Facebook has just announced that it's acquiring Oculus VR, the company who created the virtual reality headgear Oculus VR that's taking the gaming world by storm over the past year or so. The deal is worth roughly $2 billion in both cash and Facebook stock, as well as additional cash payouts that will come should Oculus reach certain milestones set by Facebook. The Oculus Rift has become a fairly household name since its initial successful funding via Kickstarter back in August of 2012, and had been the talk of the town by pretty much anyone who has tried the device for themselves. It's widely considered the device that will finally bring virtual reality technology to the mainstream. During GDC last week, even Sony announced their own VR headset to work with the Playstation 4. Virtual reality feels like "the next big thing" in gaming and it's largely thanks to Oculus's impressive tech and affordable pricing.
Oculus Rift has even made a splash in the world of mobile, as in July of last year Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe talked about how far mobile hardware has advanced and that they envisioned the Oculus Rift being something that could just run directly from your mobile device. This was further hammered home the following October when Oculus Rift support was officially announced for Android, with iOS still a hopeful goal assuming they could work around Apple's more strict App Store guidelines.
According to Mark Zuckerberg, it appears they view virtual reality as the NEXT next big thing, as the CEO of Facebook stated "Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate." Facebook says they have plans to expand the work Oculus is doing with VR beyond the world of gaming, including areas like communications, entertainment, education and more.
The prospect of something as awesome as Oculus being bought by a huge company like Facebook is a scary one, but there's also tremendous potential for it to work out great. Facebook will be able to pump money into Oculus to push the company even further, and obviously Facebook is aware at how important the iOS platform is, and I'm sure they have some of the strongest contacts at Apple as any company, so hopefully this means that an iOS-supported Oculus Rift could actually be in the cards someday. At the very least, this is an interesting development that I didn't see coming, so I'll be anxious to see how it plays out. What do you think, are you excited at the prospect of viewing your Facebook Timeline in virtual reality or does this spell the death of Oculus as we know it?