A favourite case study from my lecture series on ©is that of VR developer Oculus, bought out by Facebook back in 2014 for $2 billion. As is often the case, this apparently ground-breaking invention – the unwieldy headset that allows wearers to experience startlingly realistic 3-D worlds – did not enjoy overnight success. It took several years of hard work to come close to something that was both acceptable to users and an attractive business proposition.
Not surprisingly, Oculus has been sued for half a billion dollars by ZeniMax, parent company of ID Software (maker of the Doom and Quake games), whose co-founder John Carmack is now with Oculus. The dispute concerned improper use of code, developed at ZeniMax and used in the Oculus Rift headset. While this might have signalled the end for Oculus as an independent start-up, it is a drop in the ocean for parent Facebook. Just one more example of power shifting to the few in this new, and uncharted, digital world.
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