Virtual Insanity: Facebook Drops $2 Billion to Buy VR-Maker Oculus
News broke moments ago that Facebook will spend $2 billion to acquire Oculus, the Kickstarted maker of the Rift, a virtual reality headset that’s had the gaming world talking for the last several months. While not as numerically huge as its $19 billion acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp last month, the implications of Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus can’t be ignored.
For starters, this means that Oculus won’t have to worry about funding, well, ever again. With Mark Zuckerberg’s deep pockets, Oculus has more than enough cash to do whatever it likes—so long as the boss is cool with it.
But from what Zuckerberg has written, it seems as though Facebook and Oculus will remain separate entities in all the ways that matter to those waiting for the Oculus Rift. In his announcement, Zuckerberg explains simply that “Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook.”
But why would Facebook want to acquire Oculus to begin with? According to Zuckerberg’s explanation, it has everything to do with the confluence of each company’s mission. Facebook wants to “make the world more open and connected,” while Oculus brings people together through “immersive gaming,” though, apparently, that’s just where things will begin now that Facebook’s in charge.
“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.”
Whether any of this actually comes to pass or not remains to be seen. Personally, I have my doubts—but at the same time, I never would’ve guessed that Facebook would become everything it is today. As such, if there’s anyone who can get us all to strap goofy goggles to our faces to pretend that we’re at a basketball game, it’s Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.
Above all, this can only be good news for people hoping for big things out of Oculus. Facebook has a never-ending stream of cash, and now that Oculus doesn’t need to worry about funding, the company will be all the more likely to make good on its promises. And this also helps the company get poised to fight back against Sony’s recently revealed VR competitor, Project Morpheus.
What do you think about this acquisition? Will it be good for the future of Oculus’s stability? Or is the company now doomed to a state of corporately controlled mediocrity?