Oculus is a prominent force in the augmented reality industry primarily through their Oculus Rift headset, while Facebook is a popular social media site. On March 25, 2014 Facebook acquired virtual reality company Oculus. The Facebook deal is worth $2 billion, with $400 million in cash and the remaining in Facebook stock. Both Facebook and Oculus are excited about the partnership. What is the logic behind this acquisition?
While it may appear unusual that a virtual reality technology company is partnering with a social network company, their ultimate vision and goals are aligned. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, believes in Oculus Rift’s mission to create an “incredible, affordable, and ubiquitous consumer virtual reality to the world”, but also believes in the potential for virtual reality to transform social interaction. Zuckerberg states, “This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.” See Zuckerberg’s full statement here: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10101319050523971
Though having the immense resources of Facebook can prove to be a valuable for a small company like Oculus, video game purists fear that Facebook will cripple the game development objectives Oculus was originally founded on. However, Zuckerberg brushes these notions aside by claiming, “Immersive gaming will be first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate.”
At the end of the day, Oculus Rift will be a disruptive technology regardless of its application. Only time will tell how this acquisition will actually affect how the Oculus Rift is used by consumers. Check out the Oculus Rift headset on their website: http://www.oculusvr.com/rift/
Since March not much has changed about the platform. The Rift has not had a wide consumer release and is still available only for developers. We hope that Facebook’s influence is being felt behind the scenes and will soon result in a wider availability for the public.