Facebook has removed a virtual reality shoot-em-up experience from a tech demo at a top American conservative conference after recieving criticism for being "tone deaf" following last week's deadly school shooting in Florida. The social network has a presence at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference in Maryland, this week, including a booth running a demo of its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. This demo included a first-person shooting game.
People on Twitter have criticised Facebook for running this demo so soon after the deadly shooting attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead.
The game, Bullet Train, was just one of a number of standard Oculus games/demos that Facebook has included at public events. In fact, Bullet Train has been around since 2015 [theverge.com], and the team that made it released a full game called Robo Recall [polygon.com], funded by Oculus:
The game will be an Oculus exclusive — that company is funding its development — and the five-to-ten-person team that created Bullet Train has ballooned into a full 15 person team at Epic in order to turn this into a real game with a release date in "early 2017." It will include a number of graphical jumps from Bullet Train, and this benefits Epic in other ways as well.
Yet, Facebook still tried to distance itself from the original demo [cnbc.com]:
The demo for the game, called "Bullet Train," is being developed by a third-party game-maker, not Oculus, the company said.
Why is Facebook at CPAC? Probably as part of an ongoing effort to placate conservatives angry at the platform [nbcnews.com].
This comes a few months after the Puerto Rico hurricane VR debacle [theverge.com].