In a move that has shocked the gaming world, Facebook announced in a press release that it will acquire Oculus VR Inc. for 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock (currently valued at $1.6 billion dollars) and $400 million in cold hard cash. Why would Facebook suddenly decide to get into the virtual reality game? The press release reveals some insight into the master plan.
While the applications for virtual reality technology beyond gaming are in their nascent stages, several industries are already experimenting with the technology, and Facebook plans to extend Oculus’ existing advantage in gaming to new verticals, including communications, media and entertainment, education and other areas. Given these broad potential applications, virtual reality technology is a strong candidate to emerge as the next social and communications platform.
“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” said Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”
Oculus VR will continue developing the system like it has been, just under the Facebook banner. There’s so many questions this brings up: What kind of Facebook integration can we expect to see on the Oculus Rift? Is Facebook looking to compete in the mobile gaming market, or will the Oculus primarily be a “social and communications platform”? Will the Oculus be able to handle my tears as I see the girl I like change her status to “In A Relationship”? We’ll post more news as it develops.