Social media giant Facebook is on a buying spree these days. First they spent $19 billion for the WhatsApp message service and now they are paying $2 billion for Oculus, a virtual reality company considered a leader in immersive virtual reality technology.
Occulus is the maker of a much-anticipated virtual reality headset called the Oculus Rift. The company managed to raise almost $2.5 million dollars with a Kickstarter campaign to fund a developer kit for their headset, which they promised would change the future of gaming.
Gaming publications went wild for the headset calling it mind-blowing and the closest thing you’d ever find to a holodeck from Star Trek.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was impressed as well. But he sees the headset as more than just a cool gaming accessory. He sees it as the future of communication.
Right now, there isn’t a wide selection of games for this device, but Facebook said it plans to extend Oculus to communications, media, entertainment and education. A device like the headset could create a virtual classroom where students are able to have the experience of visiting historical sites or museums or even reliving events in history.
Zuckerberg was especially keen on the mobile prospects. “Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” said Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”
Facebook’s ample cash means that there will now be money in place to actually manufacture consumer versions of the Oculus headset that would be much less expensive than if the devices were made by a small start-up company.
However some backers of the original Kickstarter campaign are furious and Markus Persson said he was canceling an Oculus version of Minecraft because he found Facebook to be “creepy.”
The deal is expected to be completed sometime before summer.