Friday, 28 March 2014

Oculus Rift; A Wrathful Ramble

Right, it's 8:30am and I've been up since 10am yesterday. I've got an essay in by 1pm today that I haven't proofed, smoothed out the critical references or even finished but hey, blog time!

So, the Oculus Rift. Being an amateur dev I have a few things to say about the Facebook acquisition. For those who don't know, the Oculus Rift was/is set to dominate the VR market, showing everyone the folly of 3D and bringing us wonderful on-your-face virtual reality with modern technology. That's the ability to move your head and have that motion tracked in-game, with the additional tech benefits of high frame rates, low latency and high resolution. Check out this demo of the old version one model running with Team Fortress 2.

Then about a week ago, Facebook decided to buy the Rift and the internet threw a collective shit-fit. Putting aside the massive ethical issues - the Kickstarters who funded the original project seeing their investment moving in a direction they didn't pay out for, Facebook's highly questionable background in development, and the big questions revolving around advertising - it placed a pretty large downer on the bubbling enthusiasm that had been merrily chugging along since day one of the Rift's announcement.

Simply put, I find the idea of Facebook buying the Rift beyond belief. There's a Guardian article that raises some ok points, but it's the comment section where things really shine. Arguments are thrown back and forth, positives and negatives, PCGamer did a thing on it along with every two-bit game journalism site I'm sure. The positives and negatives seem to boil down to 'Facebook has loads of money' and 'Facebook is shit'. I'm inclined to the latter. As QuestionableTea puts it on the Guardian,

I feel like a lot of people aren't too annoyed that they sold out, its just that they sold out to facebook. A sell out to AMD/Valve/NVidia or even Google would probably be welcomed.

Right on the money, QuestionableTea. AMD and Nvidia are the biggest GPU manufacturers on the planet. They know hardware and they know it well, and have the raw capital and software skills to back it up. Nobody could have integrated the Rift's hardware better, or helped with software iteration (though considering my current drivers on my rig, debateable). Good old fashioned manufacturing manpower.

Valve? They've been working on some alright hardware for the past year. Both the controller and console/PC thing look like they need work, but it's Valve. They're software kings and don't you forget it. I maintain that the biggest reason for Half-Life 2 taking so long to come out was that they spent most of that time creating the world's first proper bumpmap shaders - in-house.

Hell, 'even' Google? They've dominated the search algorithm scene since 1998 and have pushed into hardware, software, cloudware, they're made operating systems for crying out loud. Google is where good tech goes to get better. Like the Apple of ten years ago, what Google lacks in innovation it makes up with sheer damn willpower and a thriving skillset.

What does Facebook have? Well, they bought WhatsApp and Instagram right? Two massive content sharing and communication platforms just like Faceb- oh. Ohhhh. Well, they're rich anyway right? Right guys? Oh who am I kidding they may as well have hired Peter Molyneux

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