Tuesday, Facebook announced its plans to acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion. If you haven’t heard of it, Oculus VR is a virtual reality startup out of Irvine, CA. Its mission? – to produce “immersive virtual reality technology that’s wearable and affordable.” Starting on Kickstarter in June 2012, Oculus quickly raised millions from backers and other tech companies.
For some hints at the capability of Oculus Rift see the video at this link and embedded below:
In his Facebook blog, Mark Zuckerberg expressed his confidence in the acquisition. Zuckerberg envisions virtual reality facilitating study groups, doctors visits, and calling your mother, with gaming – the most common current application of the technology – eventually taking the backseat. Brian Fung, tech writer for the Washington Post, agrees, predicting that Facebook will use virtual reality to strengthen its grip on social interactions.
Not everyone shares that optimism. Reactions on Reddit were overwhelmingly negative – suggesting that Facebook’s recent spending binge, including last month’s $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp, constitutes a feeble attempt to counteract its declining popularity. The mind behind Minecraft, Markus Persson, tweeted a similar response; “We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled the deal. Facebook creeps me out.”
We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.
— Markus Persson (@notch) March 25, 2014
Whether you deem Zuckerberg a has-been or a visionary, Facebook and its 1.2 billion users aren’t going anywhere. And now, neither is Oculus VR. With billions of dollars and scores of designers behind Oculus, the future of virtual reality looks much brighter.