March 28, 2014

Facebook buys Oculus VR

On the heels of its acquisition of the messaging service WhatsApp, Facebook recently announced that it will pay more than $2 billion for Oculus VR, a virtual reality gaming startup. The social networking site will pay $400 million in cash along with 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock, valued at $1.6 billion. 

Oculus is the maker of a gaming headset that has received praise at trade shows and conferences, but has yet to be released on the consumer market. The company got its financial start through a Kickstarter campaign and later garnered $91 million in venture capital. 

Many tech analysts were confused about how the social networking site would benefit from the acquisition of an immersive gaming platform, but Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and CEO, said that the technology acquisition is completely in line with the company's mission of making the world more connected.

"This is really a new communication platform," Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his Facebook page. "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."

Facebook is not the only major company interested in virtual reality gaming. Sony recently announced that it would be building an immersive gaming system. Neither company has announced plans for a consumer release, but Oculus says that is has received orders from 75,000 independent software developers. 

Zuckerberg said that Facebook's first priority will be helping its new acquisition finish building a working product and bringing it to the consumer market. Applications and additional software will come over a longer period of time.