Facebook to Buy Oculus VR, Maker of the Oculus Rift

At this point, I can’t decide if Facebook is easily threatened, eager for the sci-fi future, or just plain bored (perhaps all three), but either way, it probably doesn’t matter. The social networking giant has announced its plans to purchase Oculus Rift maker Oculus VR, for $2B in cash and stock. That’s $400 million, plus 23.1 million shares of Facebook. Holy PS Morpheus, Batman.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg sounds uncommonly excited about the purchase, and he should be; virtual reality is a gold mine of yet-to-be-tapped potential. VR tech backed by Facebook’s massive influence and financial muscle stands to accelerate at a far faster rate than it would alone, a fact the folks at Oculus VR are no-doubt thrilled about.

Zuckerburg posted a statement — well actually, a status — to his Facebook account explaining the news.

I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality technology.

Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. For the past few years, this has mostly meant building mobile apps that help you share with the people you care about. We have a lot more to do on mobile, but at this point we feel we’re in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.

This is where Oculus comes in. They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.

Gamers have become accustomed to Oculus VR’s name whirring regularly through the news cycle by now, and as a result it can be easy to forget just how groundbreaking the technology really is. Zuckerburg clearly hasn’t forgotten, and though we can rest assured Oculus “will continue operating independently within Facebook” for the time being, it’s clear he’s already calculating his grand VR visions.

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. 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.

Regardless of how you may feel, it’s difficult to deny that this isn’t just another Instagram or Whatsapp. Though certainly not as pricey as those deals, what Facebook may do with Oculus really could be life-changing. Not just for gamers, but for everyone.

That’s getting a bit ahead of ourselves, though. In the meantime, as long as Facebook doesn’t disrupt my ability to eventually be like this guy, I’ll be pleased as punch.

[Via: TechCrunch]