$2 billion. Two freakin’ billion dollars. That’s just how much VR company Oculus Rift was worth to Facebook. That’s what success and fame can do for a start-up company, as the virtually real hardware developer found out when the house of Zuckerberg bought them out. One other industry success story that won’t be up for sale though? Chris Roberts and Imperium Games, who are staying independent.
“Now to answer the myriad forum threads that popped up worrying about the possibility of Cloud Imperium being acquired by another, bigger company – don’t worry! We have no plans nor interest in following this path! We don’t need to go to anyone with deep pockets to make OUR dream a reality,” Star Citizen creator Chris Roberts said in a blog post.
To mass-produce hardware like the Rift, you need an outlay of hundreds of millions of dollars. Luckily our ships are digital so we have hardly any cost of goods, just the cost of developing the universe of Star Citizen and running servers that Star Citizen’s universe will be simulated on. Thanks to the generosity of the Star Citizen community we have these two things covered.
And last but not least I’m having way to much fun building the universe of my dreams for everyone to adventure in! I’ve been down the big company acquisition route twice before and there’s a reason I am making Star Citizen totally independently!
He’s right you know. There’s a ton more cash and capital needed to get Oculus Rift out of concept and into shops around the world, a pressure that Roberts and his studio won’t need to deal with. Having now raised over $41 million for Star Citizen, Roberts and his crew have more than enough funds to complete the space-sim game. But when it comes to virtual reality, Roberts is keen to see what the tech can do for gaming.
“From the moment I first saw the Rift, I knew it was something special. I can tell you firsthand that the team behind the headset has a true passion for making VR tomorrow’s standard,” Roberts explained.
In order for the Rift to succeed, it really needed a lot more funding than it has raised from its past two VC rounds. Hardware is expensive: it’s one thing to perfect the technology, but before you can sell a single Rift, you need to spend hundreds of millions on manufacturing and building a supply chain if you intend to make the Rift (and Virtual Reality) relevant for the mass market. Microsoft invested well over a billion dollars just to launch the Xbox One this fall!
My hope is that Facebook’s funding will let Oculus compete with much bigger companies and deliver an attractively priced consumer headset at the scale needed for mass market adoption without the loss of the incredible passion that convinced me to back the project. I haven’t heard or seen anything to the contrary so until I do we are fully committed to supporting the Rift.
I just want a damn PC that will be capable of playing Star Citizen when it launches next year. Expect to see my Kickstarter soon, as I attempt to raise funds without having to sell another organ.
Last Updated: April 2, 2014