“I feel cheated. I backed a vision of what I wanted gaming to be in the future. Now all I want is my money back.”
– Oculus VR Kickstarter donor Grant Wilkinson, who is not suddenly richer after the company was bought by Facebook on Tuesday. The $2 billion deal for the virtual reality company has stoked fury from many in the Kickstarter community, as evidenced by a flood of bitter comments on Reddit and Kickstarter. Some worry that Facebook will ruin the groundbreaking technology; others merely despair that Oculus’ founder has “sold out.” As the Wall Street Journal reports, “the tension highlights the incompatibility between the perceived indie spirit of Kickstarter and big corporate buyouts.” Though Kickstarter donors are not legally entitled to any proceeds of a sale, many felt a sense of ownership. “No one sent me an e-mail, asking if this was OK,” said one user who donated $100 to Oculus, according to the Journal. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey told the Journal that he understands the backlash, but that he had already given up much control of the company to Andreessen Horowitz, and selling the company was a logical next step. “We were already in a way not independent,” he said. “A lot of people don’t understand how much money it takes to build things.” Or how business works, apparently.
At top: A gamer uses an Oculus virtual reality headset at the Eurogamer Expo 2013 in London. (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)