Facebook acquires Oculus for $2 billion

March 25, 2014

Oculus Rift CES 2014-1

Facebook just took one step closer to making the world of Ready Player One a reality by acquiring Oculus for $2 billion.

Oculus is the company behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset that’s coming soon to PCs and to Android devices. The company counts Doom creator John Carmack as an employee, and is working to build a new way of playing games with its virtual reality headset. After the acquisition closes next quarter, it will do so as a division of Facebook instead of as an independent company.

In its press release announcing that it bought the company Facebook says the Oculus Rift isn’t going away, virtual reality gaming is still definitely coming. We’re not exactly sure when a consumer version of the VR headset will come out, though Oculus is selling pre-orders for its second developers kit now for $350. The consumer version, when it eventually comes out, should support Android devices. If nothing else, a version of the headset that supports Android is coming at some point.

Facebook’s vision for Oculus involves using the headset and Oculus’ software for other forms of virtual reality beyond just gaming. The headset could put sports fans court side at games, or pale students in virtual classrooms. Mark Zuckerberg’s company wants to use Oculus to create the OASIS MMO from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. In that book the MMO takes over almost all human interaction to the point where public school is held within virtual classrooms in OASIS. Maybe we won’t go that far, but Facebook is potentially heading in that direction.

Taken in that context, Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus makes perfect sense. If virtual reality is the future, Facebook would want to be a leader in the space, as it seems like the natural evolution of the social network. From a gaming perspective the move doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Gamers probably would have preferred a company like Microsoft or even Amazon to pick up Oculus, assuming Google wasn’t interested. But with some added thought it’s obvious gaming is just a small part of Oculus’ potential.

Of course, as it happens whenever Facebook acquires any company, some people aren’t happy with the decision. Notch, the creator of Minecraft, already announced on Twitter that he cancelled a deal to make the popular game for Oculus because, he said, “Facebook creeps me out.”

Does Facebook acquiring Oculus concern you? Or are you excited about what the company can do with the virtual reality hardware and software?

Comments

  • HitokiriX

    Wait, what? I couldn’t imagine a VR social network… the thought of the things people would do scares me, lol.

  • MadCowOnAStick

    they could’ve donated $2 billion to me, but they spend it to buy oculus rift?!?!?!

    • MasterMuffin

      Crazy I know!

  • Shark Bait

    Facebook had big ambitions, they are going to be more than a social network soon…..
    its a shame things cant stay independent these days

  • bobbiac

    Well now I have to log onto Facebook to look into a book on my face.

    Get it Carl? FACEBOOK?!

  • dwizard

    GAMERZ…

    • http://www.gamrz.com gamrz.com

      Yes? ;)

      • bobbiac

        Meta

  • dwizard

    Sword Art Online…

  • WTaTnBni

    Just a thought!…

    What if FB would also acquire that mind control headband I saw somewhere on the internet?…

    Woah!…..

    The movie GAMER can eventually become a reality!

  • monkey god

    holy crap, i was looking at the thumbnail pic for this article and it looked like blood was dripping down the guys neck. Talk about bleeding edge technology.

  • MrMagoo

    I’m sure Facebook will have some input into everything but, I’m going to think about it as more as an investment. I think the OR is going to be big, very big, and I hope they do great things with that money!!

  • Jon E

    I’m going to invent a new toilet and call it the “analus rift”, wonder if I can get $2 billion for that?

  • John Garlits

    Get ready for FB VR ads in your face all the time. :/

  • stucrmnx120fshwf

    VR/AR is the future, for me as long as they work with glasses, new tweaking means that the headset senses the room, the users movement in the room. This avoids nausea, obviously the device we see today, will become lighter, possibly project the eyes to the front of the screens, to make the user seem more natural. The pixel density will need to increase, this year we’re capable of 4k UHD in 7″. Chip development won’t hurt either, at 14 nm, 64 bit, for mobile this year, system response ought to be agile. VR/AR, will go from clunky to normal and elegantly responsive, the technology is catching up, with the science fiction. A good investment, with the second version immanent, though Google, Sony, Microsoft, etc., are on their tail. Why aren’t any of the big companies buying AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm, ARM, Apple have big cash reserves and often poor price performance. Just the patents would be worth it, with 14nm, 64 bit, UHD, hundreds of GPU cores, for mobile, around the next corner. With some phones already at 128 GB of flash, 3 GB of RAM, UD recording, heck, I have a FHD smartphone, QHD tablet, UHD TV and UD/14/64/7″ mobile, is going to be here in 2014.