Social media giant Facebook has agreed to acquire virtual reality company Oculus VR, the creators of video gaming VR headset Oculus Rift, for $2 billion USD, according to a press release and later confirmed by Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook will pay $400 million USD in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock (currently valued at $1.6 billion USD) to bring Oculus VR into the fold. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2014's second quarter and Oculus VR will continue to work out of its Irvine, California headquarters.
"Mobile is the platform of today, and now we're also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow," said Zuckerberg in the statement. "Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate."
"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. "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."
Facebook's purchase of Oculus may send fear into the hearts of many gamers, who have a strong dislike of social-focused games that operate on the Facebook website. Zuckerberg allayed such fears and explained the company's future plans for Oculus in a statement on his Facebook page:
Oculus's mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences.
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.
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.
These are just some of the potential uses. By working with developers and partners across the industry, together we can build many more. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.
Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together. I can't wait to start working with the whole team at Oculus to bring this future to the world, and to unlock new worlds for all of us.