Facebook Is Buying Oculus, The Incredible Future Of Virtual Reality

Facebook Is Buying Oculus, The Incredible Future of Virtual Reality

For some completely inexplicable reason, Facebook has announced that it is buying Oculus VR -- the future of virtual reality awesomeness -- for $US2 billion. What?!

Facebook's plans for the totally rad VR headset aren't immediately apparent, and the social media giant's announcement of the acquisition does little to clear it up, citing the possibility of using the future headset for things like communication and education along with more obvious things like entertainment. Which is to say VR Facebook games, and hopefully -- hopefully -- other truly awesome stuff. Which, it damn well better.

Mark Zuckerberg pitches the future of Oculus at Facebook this way:

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.

It's actually a reasonably promising vision of the future. If there's anything that can catapult Oculus (and VR by extension) to widespread acceptance it is probably Facebook. That is if you can deal with a dollop of Facebook "ugh" in your Oculus VR "wooooooooo!"

The deal includes $US400 million in cash along with about $US1.6 billion in stock, which is no small sum, but comes off as a liiiiiiittle bit meager when compared to the $US16 billion that Facebook paid for messaging app Whatsapp.

Still, despite all the weirdness of this acquisition -- it is super weird -- there could be promise to the pairing. Facebook has both a gigantic userbase and deep, deep pockets, both of which could be insanely valuable to Oculus, which is essentially fighting the uphill battle of creating a whole new kind of media, a tall order regardless of how great your product is. We'll have to wait and see if what Facebook can bring to the virtual Oculus table. It better be more than a 3D timeline.



    Fuck everything.

      Well, that's the end of practical, real-world application s for Oculus.
      Unless in the small hope that OVR manages to consume FB - then the tables may be turned.

      if they fuck it up for PC gaming
      then thats it im done

      so over it

      Fucking Palmer Luckey Corporate sellout
      Couldnt wait for an offer from an actual gaming company?

      Last edited 26/03/14 3:08 pm

    FarmvilleVR -- more likely than you think?

      That was my first thought.

        Also that of many others! My favourite was the farm simulator VR from The Simpsons being posted with 'FarmVille VR' on it all over facebook.

    One step closer to the holo-band technology from caprica. Woo hoo. With Facebooks financial backing, it should reach the general public in no time.

      exactly what i was thinking
      between this and cloud computing (and an NBN if that were ever to happen) we are actively pursuing a new way of living that has gone disastrously in almost every scifi movie

        LOL how will that differ from the way we live now? Reality is already one disaster after another.

        Science fiction has predicted disastrous endings for EVERY technology.

    Early April Fools joke?
    I really can't see this being a good thing

    That it wasn't a big apple/google/microsoft/sony/facebook was one of the things I liked about it. Now that it's not only not independent but owned by Facebook I feel like my enthusiasm has been completely killed.

    "Welcome to your Oculus Rift. Sign in with your Facebook account to continue..."
    "No thanks *puts down rift, never touches it again*"

    Now my friends can see me in 3D !!!


    So Facebook have a bundle of cash and have realised they're never going to make money from Facebook itself?
    At least this makes marginally more sense to me than buying Whatsapp...

      I think 2.6 billion in Ad revenue last quarter is making money...

        revenue isn't the same as profit.

          yeah...Good point they ONLY made $523 million in profit for those 3 months. Better tighten their belts.


            Indeed, 90% of their income is based on advertising revenue, and the only reason a semi-respectable amount of profit in 2013 was because they increased advertising revenue considerably faster than they increased customer base. Advertising is Facebook's lifeblood far more than even Google and if they don't push it hard, they die. Hardly the kind of company you'd want owning the Oculus Rift.

          Facebook "made a profit of $1.5bn for the year". http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/29/facebook-record-quarterly-results

          Except mixa, you people have no idea about business. STFU

          Last edited 26/03/14 11:21 am

    The only thing that caught my eye was ' Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game'. Other than that, Facebook is going to neck it.

      Would get in on this. I can;t afford the $10k it costs to get a courtside seat at Staples to see the Lakers. However they managed to pull this off would be epic.

    I've never been so disappointed looking at the date and realizing it's not April 1.

    What they need to buy next is http://www.panono.com/ballcamera/ or something like it.

    This idea has "futuristic" written all over it.

    Imagine being able to watch 3D panoramic video streams on Facebook? Grandparents living in another country can't make it to a child's birthday party? Let them watch the Rift stream and they can look around the room and see everything that's happening.

      Let them watch the Rift stream
      With that lovely internet connection they don't have...

        With that lovely internet connection they don't have...

        They have a great internet connection, because they don't live in Australia.

          Haha, well played. I should go back to primary school.
          Although, our end of the bargain (uploads) is still terrible.
          But I'll be quiet now.

        yep, this is the start of it.. My guess to use OR you'll need to stream 2 x 1080p streams for the full 3D effect.. so what if i want to share the experience, thats 4 x 1080p streams; multiplying as I add more friends..

        & then what happens when it goes 4K? then we are truely left out in the wild..

      The idea is great, but I really just want to not have to depend on Facebook as the sole provider to do that much like I wouldn't want Microsoft to have to buy out the creator of every application I use on my Windows machine.
      (I know the analogy isn't great)

      Last edited 26/03/14 10:24 am

        I see the point, but I can't see that happening.


        I see this a lot like Microsoft buying Skype. It may be owned by Microsoft but is still completely cross platform.

        My prediction would be Rift existing as an independent hardware product (like a console) and Facebook having a lot of great features that make use of it.

        I see this as Facebook trying to diversify.

          Yeah, because Skype is on both the XB-ONE and the PS4.
          Oh wait...

            Windows Phone
            Windows 8 Tablets
            Android tablets
            Kindle Fire HD
            Skype-ready phones
            Skype on TV
            iPod touch

            "We've worked with Sony for a long time," he said. "Skype ships today on the PlayStation Portable amongst other cross-platform devices that we deliver to, and for the last few years we've also been shipping versions of Skype that run on Sony TVs.

            "We're obviously not party to their pre-release [PlayStation] hardware road map [but] we're committed to cross-platform."


          You make a good point regarding Skype, and I actually found it a bit weird that Microsoft bought it because they don't really have a history of keeping things like that independent to me recall.

          You may be right, and maybe it is time to stop thinking of Facebook-the-company as Facebook-the-product and rather think of Facebook-the-product as just another of of the products of Facebook-the-company.
          Indeed, with things like purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp, they are not (yet, at least) actually trying to drag people back to the Facebook platform but instead they seem to be trying to run multiple concurrent social networking/communication systems.
          I think maybe just the behaviour of Facebook-the-company with respect to monetization of users, privacy, and so on makes me dubious about anything they do.

          All that said, I would have preferred for OR to remain an independent company because Facebook-the-company has a vested interest in limiting use of the device to their competitors in the social networking and communication space in order to gain a competitive advantage. I recall a change after Facebook purchased Instagram where you stopped being able to post Instagram images directly to Twitter from the app. Things like that make me not trust Facebook-the-company not to screw this up.

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand Oculus with Facebook's money should be able to release the Rift sooner, and hopefully improve it further. On the other hand I'm not sure why Facebook has done this, and I'm not sure if I'm happy with the idea ofa Facebook-ised Rift.

      Quite possibly its so they can produce heavily subsidised versions of the rift and be able to offset that loss by inserting their advertising directly into games or other rift compatible applications.

    I had high hopes for OR and its potential to change entertainment, but this purchase doesn't fill me with joy. It seems like OR was doing great on their own, why cash out now?

    I'd like to see an article analysing the massive backlash from this.
    The comments on the Oculus developer site are amazing in their number and their disbelief and even outrage. I would bet that Oculus weren't expecting quite this level of response.
    Especially since the overwhelming number of responses are posted *from* Facebook accounts. They are unhappy with Oculus getting into bed with Facebook, yet they themselves are not willing to cut the FB umbilical cord.

    Backers and developers seem to feel not just disappointed, but betrayed.
    I'm guessing it is mostly that this was a Kickstarter project, that a lot of the development so far has been open source, and people loved the idea of the young guy in his garage, realising the lost dream of VR and bringing it *directly* to the masses, with no big corporation pulling the strings.
    Built by a gamer, for gamers.
    Write me a thoughtful article on the severity of the backlash, I want to read it!

    (Fair disclosure: I'm not on Facebook as I don't agree with how that company handles its users. I was an Oculus Rift developer up until today).

    Well... looks like I'll be playing "Star Citizen" in 2D instead of 3D/VR... So Sad... :(

      lets hope the modders get onto Sonys headset pronto! But then again that will still be some while away... This whole thing sadens me

      Hmmmmm, I've been working on my future rig for SC, which included the Rift.... Guess I might have to re-think my strategy :(

    I am very saddened by this move. I just can't imagine facebook caring about the quality of the product and are only looking to make money from this. It's likely the product will be released earlier but it won't be for the better :(



    Edit: not enough exclamation marks......

    Last edited 26/03/14 11:31 am

    So how the hell do you have a meeting face to face with someone when you are both going to be looking at each other with their face covered by a huge fkn VR headset... you mose well just talk on the phone.. stupid vision right there.. being in a classroom with other students but you are all watching the teacher through the same camera? so you mose well just watch the lecture later online.. how do you type efficiently or write things down when you can't see your hands? I just don't see what the hell they plan to do with it, just stick with games with the ability to watch the odd movie ffs.

      I mose well come out and say it: For a multi user room environment, it would likely use 3D scans or avatars. Facebook will push for more social uses, but it would certainly have developers working on whatever they want to use it for, after all that is why it's been so attractive up until this point anyway.

      I'm in two minds about it, they could wrap it too tight in the Facebook blanket and force you to log into Facebook every time you want to use it (I don't know why they would do that), or they could leave it open as it is for the most part. They certainly have the money to bring these to market faster then oculus - How many years has it been? They also have the power of exposure to attract more developers, which is also a good thing... Who knows.

    Where the hell is Facebook getting all this money from? They only just bought WhatsApp for 21 billion.

    I honestly hope that Facebook isn't pulling an Apple, in that they're buying cool stuff so they can have the monopoly on it and not let anyone else into the playing field.

    NOOOO!!!! i was going to pre-order one soon but facebook can go fuck themselves they're not getting any of my money.

    Well it seems that opinion on the buyout is universally negative and one developer saying they have cancelled their game for the OR and i wonder how many people will cancel their pre-orders? Who wants an over glorified facebook platform?

    I wonder how many people are complaining to OR on their facebook page?

    Last edited 26/03/14 12:43 pm

    I can't believe this is happening!

    Talk about first world problems. Seriously people, it's just not that important.

      Talk about first world problems.
      Well we do live in a first world country...

      It's a technology site marcd. What did you think the conversation would be about??

        I get that damo, but the way people are talking about it makes it sound like it's the end of the world and Mark Zuckerberg is the anti-christ.

          I think it's just bothersome and annoying. Definitely a whole bunch of stuff that we can live without and probably most of it won't benefit the planet... but it is annoying.

          ..and yeah I'll back Zuckerberg for anti-christ status (in an apathetic, laid back sort of way)!

    And my excitement for Oculus Rift has just nose dived. Really don't want to see a little fb app or ads popping up while trying to play. So sad now :(

      Do you honestly think that is going to happen?
      Does anybody actually think that Facebook would ever be stupid enough to have ads popping up during games? Nobody would buy that and Facebook would know that.

      The Xbox has ads on the dashboard, but they don't pop up during gameplay because nobody in the whole world thinks that would be a good idea.

        Instead games integrate them into the advertising boards in the game itself...

          Maybe if Facebook were also a game studio

            They wouldn't need to be a game studio, they would just need to develop an API for the game studios to use within their games, and possibly profit share with the studio with regards to the in game ads.

            No, what I'm saying is that this already happens. Some studios already sell advertising space inside the games (for example, billboards in driving games, field edges in sports games, etc).

        I can very much see facebook doing this if they offer the Rift at a heavily reduced cost to make up for the viewer having to look at in-game ads. They already do it with their own website so its not a big step. Offer something for free or heavily subsidised and many people will always be willing to put up with a few ads if they can make a big saving. FTA TV, most free websites, free apps, Kindle (with ads), etc.

        I can haz bold?

          This is the internet. Bold is free. Go crazy!

          You can even use Bold and Italic, I won't even get mad.

    O well, this leaves me out, I'm probably the only cave man here who's never used FaceBook.

    Also wondering if you'll have to sign in to Facebook to use the bloody thing...! :(

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