.
I always noticed this when I played StarCraft as a kid, it’s pretty cool to hear that the story behind it involves the same kind of hack that I’ve had to use a thousand times in my work.
There’s a new episode of TableTop! My friends Paul and Storm are on it! They play Chez Geek! It’s amazing!
Jeff Gerstmann’s notes on Black Ops II