Oculus Rift is a great name for a virtual reality headset, but is it the best name for a new social network? Facebook recently purchased the world’s premier virtual reality headset maker with eventual plans to turn it into the next big platform after mobile and hope to turn it into a brand new social platform.
And so, a bit of rebranding seemed like a reasonable next plan of action, and The New York Times writers Nick Wingfield and Vindu Goel wrote this:
According to a person involved in the deal who was not allowed to speak publicly because he was not authorized by either company, Facebook eventually plans to redesign the Oculus hardware and rebrand it with a Facebook interface and logo.
But, according to TechCrunch, a Facebook spokesman vehemently denied the claim, saying: [It’s] not true and not in the spirit of our relationship [with Oculus].”
As TechCrunch also points out, the Rift doesn’t have any “interface” to speak of, it plugs into a PC and then displays the software running on that PC. Seeing as Facebook also hasn’t shown off any kind of Virtual Reality interface for Facebook or otherwise, the only thing that made sense in the NYT allegation was changing the logo, but that seems to have now been denied.
Furthermore, Oculus is retaining its autonomy, which is something they stressed during a conference call and again on a Reddit thread, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey stated that
None of [the focus on gaming and openness with developers] will change. Oculus continues to operate independently! We are going to remain as indie/developer/enthusiast friendly as we have always been, if not more so. This deal lets us dedicate a lot of resources to developer relations, technical help, engine optimizations, and our content investment/publishing/sales platform. We are not going to track you, flash ads at you, or do anything invasive.
So what is going on here? It seems possible that either the NYT writers or their source was confused, perhaps it is something less impactful, like a small Facebook logo on the side of the device. Or maybe it was something that Facebook and Oculus have planned far down the line, with the second or third iterations of the consumer version of the Rift.
We have reached out to Nick Wingfield, one of the two New York Times writers responsible for the article to see if he still stands by his story, we will update this page if and when we hear back.
[Photo Credit: Sergey Galyonkin]