So, it’s just been announced that Facebook will acquire the makers of the Oculus Rift, Oculus VR, for $2 billion! I mean, what?
“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.” a Facebook press release read. “Given these broad potential applications, virtual reality technology is a strong candidate to emerge as the next social and communications platform.” -IGN.com
Here’s a full statement from Mark Zuckerberg, taken from Kotaku.com:
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.
Oculus’s mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences.
Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate. The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there’s a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform. We’re going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games. Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook to achieve this.
But this is just the start. 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.
These are just some of the potential uses. By working with developers and partners across the industry, together we can build many more. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.
Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together. I can’t wait to start working with the whole team at Oculus to bring this future to the world, and to unlock new worlds for all of us. -Kotaku.com
I’m not sure why this doesn’t sit well with me. I know the deal hasn’t even closed yet, and won’t until Q2 of this year, but still? I for one had high hopes for the Oculus Rift. I mean, not sure that means much, since I am hoping to reach .hack// or Sword Art Online status, but for real! And we all know how well that went…
In related news, Minecraft won’t be on the Oculus Rift, anymore. Mark Perssen said they were in talks to bring Minecraft to the Oculus Rift, but after hearing about Facebook’s acquisition, decided to cancel the deal because Facebook, “Creeps him out”. Read more about it on IGN.