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Oculus VR officials and their families received death threats after Facebook acquisition

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The Oculus VR team's acquisition by Facebook last week for $2 billion resulted in death threats and other abuse directed at the virtual reality firm, said company co-founder Palmer Luckey on Reddit this past weekend.

Last week's announcement made waves in the gaming sphere and the larger tech industry, and caused casual observers and analysts to scratch their heads at the thought of Facebook becoming a hardware company. Many individuals expressed shock and anger at the deal, regardless of whether they had originally backed the August 2012 Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift headset.

"We expected a negative reaction from people in the short term," said Luckey (photo above), writing in a thread regarding an interview with Nate Michell, vice president of product at Oculus, in which Mitchell said company officials were surprised at the negativity surrounding the Facebook buyout.

"We expected a [knee-jerk reaction] from people who don't have all the information we do, and will not have it for some time," Luckey added later in the comment thread. "We did not expect to be getting so many death threats and harassing phone calls that extended to our families. We know we will prove ourselves with actions and not words, but that kind of shit is unwarranted, especially since it is impacting people who have nothing to do with Oculus."

Luckey noted that ultimately, he's not too concerned with the immediate reaction to Facebook's acquisition of his company.

"My primary goal is the long-term success of VR, not short-term warm and fuzzy feelings," said Luckey. John Carmack, chief technical officer at Oculus, said last week that he was unaware of the negotiations between the company and Facebook, and that he has "reason to believe that they get the Big Picture as I see it."

For more on the acquisition, check out our own interview with Luckey, Mitchell and Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, as well as our optimistic opinion piece. And see our report about harassment of game developers to find out just how devastating such abuse can be.

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