In a wholly unexpected move, Facebook has purchased Oculus VR for a reported $2 billion (split between Facebook stock and actual cash). From here on out, Facebook will be the entity pulling the strings as far as the future of the Oculus Rift headset is concerned.
At a glance, it may seem like Facebook and Oculus VR are far too disparate companies for such an acquisition to be successful, but FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn't see it that way. Rather, he believes that VR headsets are the "platform of tomorrow."
Thus far, the Oculus Team and their Oculus Rift headset have only been associated with gaming experiences, but that may soon change if Facebook has its way. As Zuckerberg explains, VR could help make many daily tasks easier:
After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face -- just by putting on goggles in your home.
Oculus Co-Founder and CEO Brendan Iribe further echoed Zuckerberg's sentiments, suggesting that this partnership will help bring virtual reality to the social space.
"We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world. We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it's only just the beginning."
While it's obviously too early to tell what larger implications this acquisition might have on the industry, it's hard to deny Facebook has made a huge move here. The Oculus Rift has been a major conversation starter in the video game industry for the past year or so, and its influence on gaming will only continue to grow. Sure, there will be many imitators and competitors, but as it stands the Oculus Rift is leading the way for VR.
That being said, Facebook is not necessarily a company that gamers would want handling the future of VR. For as much as Facebook has revolutionized the social media industry, they have also had their fair share of missteps, especially in recent years.
Not to mention, the indie "street cred" that the Oculus had among smaller developers may be lost now that they are under the banner of a larger conglomerate. For example, shortly after news of the sale broke Notch revealed that an Oculus port of Minecraft was in the works, but he decided not to pursue that idea any further.
Still, only time will tell what Facebook actually plans to do with this most recent acquisition. Hopefully they put the Oculus team on a very long leash and let them pursue their own plans, before reining them in to work on these more practical applications of the tech.
What do you think of Facebook buying Oculus? Did you think it's a good thing for the Oculus Rift?
Source: Business Insider