Backers who supported Oculus Rift on Kickstarter are now angered that the company has sold to Facebook. What do crowdfunding projects owe their backers?
Oculus VR chief Palmer Luckey turned to Kickstarter to raise $2.4 million to create prototypes for the Oculus Rift headset. Billed as “the first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games,” the crowdfunding campaign attracted more than 9,500 backers. But now that the company has been sold to Facebook for more than $2 billion, some of the backers feel duped.
Countless backers of Oculus Rift vented their frustrations on the Oculus Rift Kickstarter.
“I am saddened that the independent dream that was Oculus is now selling out to Facebook,” wrote one of the project’s backers. “Honestly, I feel that every single donor should get a “kickback/refund” from that $2 Billion (they’d still have plenty left over!) to put towards a Kickstarter project that isn’t a masquerading golddigger. The whole idea of Kickstarter is to support people in making the world a better place through original ideas and technology, not selling out to corporate America. We already have enough politicians that do that – and you see how good that’s worked out for the country. A shame and disappointment to everyone who backed Oculus; it’s a damn shame.”
It’s reminiscent of what happened when Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded “Wish I Was Here” sold big at Sundance and some of the film’s backers complained that he had forgotten the little folks who helped the film get made.
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