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Minecraft Creator Halts Plans For Oculus Version Following Facebook Acquisition 300

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the rash-decisions dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Not one hour after the announcement of the the acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook yesterday, Markus 'Notch' Persson has announced that he has ceased all discussions about bringing it to Oculus Rift. 'I don't want to work with social, I want to work with games. ... Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers. People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform to better fit the social experience they were trying to build.' Persson has stated that he made this decision despite initially investing $10,000 in Oculus' Kickstarter."
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Minecraft Creator Halts Plans For Oculus Version Following Facebook Acquisition

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  • hej hej hej (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Cool story notch.

  • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:10AM (#46584699)

    "We can't hear you through all of the cash."

  • Unsurprising ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:10AM (#46584709) Homepage

    The ownership by Facebook of any technology immediately puts the taint of a rich douchebag who wants to monetize everything, invade your privacy, and sell your information.

    Fuck the Zuck.

    • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:12AM (#46584727) Homepage

      I'm starting to wonder if he's just buying shit so no-one else can have it.

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:15AM (#46584769) Homepage

        This is why we can't have nice things.

        My immediate reaction to seeing Facebook was buying it was "well, there goes some promising technology". Instead, it will be used to check in with your friends on Facebook and to ensure they're monetizing everything you can do with it.

        To hell with that. I strongly suspect that's what's at play here.

        • Re:Unsurprising ... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:36AM (#46585031)

          Huh, that was exactly my reaction too. Odd how I read that IBM/MIcrosoft/Facebook/Oracle bought another tech company the first reaction I get is exactly this.

          Interestingly when I hear that Google bought a company I don't get this reaction (yet).

          Also where is Carmack? If he is still with Oculus then there might be some hope. But if they sold out without his vote, well there is something very wrong. John Carmack has being know to be someone uncompromising when it comes to tech.

          • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:47AM (#46585147) Homepage

            John Carmack has being know to be someone uncompromising when it comes to tech.

            That, he may well be.

            But depending on just how many zeroes are at the end of anything he'd get ... he may well have just said "oh, fuck it, for that much money I'm in".

            And, as has already been pointed out, if it's the difference between making a huge stack and living with the 'golden handcuffs', or getting nothing ... a lot of people might do the exact same thing.

            Start getting into 8 figures, and I might blow Ballmer in the MS boardroom. Make it 9 figures, and we can bloody well livestream it and I'll throw in Gates. ;-)

            You can buy back a lot of self respect (and mouthwash) for that kinda money.

            • by FooAtWFU (699187)
              No, it's not about money. It's about fulfilling his adolescent fantasies of being the guy who programs a lame facebook-branded Second Life knockoff. I MEAN, programming the Metaverse from Snow Crash.

              (Sorry, dropped out of the fantasy too early there.)

            • That may be, but he would probably leave (now or soon) Oculus/Facebook if it did not shown any promise. I would have grabbed the money and ran away at the earliest possible date and fund another startup.

            • by amiga3D (567632)

              I don't think I could do that. Eventually it would eat at me until I would have to stick a pistol to my head to get the taste out. Maybe that's why so many rich people commit suicide.

          • If Microsoft had bought Oculus Rift there would be a good chance of it coming to light. With Facebook, odds are it dies alone.

          • by chaim79 (898507)

            Interestingly when I hear that Google bought a company I don't get this reaction (yet).

            I'm at that point however. I have a Nest thermostat which I love, but now that Google owns it I'm wondering what my options are. I'd love it if I could break into it and load my own firmware, or even an opensource firmware. I think the JTAG pins are exposed as pads on the main board so I should (in theory) have some access, I just have to figure out what exactly that access is...

          • My reaction when Google buys something is, "Ewww, now Google will know how I [whatever]." Example: I had been strongly considering a Nest thermostat, but there is NO WAY I want Google to have heuristic information about the goings-on in my house.
            • Well but at least they put the tech to good use, google docs for example started after an acquisition. Google docs is very useful in my life (but I don't put anything that I would rather keep private there).

        • by EvilSS (557649)

          Instead, it will be used to check in with your friends on Facebook and to ensure they're monetizing everything you can do with it.

          And how, exactly, will a VR headset be used for that?

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            And how, exactly, will a VR headset be used for that?

            Both exactly like, and somewhat different, from how you do it on a web page.

            You really think Facebook has altruistic motives here? Or that they see a potential cash cow in the future?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by EvilSS (557649)

              And how, exactly, will a VR headset be used for that?

              Both exactly like, and somewhat different, from how you do it on a web page.

              You really think Facebook has altruistic motives here? Or that they see a potential cash cow in the future?

              Of course they see a future cash cow. Why would they not?! As for my original question, that's a dumb answer and you know it. They have no reason to spend 2 BILLION just to sell you a VR headset so you can.... what? Read Facebook posts? Most likely they, like Microsoft and the XBox, are trying to branch out into a new (for them) industry.

              I'm really amazed at the complete lack of critical thinking on /. these days. Everyone is a shill for [insert company you hate here] and every new anything is obviously

              • by gstoddart (321705)

                I'm really amazed at the complete lack of critical thinking on /. these days.

                Oh, we're still thinking critically.

                Everyone is a shill for [insert company you hate here] and every new anything is obviously an NSA plot.

                Except that it seems everyone is, and everything is. Or they are blindly accepting/hating what [insert company you hate here] does, or that it can/will be exploited by the NSA and their ilk.

                Get your heads out of your asses already.

                I might suggest the same. As little as 5 years ago, saying a lo

                • by EvilSS (557649)

                  Except that it seems everyone is, and everything is.

                  You seem to be confusing paranoia with critical thinking. They are not the same. Many /.'ers lately are just default to crap like that, and it takes away from the validity of things that are real threats. It's gone from a site for geeks to a site for paranoid Luddites.

            • by Nikker (749551)
              Facebook won't last that long. I know they have cash in the bank but even they see it. They buy WhatsApp not because they never thought of making a SMS like app or integrate it into their stuff, they want the head count. Facebook was cool to my generation because you could check out all the people you knew from years gone by but it is like any popular hangout or bar, eventually people will buy their beer somewhere else.

              When you or anyone else here was younger how many would go to hangout somewhere wh
        • by AdamThor (995520) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:43AM (#46585093)

          "My immediate reaction to seeing Facebook was buying it was "well, there goes some promising technology"."

          Everyone still loves the VR idea though. I think Notch and all the others will just be looking for the runner up product. Which all the Me-To folks are working on. Sony and Xbox are already on that train, I understand. Hopefully there will be someone to sell me one without a walled garden that they're trying to push.

          How much IP is there around the oculus? I understood the rift to be mostly an implementation of better / newer technology, not so much new invention, but I could be off. How hard will it be for others to pick up the baton?

        • Yup! Gaming (VR entertainment period) takes the eyeballs off FaceBook. They're buying the competition and shelving the technology along with the IP.

        • Bingo, my friend. As soon as I read the headline last night, my heart sunk, and my hopes for Oculus died. I want nothing to do with Facebook owning them or their technology - the moment Zuck & Crew become a part of my gaming experience, I'm moving on. I don't mind Candy Crush - I get it, Facebook integration is a big part of what they do. I don't mind it in many other phone games. I do not link my FB to Call of Duty, GTA, or anything else on a console or that doesn't run in a browser (and mostly don't o

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      karmack has some rumblings about leaving as well.

      Real advances for Occolus are dwindling. Zuck should have invested under his secret investment firm, "Evil Acquisitions inc."

      • Re:Unsurprising ... (Score:5, Informative)

        by genner (694963) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:22AM (#46584843)

        karmack has some rumblings about leaving as well.

        Real advances for Occolus are dwindling. Zuck should have invested under his secret investment firm, "Evil Acquisitions inc."

        Carmack has already tweeted that he is not leaving.

      • by bhcompy (1877290)
        Carmack probably is stuck unless he wants to forego a payout(so-called golden handcuffs). Likely he has a time based contract that vests a payout over time. Leave now and lose tens of millions. Leave in 2 years and vest some/all of it.
      • by AaronLS (1804210)

        Man, and I was so excited they the developer iteration was 1080 resolution and only $350. If that reflects potential commercial pricing, and you look at other existing HMDs at that resolution, then that's actually pretty awesome.

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:27AM (#46584909)

        Carmack (the fact you can't spell him name right ames me dubious you understand his intent) said this on Twitter [twitter.com]:

        I have a deep respect for the technical scale that FB operates at. The cyberspace we want for VR will be at this scale.

        If you want to understand what he means, read Ready Player One [amazon.com].

        • by ctheme (2694307) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:36AM (#46585023)
          Carmack appreciates impressive technologies when he sees them and has always humbly voiced his support for them. Back in the dark ages he called Ken Silverman, the developer of Duke3D's Build engine -- the supposedly direct competitor of Quake at one point -- the most talented graphics programmers that he knew besides himself. He had similar praise of Oculus VR before he joined the crew.

          No, he's isn't a saint in any benevolent sense, but when it comes to commentary on developing technologies, I tend to trust him -- personal disdain for Facebook's sociocommercial business model aside.

          Also, Carmack's next Twitter post directly communicates that he's been avoiding creating a Facebook profile up until this point. So perhaps his admiration of the company on a social level is not as strong as his respect for them on a technological infrastructural level.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:52AM (#46585189)

            Carmack works on what he finds interesting. Right now VR is something that he is really passionate about. This deal almost gives him infinite resources to do that work. He doesn't need the money or the job and he will stay exactly as long as he is interested in the tech. I think he cares little how the tech is used just as long as he in on the cutting edge of developing it.

        • by timeOday (582209)
          Well I want to decide for myself what to plug my goggles into, and not have it be a Facebook Accessory. That's my big beef with smart phones and why I still don't have one. The idea of a pocket computer sounded awesome 15 years ago, but they're so wrapped up with the carriers and walled gardens that the appeal is lost to me. You are monitored at every step. And now that's the future of OR.
          • Well I want to decide for myself what to plug my goggles into

            That is EXACTLY what Oculus was trying to do. The current dev kits work on OSX and Windows, iOS/Android support is also planned...

            There's no reason to think any different is true under Facebook. In fact if you think about it, almost no other company would be as likely to keep the device cross-platform as Facebook - certainly Google and Apple would have each dragged it back to their respective lairs to horde.

            You are monitored at every step. And n

    • You're right. I've been waiting for the new record holder to arise for worst corporate merger ever and this might be it. According to Forbes and everyone in the entire US, the AOL - Time Warner merger was the worst merger in US history. Facebook buying and within 24 hours ruining a popular tech project and soon completely bankrupting and canceling the entire acquisition may just beat it.
  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:11AM (#46584713)

    Facebook just hasn't thrown enough money at him yet.

    When they do...then we'll see.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Charliemopps (1157495)

      Notch is already rich as hell. I don't think he cares about more money at this point. Minecraft could have already made him oodles more cash if he'd change it to a freemium model. But he's not.

    • by Lisias (447563)

      Facebook just hasn't thrown enough money at him yet.

      When they do...then we'll see.

      The day Mr. Zuck decides to throw money in Minecraft, it will be the day that the present owner will not risk HIS money on Facebook.

      Until there, I think Mr. Notch is right. Let Zuckerberg risk his own money on Facebook games.

    • by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:51AM (#46585185)
      To cancel it within 24 hours, I don't think it's about money. I think it's about principle.
    • by Piata (927858)

      You do realize Notch rakes in $100+ million every year, right?

      2012: http://www.forbes.com/sites/da... [forbes.com]
      2013: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/a... [gamesindustry.biz]

  • Thank you, Notch. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:12AM (#46584729)
    This was a wise move, and really the only way forward. Oculus now comes with the most obvious trojan in history.
  • Is software development speak for: "literally no work has been done".

    Why is this news worthy?

    • by Type44Q (1233630)
      If you have to ask, you wouldn't comprehend the answer.
      • by DrGamez (1134281)

        I mean I get that it's an "important backer" (what percentage of $2.4M is $10k?) pulling out, but there really has been no discussion or public planning of Minecraft to the OR.

        I don't like Facebook owning OR, but at the same time I don't like people treating notch like some god of indies. I guess it was unfair to ask why this was "news" worthy.

        I should be asking: why does anyone care what notch thinks about a device he has no input on other than: "yo fuck facebook"?

  • by thevirtualcat (1071504) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:22AM (#46584839)

    I'm glad to see that I won't be seeing "See what your friends are building in Minecraft. Connect your Facebook account today!" plastered all over Minecraft anytime soon.

    (Incidentally, f*ck you, Netflix.)

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:23AM (#46584851)

    From the Oculus VR Forums [oculusvr.com] (which you should really read some of to get a better balanced view of how the actual developers feel).

    spire8989 writes:

    "Hi, I'm a developer and am very happy with this news. Also, Markus is a pretty well-known hipster, this is very expected from him. For someone who seems so anti-Facebook he should really stop having an active Facebook account that he constantly updates though. If you actually read this article you'll see where he says that this will have a positive impact on social VR experiences, but he doesn't want to work with them "because he doesn't know their intentions".

    I guess you get to be picky and complain when you have an extremely popular game."

    • by DeTech (2589785)
      I'm not surprised that the argument is more nuanced than "fb is evil, i'm out". Notch is a smart man, and he loves making games... he just doesn't want an unknown actor influencing his decisions.
    • by phorm (591458) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:43AM (#46585095) Journal

      For someone who seems so anti-Facebook he should really stop having an active Facebook account that he constantly updates though

      I have no problem with using Facebook for things where I want to share things with many people with no expectation of privacy, Shared events, products I'm interested in, public life announcements, FB is fine.

      What I *don't* do is use the app on my phone (contact-stealing), allow their site-cookies, or buy other products that are NOT related to my intended use of FB.

      You can both have reasons to use FB and reasons to avoid/dislike it that aren't necessarily at odds.

      • What I *don't* do is use the app on my phone (contact-stealing)

        I use the Facebook app, I just don't give it access to my contacts.

        You can both have reasons to use FB and reasons to avoid/dislike it that aren't necessarily at odds.

        I don't see how, because you are encouraging other people to go onto Facebook to read your content, people who may not be able to take the precautions you do to limit what they get from you.

        I hardly use Facebook myself, mostly just to keep track of family. I see Oculus as a separa

    • Oh bullshit he doesn't know. Their motivation is MONEY.
    • by vitaflo (20507)

      I guess you get to be picky and complain when you have an extremely popular game.

      Yes that's exactly what you get to be. Why this is seen as some negative is beyond me. Notch built his company from nothing and hasn't taken investment or any of the number of things most companies want to do. He has enough money to tell anyone he wants "fuck you" and has every right to as a business owner. There's nothing wrong with that.

  • The Mod still works (Score:5, Informative)

    by genner (694963) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:30AM (#46584937)
    The Occulus Mod for Minecraft is pretty flawless. This changes nothing.
    • by AaronLS (1804210)

      What version of Minecraft does it support? The answer to that question does change something.

  • by UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:51AM (#46585187)

    Oculus isn't the only VR headset. They may be the current best (I don't actually know). At least conceptually, the inputs and outputs are reasonably understood. So what makes it hard for an application that supports the Oculus headset to support others?

    • So what makes it hard for an application that supports the Oculus headset to support others?

      You can easily provide a similar 3D view across multiple headsets.

      What makes it hard to deliver the same application is all of the hardware that gets added to do tracking really well and keep latency very low. The 2nd dev kit has some advanced positional tracking hardware to help keep the view in sync with what the users head is doing, and also (perhaps just as important) built-in hardware to be able to test latency

  • by Blackwulf (34848) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @12:04PM (#46585325) Homepage

    One thing to realize is that Notch really never had any plans of making a VR port of Minecraft. In the past, he has stated that because of the JAVA technology used in Minecraft, it was too difficult to do it right, and they were having a problem making the UI work. They weren't very thrilled with the way the Minecrift mod did it, and wanted to do it better, but it just wasn't possible.

    (In fact, the Minecrift mod doesn't even work with anything higher than 1.6, which means you can only use it in singleplayer or on servers that never upgraded. This is because of how much things have changed in the code between 1.6 and 1.7.)

    So, Notch actually abandoned the effort sometime last year.

    Last year: "We aren't making a Rift port because it's just too difficult with our current codebase."
    Yesterday: "We aren't making a Rift port because Facebook."

    To me, it sounds like a convenient excuse to cover up the fact that their codebase is really messy and can't do as much as they wish it could. We can blame it on Zuck now!

  • His loss, the need will be taken by someone else in this very competitive environment. VR is coming, and playing the ostrich will only limit the bird, not the environment.

  • I've already got enough Creepers as "friends" on Facebook...

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