Facebook just announced that it's spending about $2 billion to buy Oculus VR, the leader in virtual-reality technology.
Why would Facebook, a social-media company make such an investment in a headset for virtual-reality gaming? Was buying a company for $2 billion that makes virtual reality goggles that hasn’t even shipped a consumer version yet a little too way out there? Is Facebook securing a fallback plan when their current business is disrupted in future?
According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company's reasons for purchasing the company go beyond its obvious uses in gaming. In a Facebook post, he writes:
But this is just the start. After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a courtside 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.
“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," Zuckerberg says.
Oculus will maintain its headquarters in Irvine, CA, and will continue development of the Oculus Rift, its ground-breaking virtual reality platform.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.