It’s only been about a day since the Facebook/ Oculus Rift deal, but already in that space of time Oculus Rift’s Kickstarter page has filled with comments from those who previously backed the campaign, many of whom are a tad bit annoyed at the deal.
In some ways their revolt is not surprising, being the first time a major Kickstarter project has been acquired by a major company, how things go over the next few months will set a president for all future campaigns, something which the project already did when it launched in September 2012, raised $2.4 million from a total of 9,522 backers.
But now all of these backers want there many back, a lot of whom are stating that the company should refund them, and so are various publications, Business Insider even went as far as to say that the backers of this campaign “got nothing” from the sale.
The problem is all of these comments are actually a complete misunderstanding of how crowdfunding actually works, with a lot of commenters claiming that they actually have a stake in the company. Here’s an example comment from one such commenter named Brian Bedford:
“So Oculus, I backed the original Kickstarter for $10…
I’d like my $8200 (.00041%) of that 2$ billion Facebook deal now, please. I backed a VR project for games, not a massive social media company’s fairly obvious attempt to stay relevant in the face of a waning Facebook and make more money in the long run.
I’m a game developer/artist struggling to even find a job in the face of frequent studio layoffs. Shareholder stake in something I believed in would have helped a LOT right about now, but screw the little people, right? Thanks for that…”
Now what Bedford, and many others didn’t understand is that backing a campaign on Kickstarter does not grant you shares, a say in what happens. or even a finished product. To prove it here’s a couple of segments from the sites guidelines:
Creators cannot offer equity or financial incentives (ownership, share of profits, repayment/loans, cash-value equivalents, etc).
Kickstarter does not guarantee projects or investigate a creator’s ability to complete their project. On Kickstarter, backers (you!) ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it.
And if that doesn’t cut it, you might want to check what Oculus actually said in their initial Kickstarter listing, stating that “We’re here raising money on Kickstarter to build development kits of the Rift, so we can get them into the hands of developers faster.”
No where in that statement did they mention that they would be keeping the company after completion, be offering backers shares after completion, or even give them a product that was further than a developer kit.
Simply put the Oculus Kickstarter project was aimed to Kickstart the company funnily enough, it was not to grant you shares, interest or even a say in any of its doing, so stop moaning and get on with life because nothings going to change.