Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post today that Facebook will be acquiring Oculus VR, the maker of the Oculus Rift developer hardware, for approximately $2 billion USD in cash and stock.
On why Facebook would need a company like Oculus VR, Zuckerberg had this to say:
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.
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.
This is really a new communication platform. 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.
So it sounds like they do have some definite plans for things they want to do with the technology. It’s also interesting as it gives them a potential level of “future proofing,” a technology that doesn’t keep them reliant on the dominance of the Facebook social site. Virtual reality and 3D display is an area that one way or another is going to continue to grow and dominate into the future, so they’re wise to embrace it at this early stage, long before there’s any risk of them becoming the next MySpace in the social world. It gives them some extra diversity, and that’s never a bad idea.