Facebook isn’t just buying into mobile messaging; it’s also going for gaming.
Facebook has announced that it will acquire Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift for $2 billion (N329 billion).
The social networking giant stated on Tuesday it had reached a definitive agreement to acquire Oculus VR, Inc., the leader in immersive virtual reality technology, for $400 million (N65.9 billion) in cash and 23.1 million in Facebook shares.
The Oculus Rift project gained prominence on Kickstarter, raising over $2 million in the summer of 2012. The company went on to raise more than $91 million (N15 billion) in venture funding in 2013. With this exit, the Oculus Rift is easily the most successful Kickstarter project of all time.
Oculus has already built strong interest among developers, having received more than 75,000 orders for development kits for the company’s virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift. While the applications for virtual reality technology beyond gaming are in their nascent stages, several industries are already experimenting with the technology, and Facebook plans to extend Oculus’ existing advantage in gaming to new verticals, including communications, media and entertainment, education and other areas.
Given these broad potential applications, virtual reality technology is a strong candidate to emerge as the next social and communications platform.
“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow, and Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate,” Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on Facebook.
According to Mr. Zuckerberg, the company plans to expand Oculus beyond gaming.
“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,” he said.
“We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world,” said Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR. “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.”
Facebook says that Oculus will remain headquartered in Irvine, California, and will continue developing the Oculus Rift platform, its ground-breaking virtual reality platform.
This is Facebook’s second major acquisition in less than two months. Last month, Facebook bought WhatsApp in a $19 billion deal.
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