Oculus Should Refund Kickstarter Money

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Oathbreaker

Let me ask the question: Why doesn't Kickstarter require that all businesses using their service be registered Not-For-Profits? Or the backers require it of anyone they back?

Arguably the purpose of Kickstarter is smaller/newer creators to have their passion funded and for like-minded masses to benefit. No where in there is the term "mad profit" endemic. Not-For-Profits can still pay their CEO's and Directors a very healthy wage if they hit on a hot product, perhaps these never-would-have start-ups could then channel profits into further product development (most probably do anyway) or charity.

Aside from that, I like the idea someone had of making a version of Kickstarter that is a legitimate crowd-sourced Venture Capital generator, with donaters getting shares equal to their $ donation. They then would get ongoing input and potential dividends, although likely at the cost of samples of end product.

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mikeyfree

Kickstarter...you can give some money to have a movie or game made and then pay alot of money later to play or watch it.
A sucker born every minute.

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FrancesTheMute

Pretty much every game or movie kickstarter I've seen has levels where you donate your money and you get a copy of the movie/game when it's released, you don't have to pay any more.

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faaaaq

and you dominated your minute. On almost every kickstarter, the GET the product if you "donate" anything but the lowest 1-3 amounts (which are usually a few bucks to 50 or so, depending on the value of the item). If someone put up an amazing, perfect car on Kickstarter, your argument (as well thought thru as it was...) is that even those who back the minimum amount, even if it is set at $1, deserve to get the car for free.

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mikeyfree

I didn't hint at that at all. And then again you did start the reply with "and". Read it again it will come to you.

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docleo2001

Stop whining. You should know what you are getting into when you support a Kickstarter. The name of the service is enough description to know what it's about. If facebook hadn't picked it up some other huge company or billionaire would have eventually if it felt it was viable. What if the kickstarter had failed? Would you still want your money back? What if the Oculus succeeded on it's own and became a million or billion dollar enterprise? What about then? The point is, one doesn't know the future and opportunities don't just grow on trees.

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tekknyne

$100 says that kickstarter.com is another wallstreet shill/front to suck in your money. "look at this mom and pops shop, you can help them get off their feet" -- "oh, silly kid with mommy and daddy's inheritance money, we've already evaluated this company thoroughly and know who will be successful and who won't be. You thought you would be able to affect that?" LOL. Thanks for the moneyyyy suckerrrr!

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wkwilley2

I myself did not pledge any money towards Oculus during it's KS. Not because I didn't want to support it, but because I was not on KS when Oculus was being KS'd.

Even if I had pledged money towards it, I will still stand behind the decision. If Zuckerburg keeps his word, we will have our OVRs sooner than we expected, solely due to the fact that they have a much larger budget to work against, and they can develop hardware specifically for the OVR instead of using off the shelf parts as others have mentioned.

I'm still deadset on purchasing an OVR, just as long as there aren't any FB notifications in my HUD.

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tekknyne

This is why I will never invest money on kick starter projects. If you have a friend who has a techie startup, invest in that. But if you are going to believe some words on a computer screen and start pouring money into that cause, well go for it. Not for me.

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triclops41

To the people upset about this:

Did you think the Kickstarter money was going to be enough to make this thing actually successful? That is comically ignorant.

Is it because it is Facebook? Who has the money to do this, the technical ability to make it successful, and a reputation better than Facebook? Microsoft? Apple? Google? I don't see anyone better than Facebook. Equal to Facebook, sure, but not better.

I am fine with this for two reasons;

If Carmack thinks this is a good idea, I would need some serious evidence to the contrary to change my mind. He isn't doing this for the money, he is an expert in myriad aspects of this industry, not some naive rookie, and he wants OVR to be successful.

I want OVR to be the revolution to millions of things, not just gaming. This is how it was always going to get there.

The Kickstarter backers should be very proud. In my estimation, they made sure OVR was not stillborn, and was delivered as a healthy baby with a bright future. Now it is time for that baby to grow into something more powerful than we can possibly imagine. It needs massive resources to do so. Facebook has those resources.

Seriously, OVR doesn't owe the backers anything at all. But they do deserve my genuine gratitude. Sony's VR system, and all the improvements and innovation to come from future competitors and technology will be due, in no small part, to the message that the OVR backers sent with their pledges.

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tekknyne

Clearly you are not a man of principle, but feel like some cheap, technical, horse-crap of an argument holds weight. Good for you.

People have every right to feel ripped off. It's their money.

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docleo2001

Money they knew was going to a project that they were not going to monetarily benefit from.

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Mister ID

Discussions like this just make me think of the subjective nature of modern morality.

Some people say it would be the right thing to do to refund kickstarter money. Some say not. I'd put myself in the later crowd.

Occulus Rift was funded what, a year ago? People donated in order to jumpstart a product that they thought was neat and it worked out. It garnered enough attention that a large company with lots of cash decided that it would be a good investment.

So all of you who kickstarted it can take pride in helping get this thing off the ground. It may not have gotten this far without you. I don't see why this entitles you to a refund of your donation If a wealthy benefactor endows a lot of money to a charity does that give those who donate less a right to have their donations returned?

You might be saying: "That's not the same." Strictly speaking you're right. This isn't a charity. But its the same as in the nature of the relationship. Oculus presented itself asking for startup funds. Those who donated felt it was a worthy cause and gave without the expectation of anything returned other than what was initially promised. I'm not seeing an ethical conflict here.

"The right thing" in this instance is so subjective its not even an argument. That vision of what the Oculus can be isn't gone. That gentleman's agreement doesn't exist except in the minds of those who think it does. It's a version of morality that not everyone shares.

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Bdiddytampa

Well... it IS called Kickstarter...

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devin3627

need to pay back all the money your mom spent raising you.

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tekknyne

+++1, this guy!! Hell yeah!

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yammerpickle2

I funded Oculus and have a DK1 kit. I do not feel entitled to any profits, or compensation for their success. I am also aware that they are going to need more money than the original Kickstarter funds. However, they had already secured significant other funding based on the buzz fanboys like me generated prior to the FB buy out. It could even be argued that buzz from fanboy backers like me helped to attract the attention of FB and other large buyers. I’m ok with them selling out to a big company. It allows them develop a superior product and mass produce it at a lower cost. As a VR fanboy that is exactly what I want. However, I’d also point out that castAR appears to be getting custom hardware made and they have a fraction of the budget of Oculus so not sure the 2 billion FB deal was required to get custom hardware.
Anyhow, what I don’t like is that this crowd sourced funded start up that was supposed to be open source system. However, before the ink was dry FB was already announcing they will put ads into Oculus products. That makes me think this is not going to be an open source system anymore. Based on their history we also already know they do not respect user’s privacy. In addition I really bristle at them possibly branding it FB, and forcing me to get a FB account and log into the account to use it in the future. That was definitely not disclosed during the original kickstarter.
To use the boat example. Lucky owns the boat, Lucky can charge to use the boat. Lucky can sell the boat. I’m totally cool with that. What I’m not cool with his goon friend he sold the boat to cavity searching me every time I try and use the boat, telling me I can only sail the boat where he tells me to, and that is right up to his billboards. Also while I’m sailing it, he is sending his goons to search my house and telling everyone in the neighborhood what I have inside. That is what I’m upset about, and not what I, or other backers signed up for. None of this has happened yet, but based on FB history and announcements already made it is only a matter of time.

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Carlidan

Interesting... based on what you've said.. backers of the Rift might have a slim case against Oculus. If they did promise backers that if product was made it will be open source, you might have a case. But doubtful you have a case against putting ads on the Rift, since it sounds like there was no evidence on your reply that they said they couldn't do that. Well this is getting interesting.

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John Pombrio

In the past 20 years since Internet Mania took hold, the goal for every single startup was to get venture capital, create some sort of project or app or website, and sell it for billions to another company as quickly as possible.

The only difference here was that the Rift folks were funded by Kickstarter which is even better than a venture capitalist as the company does not have to pay the angels any of the profits.

My worst problem is with the whole Kickstarter idea. It was inevitable that Kickstarter would eventually not work, either by too many funded companies simply failing or by folks like Rift who took advantage of free startup money. How long can you play the sucker/crowd before they realize what they are actually paying for?

Another quandary. Now that Oculus is now owned by Facebook, who exactly should refund the Kickstarter money? It would be the company, right? I am sure Oculus was incorporated at some point so the individuals who started the company are not individually responsible for complete failure. Since Oculus is now part of Facebook and FB received none of the Kickstarter money, no one and no company is directly connected to the Kickstarter program any longer. There were also a tremendous number of corporate backers who invested tens of millions of dollars. Oculus spent in R&D well over the measly amount they received from Kickstarter, so that money is long gone.

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Renegade Knight

No need for a refund. They just need to honor the spirit and intent of the deal that the kickstarters were promised. Which per a post a couple above yours, is already starting to dissolve.

There used to be a company who had a product. Network magic. I loved it. It made my network work when that used to be somewhat problematic at times. I bought from them a lifetime license including all upgrades to the program forever. They sold to Cisco. Cisco promptly released "Network Magic" and called it new software. They cut off my lifetime upgrade and said I could use the old version for "life" and said that met the spirit and intent of the deal. It didn't.

It doesn't bother me that Cisco ultimately stopped developing the software. That's fair. Not honoring the deal until that point though? I don't buy Cisco gear because of it.

All that said. Your point about Kickstarter ultimately failing because it can would, and will be abused is a good one.

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docleo2001

All they took advantage of was knowing that the project could be further funded and make it to the masses.

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tekknyne

Better than venture capital!? Ding ding ding!! It's like drug-money without the risk, helll yeah!!!

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Xenite

Many people using kickstarter are for a lack of a better word, complete morons. Look at the comment section for Oculus and you will see dozens of donors saying they should be compensated with a share of the sale proceeds.

Even though it explicitly says in the Kickstarter TOS that backers can not and will not receive a share of any future proceeds from the product.

Yet people are already screaming class action lawsuit. These people have no business backing these projects if they are unwilling to accept and understand these risks and concessions.

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bigrigross

There could very well be a lawsuit if they change the product too far from what the backers were sold. Oculus promised that programming and software for the Oculus would stay open source. If facebook decides against that or puts ads on it or the software, then they would have a basis for a lawsuit. But yeah, its funny when I read the whole they should get kickback for the company getting bought. I have only backed 3 games on kickstarter and I do not regret it. I will not kick start hardware. I knew this would happen eventually. If they wanted to invest in a company, kickstarter is not the way to do it if you want a roi.

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docleo2001

Yeah, IF. Too many people are making assumptions about something that they know nothing about.

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tekknyne

Yeah, too bad there's no shortage of young, dumb self-proclaimed tech savvy idiots with mommy and daddy's money to blow.

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Neufeldt2002

There are a few things that would stop me from buying this, and it all has to do with facebook. If I need a facebook account to use it, no dice. If facebook builds ads into it (which Mr. Z has already stated they would do) that are not part of the game I am playing, no dice. If facebook wants me to like and share anything, no dice. If they are collecting data on what games I play, no dice. If they truly leave OR alone and only build programmes that work with OR that I don't have to have to use OR then I might buy it. But given that I can't stand facebook as a company and thus far have refused to use anything they make and have bought (Instagram, What's App), it is a big might.

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tekknyne

There are a few things that would stop me from buying this in the near future -- like does my neck go completely numb after 25 minutes of wearing this thing on my face. Can we say gimmick?

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bigrigross

Unfortunately for me, I can never do VR. I have a vertigo issue and I would be spending more time fighting dizziness than I would be enjoying the game. Heck, in BF3 during the Jet mission, I had to have my friend finish the mission for me so I could beat the single player.

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Baer

+1 Neufeld2001. I think what you are seeing here is disdain for FB more than anything.

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RICHARD RIDDICK

Now that facebook owns it, i am betting it will turn into online based shit games only and i really dont have interest in that and the truh be told everyone here would have taken the $2 billion dollars, you can lie and deny it all you want but its true.

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Obsidian

I don't see anyone asking Kristen Bell for money or futures she may earn from the latest Veronica Mars movie.

This article is indicative of the entitlement mentality that many people get trapped in. I expect more from Jimmy because he's wicked smart.

Kickstarter is NOT an investment. Get over it.

The brilliance of Kickstarter projects is that there's some 3rd party legitimacy that only enhances the scheme. Successful pitches trick you into feeling like you're part of something. Terms like "help us blah blah blah" and "LET's make this a reality" ... it's inclusion, it's entirely rhetoric. And people love it so much they'll pay for that feeling.

It's nice that this discussion is being had because it might bring to light that people should be more wary of Kickstarter than they had been. But there's no legal recourse here because what was done isn't even close to illegal.

You gave your money away, get over it.

I look forward to a parody of this concept. Someone in San Fran gives a homeless dude a dollar, but then asks the guy for his signature on a legal document that outlines any future profit that he makes must be shared at a sliding scale percentage with the "kind" person currently handing out a dollar.

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tekknyne

lol entitlement money!? You mean kickstarter is a scam?

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Renegade Knight

It was only a matter of time before Kickstarter was used by the Wall Street Entitlement types.

You are right that it's not an investment but it is a source of money. Pretty much free.

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Carlidan

Well there also legal contracts they must abide. If they said if you donate a certain amount of money we will give you something in return. They are legally bound to give you that prize. That is a contract. But if they said nothing, you get nothing. Plain and Simple.

Just like when I donated for the game Wasteland 2. They said If i donated $15 dollars and if the games get completed. I get a copy of the game. If they decide not to give it to me. You sure bet I have a legal recourse to sue them for breach of contract.

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Peanut Fox

I'm amazed that people who didn't even contribute are upset. Entitlement doesn't even come close to describe what is being written in a lot of these comments.

Oculus Rift as an underdog that would like remain a niche is fine with everyone, but Oculus Rift beating the odds, and positing itself a successful venture and the internet collective is ready to implode on itself.

I don't see how the project failed it's original supporters. If anything it's nearly guaranteed the success of VR technology, even if it's not through Oculus itself. Mission accomplished, why is everyone pouting?

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Madigon

"It’s like a friend who asks to borrow five bucks, wins the lottery, and doesn't pay you back."

No, it's like a friend who asks for $5 to play the lottery, wins, and only gives you $5 back, but you feel entitled to a lot more than that. Which makes you unreasonable, and whole other list of negative adjectives.

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01234567895442546

I was thinking almost the same:
It`s like a friend who is in desperate need for money, asks for $5 bucks, you hand him over a 5$ bill. On the next corner he decides to play the lottery with a dollar coin from his pockets, and wins.
Then he walks back to you saying

"Thanks for your 5$ bill, I wil pay you back in 1 year. I PROMISE I won´t write on your 5$ bill, or tear it apart and I will keep it locked up in my new gold plated safe."

You ask him where he get the gold plated safe from.

He just smiles saying "I just won the lottery"

You feel fooled, because he isn´t even inviting you to diner, nor is he paying any interests.

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USraging

There is a line between investors, and supporters of an idea or concept. If you go to church and donate "X" amount of dollars and they remodel the church instead of helping the needy are you entitled to your money back? An investor pays in with expectations on a return on investment. A supporter donates money without return to support an idea or concept.

I don't believe repayment is at all in order here. If you buy a lottery ticket and don't win do you get your money back?

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wrcousert

Oculus could be responsible for the death of the crowdfunding movement if they refuse to pay back their supporters.

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Baer

I agree, I have backed a number of projects but now I will think twice. I do believe that this will hurt crowdfunding.

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tekknyne

Did you know that most humans don't have to make up words unless they are trying to hide something? "crowdfuning" = scam. Better off saving your money and investing in yourrself.

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wrcousert

I'd like to see a site similar to Kickstarter where the supporters get a piece of the action - part of the profits in exchange for an investment in the company, like the popular TV show Shark Tank, but on a much larger scale.

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wrcousert

Oculus needs to do more than refund the money. They need to share the $2 billion profit with their Kickstarter supporters. They never would have made this money without their help.

In addition, Kickstarter should change their TOS to require this in the future.

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Renegade Knight

There won't be any profit. They got 400m in cash to develop the product. To get this off they ground they will burn through that cash.

The rest of the 2b was in Facebook Stock. Which they should sell now. Facbook like all things internet is subject to fads.

The internet is a lot like the night club scene. There is always a hot club. Your club may not always be that club. Better to be the Alcohol Distributor.

When Facbook Jumps the Shark. It will be like Myspace.

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tekknyne

The internet is alot like the Nightclub scene. There's always some dumb drunk hooker waiting to scam on you.

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wrcousert

The profit will come from the Facebook stock that they should be selling right now.

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AFDozerman

Nah, I think it's more like this:

Ted wants to build a VR headset for profit and asks for donations. You want a VR headset, so you oblige him. When Ted gets half way through the development process, he sells out to a faceless gray cooperation for profit (well, actually, it's a many-faced light blue cooperation, but I digress). You get pissed off because the final product might be different than the original plan and there could be annoying ads. You are partially justified because a promise has been broken to you, but there isn't anything you can do about it because no formal agreement was made. For this reason, you join in with the millions of other people just like you so that at least your voice can be heard and others outside of the tech wold can know what's going on. Unfortunately, deep down inside, you know that there is nothing in this wold that can stop the power of two billion dollars except three billion dollars, but you refuse to go down without a fight; even if you can't stop what is happening, at least your children and children's children one day can look back upon the archives of the former internet and see that you, before anyone else, contributed to this and did what you could to make the world a better place. You tried, but Ted was an asshole.

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SuperSATA

"Several Scumbag Oculus memes have gone viral."

I believe the word you're looking for is "macro," not "meme."

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Eagle70ss

"You're not wrong, you're just an a$%hole.