On Tuesday 25th March, Facebook added another tech company to its long list of acquisition. In a surprise announcement, Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook: “I am excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality technology.” This happened just few days after Oculus released its latest product, the Dev Kit 2 version of the Rift headset that now eliminates motion blur which would significantly reduce motion sickness for users. This new acquisition cost Facebook $2 billion with $400million in cash and the rest in shares currently worth $1.6bn.
Zuckerberg explained more fully the reason for such an acquisition on his Facebook statement: “Oculus’s mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences. (…) 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.” The acquisition will allow Facebook to now officially enter the gaming industry that was dominated by Apple and Google until now and from which it was excluded. Keeping in mind that Facebook has a clear vision of its own future as well as the future of the internet and technology, this new acquisition clearly indicates where Facebook’s vision, where it is going and where it is taking us. Indeed, one of its announced objective was to create a “new communication platform.” And Oculus would be a good fit in that project. “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,” wrote Zuckerberg. In other words, virtual reality technology could soon expand to other industries such as education, entertainment, communication, etc… “Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computer 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.”
FYI, when Palmer Luckey launched his company Oculus Rift in 2012 and managed to raise $2 million to manufacture its Oculus Rift VR headset on Kickstarter, he was just a 19 years-old college drop out. When Palmer Luckey signed a $2 billion deal with Facebook, he was just 21 years-old. Annoying and inspiring! On Tuesday he wrote: “We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world. And 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.”