The blue pill from The Matrix just turned a special shade of Facebook blue: Mark Zuckerberg and Co. are buying the VR company Oculus Rift for $2 billion. Tech company acquisitions have been all the rage lately, but this one heralds an unexpected expansion in scope for the gaming-based Oculus Rift.
As confirmed by Kotaku, both Oculus and Facebook are excited about the merger. I can definitely understand the Oculus excitement; the $2 billion purchase is made up of $400 million in cash, with the rest dealt out in Facebook stock. The purchase isn’t final yet, but should be some time in the second quarter of this year.
Still, Facebook isn’t just handing out a payday; they have much to gain from the budding VR company as well. According to a statement from Mark Zuckerberg, they plan to develop the platform to reach beyond the scope of 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.
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.
Facebook still plans to let Oculus Rift act independently to develop its gaming-based ventures in tandem with using the technology for social networking purposes. Between Google Glass and Facebook’s Oculus acquisition, both tech giants seem to be trying to utilize brand new technologies to capture the emerging social market. Time will tell just what these companies plan to do, and how deep into the rabbit hole we’ll end up as a result.