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Oculus Backers Demand Their Money Back

Oculus VR's sale to social media megalith Facebook for $2 billion--which was completed in less than 72 hours--has led to a backlash from the company's Kickstarter backers, who feel betrayed and are looking for their piece of the pie.

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Doge1355d ago

Wow. What a bunch of self-entitled losers.

You helped KICKSTART a company and its project 2 years ago, got whatever gift they offered for your pledge, and now you're angry and want your money back?

What's next? Are Ouya backers gonna expect a free Ouya 2 if the company ever releases it?

-Foxtrot1355d ago

You have to admit though they didn't know there money was going to help it be funded just so they could sell it for a LOT of money....especially to Facebook.

They feel betrayed...

MysticStrummer1354d ago (Edited 1354d ago )

They feel betrayed because they're self entitled. I won't call them losers, but I will call them delusional.

Facebook is definitely the source of their angst, but aren't all kickstarter projects meant to be eventually sold for a profit in one way or another?

SilentNegotiator1354d ago (Edited 1354d ago )

The project might not even have existed if not for the Kickstarter. Backers can either cry that the inevitable happened (Oculus being bought by a bigger company) or they can just be happy that the thing will probably launch before "ummm, eventually" now and that the Oculus even exists thanks to their Kickstarter backing.

Their intention was ALWAYS to make a profit on the Rift, people. You preordered a VR helmet, you did not buy stock in a company.

SecondSon1354d ago

I wish Kickstarter allowed us to buy stock in the companies.

lizard812881354d ago

True, but I guess they'll have to deal with it. KS even gives warnings. I've backed projects that got funded and then failed, thus, losing all of my money I backed towards them. Atleast this was funded and i'm sure they'll get their backing rewards.

360ICE1354d ago

That's half the point with Kickstarter. Not sure if anyone know this, even though all developers pretty much say it right off the bat, but Kickstarter is often used as proof to investors that the product is popular.

People are absolutely free to feel betrayed, but have no right to get their money back. Sure, it can be upsetting that Facebook of all companies picked them up, but if they didn't expect Oculus to be picked up by an investor they should try this new thing the kids are doing called reading.

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Neonridr1355d ago

Totally agree, the vast majority of the original backers were at the level to get the developers kit. Which they received. So now they feel like they should get something more because the company grew beyond their own expectations and a larger company wanted to snatch them up?

Too funny.

admiralvic1355d ago

"So now they feel like they should get something more because the company grew beyond their own expectations and a larger company wanted to snatch them up? "

Funny, thats not the impression I got from the complaints (not even the ones in this article give me that impression). As near as I can tell, people funded the idea because they liked the concept and wanted to see it grow into something really cool. However, now that Facebook owns it, people feel that vision is compromised and feel ripped off.

While I do agree they don't have much legal ground to stand on, I also feel events like this will lead to Kickstarters death. A lot of people have entered these things with good faith, which is sometimes rewarded (Skullgirls via Indiegogo), but it seems quite often that people have been burned and for that reason people will start to distrust everyone and a lot of cool ideas will be ruined by a few companies screwing up.

aliengmr1355d ago (Edited 1355d ago )

Yes, Kickstarter kick-started a gimmick that now has a shot at revolutionizing not ONLY games but media itself.

Damn them! Death to Kickstarter!! for doing exactly what its supposed to do.

If you decide to put your project on Kickstarter just make sure to NOT expand on your vision in any way. You don't want to upset the folks who have a knee jerk reaction.

papashango1355d ago (Edited 1355d ago )

I'm not of the opinion that the crowd funders should get refunded because they got their dev kit as promised.

But I'm disappointed that the consumer level tech that was created is now in a corporations hands that make their money through advertising. If they change their vision on what Occulus should be and it fails they will simply sit on those patents.

Meaning those dreams we all had when we were kids and VR gaming would be delayed who knows how many years. I won't bring up Morpheus because Sony has a history of not supporting their peripherals after they launch.

At a non-gaming consumer level I can see how it's easy to not care but since we are on a gaming website we should be looking at it from a gaming viewpoint.

But this will definitely have an effect on future kickstarts. My stance on this is to wait and see what Zuckerbergs roadmap is.

aliengmr1355d ago

@papashango

"But I'm disappointed that the consumer level tech that was created is now in a corporations hands that make their money through advertising. If they change their vision on what Occulus should be and it fails they will simply sit on those patents."

1. The CV1 has not been created yet and the only market willing to buy it is gamers.

2. Facebook uses Ads to make money because until now, that's the ONLY product they had to sell, Ad space. They can now sell an actual device the Rift. This is a long term investment for FB, not something they intend to make a quick buck on. VR is still a gimmick after all, one wrong move and money wasted.

3. The actual patent is pretty vague from what I hear and is not actually a cause for concern.

As for the rest...

The original plan is unchanged according to OVR and FB. The non-gaming community largely does NOT care about the Rift and so aren't a market yet. Gamers are a market, and the only market that will buy the Rift. VR gaming is alive and well.

A Kickstarter success story isn't going to kill Kickstarter, it may weed out those unable to grasp the concept or tend to overreact.

papashango1354d ago

So were you trying to make a point?

or just playing armchair analyst?

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Muerte24941355d ago (Edited 1355d ago )

The problem lies in if Facebook will continue to make Oculus Rift for games or something else. That was the main purpose for people, originally, investing in their Kickstarter. Feelings "self-entitled" usually means you're demanding something for nothing or feel privileged. That's not the case this time. People felt like they've been dupped, and rightfully so. But these are the risks you take when you back someone's vision. Now you know why investors are so worried about profits. Picture investing millions into something. Investors only get to option to back out but they can't get a refund on it.

1355d ago
aliengmr1355d ago

Wasn't aware the Rift was only capable of one thing.

Show me the market for "social VR". There might be one in the future, but where are all the FB users saying " Boy, the only thing that would make using Facebook better, is strapping something to my head!"

The Rift isn't very mobile either.

Seriously, consider who is ready right now to buy a Rift, then you'll know their direction.

ZombieGamerMan1355d ago

How where they duped? They donated money for the development of VR technology and that is what their donations made. All that has happened is the company was approached and reached an agreement to be bought up facebook.

So no one got duped, the money went to be used for what they thought it would and they got popular and now a major company wants to acquire them. They don't have much of a right to be pissed not yet at least if FB decides to not use the OR for gaming then people should be pissed

fattyuk1355d ago

They invested in this project to get it started? They should be happy to say "we helped this project"

If Facebook had bought it for $500,000 I bet none of them would be complaining! They see the $2 billion everywhere and they want a piece of that pie!!

They can still use there oculus as they did 2 weeks ago? What's changed? Oh yeah they want "compensation" hint hint - a nice cheque, they want there "share" of the "profits"

porkChop1355d ago

The complaints have nothing to do with making money off of the deal. The complaints are about the fact that people invested in a vision that they wanted to support, and now that vision is being changed. Backers feel cheated, and they have every right to be.

FB and Palmer Luckey say that the vision for Oculus hasn't changed, and then 2 seconds later they talk about how their going to make Oculus and VR much more social. What part of the original vision that backers invested in had anything to do with making VR social?

Instead of generalizing the complaints, try actually reading into WHY people are upset.

gintoki7771355d ago

I can't wait to use oculus rift for facebook. I want to be able to interact with my friends through a virtual reality device and be surrounded by a wall where I can see everyone posts.

There will now be full 3d body profiles instead of profile pics lmao

they technically are stakeholders if they invested in it so they do have a say. But shit happens

gintoki7771355d ago

that makes sense @soldierone) They should actually invest in a company instead of donating.

Ashlen1355d ago (Edited 1355d ago )

Well, this is why Kickstarter is a scam.

There was a way to invest in companies and help them get off the ground before Kickstarter. It was called buying stock. And the whole point was if the company did well the value of the stock increased and all the investors make money.

Kickstarter is a scam to get people to take all the risk with basically zero reward. While the the holders of said project get all the rewards with zero risk.

ShowGun9011355d ago

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!

people need to wake up, instead of accepting a dev kit for their money... its like the old adage about the guy who sold his apple stock for 5 grand, now he'd be a millionare... imagine if you wanted stock instead of a dev kit... or the reverse, imagine if that guy who invested in apple wanted an ipad instead of stock...

rainslacker1354d ago

Totally true in every way. There are serious people on KickStarter that do everything possible to deliver what their backers pay for, or more. Unfortunately there are just as many, if not more, that realize it's the best way to make money off promises that don't even have to materialize. In the investor's world, you can get in serious trouble for squandering investors money. With Kickstarter the terms of service actually stipulate that the backers have no recourse whatsoever.

I really believe a project like OR had enough big backers within the industry, that they could have formed a more traditional company and gotten big investors the old fashioned way(which they did as well, who got paid from this sell-off).

I understand the people who backed them on Kickstarter brought into the idea, but the only real promise they got was a devkit, which they did deliver from my understanding. Overall though, I think that some of the backlash may be a bit pre-mature as there is still a big market for the gaming market despite the new social aspect being placed on it.

Audiggity1354d ago

"Kickstarter is a scam to get people to take all the risk with basically zero reward."

How is that even remotely accurate? There is risk associate with the project creators, they have to deliver. The contribution amount aligns directly with a reward tier that must be delivered upon, if not, it's no different than theft.

And the glory days of "buying stock" to help companies get off the ground are LONG gone. An IPO occurs when companies are extremely well established and have completed financial valuations/SEC filings. The wild west days of investing in a start-up don't exist. No intermediary company can publicly offer shares legally, without jumping through a massive series of legal/financial hoops.

Crowd funding is a legitimate way to reward people interested in your product/idea. If you want to invest in a company or a start-up, you need to buy shares or build a portfolio qualified to engage in IPO releases.

Thatguy-3101355d ago

without the kickstarter there wouldn't have been an oculus rift. It got started because people funded it and believe in the vision for GAMING. The fact that they think it was ok to sell it is a slap in the face to the people that support it for the vision they had at that time. I would be fuming too. especially if I don't get anything out of the 2 billion $ that they got for something that was funded by the public.

ShowGun9011355d ago

as Ashlen said above... instead of accepting a damn dev-kit, they should have asked for STOCK... then they WOULD have gotten something outta the sale... as it stands, kickstarter is charity. if you give money to a homeless man, to turn his life around, you don't have the right to ask for it back (and more probably) once he does what you told him to do. they funded it to get it up and running. they KNEW from the start they weren't ENTITLED to anything else. they werent duped. they duped themselves.

bottom line, if you wanna invest, actually invest. in stocks. not charity.

stuna11355d ago

Exactly the makers of Ocolus Rift may have come up with the idea, but the moment they accepted monetary donation they at the very least had the responsibility of telling those who were involved in it being greenlit that a offer was on the table for it being sold to the highest bidder! People actually donated money for a purpose geared more to it being used in the gaming industry! Now that purpose is not as clear, considering FB is a Social Network.

starchild1355d ago

I hate how some in the media report on these things. They make it sound like all Oculus Kickstarter backers feel the same way, when that is plainly not true.

I'm an Oculus Kickstarter backer and I don't feel betrayed. This is the best shot we realistically had at getting the Rift and VR to succeed.

How can we feel betrayed? When you fund a kickstarter project it doesn't mean that you get equity in the company. You are essentially donating your money in the hopes that the project will get off the ground. You usually get something in return, such as the DK1 Oculus Rift most backers got in this case.

So let's put this in perspective. Those of us that pledged $300 or more were given the DK1 and the hope that Oculus could get the product off the ground and eventually launch a superior consumer version with good software support. The first thing already happened: we got our dev kits. The second thing has not happened yet, but there is no evidence that it won't happen. Oculus is trying to get there the best way they know how, and I believe they are sincere.

Some people are jumping to absurd conclusions before they have all the facts and they are likely going to end up looking like idiots.

But you know what? Even if Oculus failed and was never able to launch the consumer Rift, it still wouldn't mean that backers would have a right to sue or get something else from the company.

When you fund a kickstarter project there is no guarantee that the product will come out and be everything that YOU personally think it should be. That's completely unrealistic and isn't how things work.

Audiggity1354d ago

You are 100% correct. The underlying issue here is that people simply don't understand crowd-funding. They are equating it to equity funding and VC investments.

Crowd-funding is much more similar to a straight-up e-commerce transaction. There are explicit rules in place to prevent investments from even occurring.

This is just a fact. Not my opinion. Just because the majority of people may think "it is like an investment" or "it is like stock" or "it means you own part of the company", doesn't mean $hit. 80/20 rule folks. If you're part of the 80%, well, good luck!

rashada071354d ago

Agreed! Kickstarting is like investing in stocks- just because you invest doesn't mean you are guaranteed to be successful.. They should've expected and known the risks- tough luck...

rainslacker1354d ago

About the only one of these comments from the article that made me feel any sympathy towards the backer was the one that didn't seem to want to back anything that Facebook was part of.

Whether a person has good reasons or not, the fact remains that some people do not support Facebook due to whatever reason.

Doesn't mean they had any real say in how OR proceeded so long as the kickstarter delivered on it's promises of a Dev1 Kit. But I can understand how a person would feel if something they were looking forward to got sold to a company that I truly disliked(not saying I dislike FB).

HighResHero1354d ago

I would want my money back too. Hopefully you understand that other people have feelings that may differ from yours.

awi59511354d ago

They got paid 2 billion why would they care about their 2 million now lol.

troylazlow1354d ago

this would be equivalent to giving a homeless person money on the street, and then being upset that they didn't spend your money the way you wanted them to.

once you hand that cash over (voluntarily) thats it end of transaction. you have no say in how it's spent

DeathOfTheFanBoy1354d ago

What I will add (I agree with Doge) like it or not, the rift would have faded into utter obscurity once Sony released their own VR set, now at-least with the backing of FB tthey have a chance to maintain dominance in the VR market even if it's not solely game orientated.

But at the end of the day I really question if VR is actually commercially viable, sure as a hardcore gamer it would be awesome but WE are the minority and getting the casual consumer to buy such a product is a very hard sell IMO.

Good luck to all concerned parties.

Angeljuice1354d ago (Edited 1354d ago )

@Doge
I do agree with what you say, however it would have done wonders for Oculus, Facebook and the whole kickstarter concept if they'd given a little 'golden thank you' to the 'little people' who's faith and contributions created the company in the first place.
It wouldn't need to be much, just a little gift to show appreciation (maybe free future VR software, or a heavily subsidised/free upgrade to the final retail version of the hardware).

That kind of PR is priceless and would have quashed most of the resentment expressed on the internet.

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Soldierone1355d ago (Edited 1355d ago )

According to Kickstarter rules they cannot get their money back. They fulfilled the rewards for one, but even if they couldn't do that Kickstarter states that some projects request too little money and have issues fulfilling rewards, so its a risk that backers take.

danny8181355d ago

Kickstarter should have a rule for the project to be fulfilled and not sold off! Fuck these guys

aliengmr1355d ago

That would be illegal or at the very least against the rules.

You aren't investing or even kickstarting a company, you kickstart projects.

As long as they provide the rewards promised, which they have, they have nothing to say.

Having a knee-jerk reaction is not cause for a refund.

Soldierone1355d ago

You can do that. Go invest in a company instead of donating to it....

ShowGun9011355d ago

kickstarter is a scam.

if you wanna invest, actually invest. not donate.

donations are CHARITY. given outta the kindness of your heart. doesn't mean they owe you anything. (other than the prize you agreed upon.)

danny8181354d ago

I agree with all u guys but the most ethical thing to do was to atleast reward those who donated. I know it was a donation but still. They got 2 billion. Thats alot of money

starchild1354d ago

Kickstarter isn't a scam, it works exactly the way it is stated to work and the way that most intelligent people understand it to work. Just because ignorant people don't pay attention and assume it to be something it isn't doesn't mean that there is a problem with it. I believe Kickstarter has its place.

I mean, we actually got this company off the ground, got some fabulous dev kits, and through further venture capital they were able to develop more advanced versions of the Rift and finally get the attention of an established successful company. As far as I'm concerned this is a success story.

A few thousand angry idiots on the internet can seem like an overwhelming majority even though in many cases they actually represent a tiny minority.

Facebook is trying to diversify just like all successful companies do once their growth has gone through the S-curve and is starting to slow or even decline. They tried the Rift and were amazed by it, so they decided they wanted to help bring it to its full potential and get in on the ground floor of a potentially revolutionary technology.

In order to maintain a leadership position in VR, though, they know that they have to give people the quality of VR experience they expect. They aren't going to require bothersome facebook sign-ins or slap ads in our faces while playing games because they know that to do so would cause people to drop the Rift like a rock.

Most of what comprises the Rift is not patentable technology. And it would be easy for other competitors to bring VR headsets of their own to market, similar to what we have recently seen from Sony. The only way Facebook/Oculus is going to stay ahead is if they are ACTUALLY ahead in the estimation of consumers.

Facebook isn't going to kill their one shot to be a dominant force in the emerging VR market by doing something stupid like having ads pop up in our VR experiences or dropping support for gaming. It amazes me that people are naive enough to believe these things would happen.

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secretcode1355d ago

Thing is, Kickstarter isn't an investment. Kickstarter is a donation. Investing and donating are two very different things.

Joe9131355d ago

True and now that everyone knows you are putting your money into something so someone else can get rich will kill the whole kickstarter thing I don't know how I feel about this if you gave more than what a dev kit is worth then you got screwed but my thing is if you donate money to kickstart you kinda a founder of the company because there would be no company if not for your donations but it is a donation idk I would be happy with free products myself like if I donated then my name should be on a list and I should get the new version when it comes out if that was the case I could care less what they made off the sell as long as I got my product when they release a new one that way ppl do not feel screwed.

Tempest3171355d ago

But would you donate money to anything if you knew they were going to recieve 2 billion dollars?

XiNarutoUzumaki1355d ago (Edited 1355d ago )

Never trust in Kickstaters ever again.

Ouya: Failure
Oculus: On the way to failure

dcj05241355d ago

So you have time travel powers? Please tell me. When can we read minds. I'm guessing 2030-50ish.

Ju1355d ago

Fair or not...what it will lead to is the death of Kickstarter and with it the idea for a lot of smaller ideas to ever have a chance to come reality. That's a pity, really. Just shows how fragile this attempt really is.