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Facebook Sees Through Purchase of Oculus for $2B

Oculus Rift VR
Oculus

In a move that came out seemingly of nowhere on Monday, Facebook announced it had purchased Oculus VR, Inc. for $2 billion.

Facebook’s acquisition cost the company $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (valued at $1.6B). “We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world,” said Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR, in a statement. “We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”

For his part, Facebook’s creator Mark Zuckerberg took to the social network to express his own thoughts on the deal. “Oculus’s mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences,” Zuckerberg wrote. “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.”

Originally funded on Kickstarter, the Oculus Rift shipped more than 60,000 VR headsets previously. Pre-orders for the second iteration went live just last week, and anticipation and hype for the headset has influenced others to take part of the VR movement. Just last week at GDC 2014, Sony announced its own VR headset for the PlayStation 4, Project Morpheus, while rumors continue to swirl around similar plans for Microsoft and the Xbox One.

Over on the Oculus blog, the team shared a bit more insight into deal. “Most important, Facebook understands the potential for VR,” the blog stated. “Mark and his team share our vision for virtual reality’s potential to transform the way we learn, share, play, and communicate. Facebook is a company that believes that anything is possible with the right group of people, and we couldn’t agree more.”

What this means for the future of Oculus is unclear just yet, but since the company will continue to operate on its own, it should bode well for the burgeoning company and its followers. While Facebook will have some part in the future of VR, for it appears Oculus will remain at the wheel, driving the future of (affordable) virtual reality gaming. Also, this means John Carmack, creator of Doom and now chief technology officer at Oculus, works for Facebook. Make of that what you will.

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