Facebook has reached an agreement to acquire Oculus VR, Inc., the leader in immersive virtual reality technology for a total of approximately $2 billion and plans on extending Oculus ’existing advantage in gaming to new verticals, including communications, media and entertainment, educations and numerous other areas.
According to the news release by Facebook, the company will pay $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock, as well an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones. The transaction is set to close in the second quarter of 2014, with Oculus maintaining its headquarters in Irvine, CA and continue development of the ground-breaking virtual reality platform Oculus Rift.
“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,” said Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
“We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world. We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning,” said Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR.
While some applaud the deal, claiming that getting on the rising tide of VR technology will most definitely have long-term benefits for Facebook, others express their growing concerns about what the deal means for video games. The main issue here is whether games will even be a priority on the device once Facebook takes charge and how closely linked to the Facebook social media platform will the Oculus Rift become.
“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,” Zuckerberg reassured gamers on Facebook.
The main reason behind the concerns is the fact that the high-tech VR device is now in the hands of a company that has almost no experience in gaming hardware or software. All in all, we all expected the technology to grow beyond the boundaries of video games and a big acquisition like this one can only help the Rift become reality. We just have to wait and see what kind of reality it will be.