Facebook buys Oculus Rift for 2 Billion

Wait… what?

Facebook has announced that it will acquire Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift for $2 billion. Announced today, the social networking giant will acquire the Oculus VR for $400 million in cash and 23.1 million in Facebook shares.

Die Meldung ergibt auf den ersten Blick keinen Sinn, wenn man Oculus Rift „nur“ als Hersteller neuer Gaming Technologie begreift. Zuckerberg sieht das langfristig offensichtlich anders und damit hat er wahrscheinlich Recht:

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.

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.

Das ist ein Game-Changer für Virtual Reality, wenn (ausgerechnet) sowas wie Facebook da jetzt mit 'nem Betrag von 2 Millarden einsteigt. Ich bin auch gespannt, ob und in welcher Form Facebook mit Valve ins Bett steigt, letztere hatten eine lose Koop mit Oculus Rift und der VR-Fuzzi von Valve ist neulich erst bei Oculus eingestiegen. Spannend! (Und falls wer Ready Player One noch nicht gelesen haben sollte, spätestens jetzt ist wohl der richtige Zeitpunkt dafür.)

[update] Notch hat eine Minecraft-Umsetzung für Oculus Rift platzen lassen: „'[Facebooks] motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven't historically been a stable platform. There's nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me.'“

Polygon: Oculus VR heads talk Facebook, cheaper retail kits, better hardware and piles of cash

Road To VR: Rev VR Podcast – Episode 54: The Road to VR Team Discusses the Facebook Acquisition of Oculus VR (Spoiler: „We think this is a good thing.“): „Cymatic Bruce, Brian Hart, and Ben Lang join me in this episode to share our thoughts and feelings about the Oculus. Each of us share our initial reactions to the news, and then we dig deep into what it could mean for the future of VR. Could this mean a 'Like' button on our Oculus Rift? Could we see amazing new jumps in technology for a consumer release product? Nobody knows yet.“

[update] Der erste vernünftige Artikel zum Thema, neben Zahlen und Hysterie:

Virtual reality has historically been applied to gaming, and that's how Oculus began as well. But VR's roots—especially the goofy headset version—are from an age that predates the bandwidth we have today, the drive towards connectivity, the densely layered social tissue that Facebook and Twitter and Skype and WhatsApp have spent the last decade cultivating. Despite lofty dreams of a VR internet, technical limitations have made VR games a closed circuit, a way for you and maybe one friend to pretend that you weren't in the room—or mall concourse—you were actually in. But it can be so much more. Facebook gets that. […]

The bigger, longer-term issue might be how exactly Facebook plans to monetize Oculus. Zuck said earlier today that he's not interested in making a profit off of the hardware (which is good!) but that "there may be advertising" (which is bad!), not to mention various retail pushes. Why go to the mall when you can sift through the sales rack from the comfort of your Rift?

Facebook Could Give You the Oculus Rift You Always Wanted

[update] Internal Facebook-Conference Call: